Celebrating Older Americans Month and Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Why was the month of May such an exciting month for us at NAPCA? Not only is May designated by the Administration on Aging (AoA), part of the Administration for Community Living (ACL) as Older Americans Month (OAM), but Congress also designated May as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM).

To honor both–Asian Pacific Americans over 55, every week, we shared a story about one of our program
participants and shared news about activities and events during the month. A recap of those success stories are included below:

  • Mr. Liangchao Lin from Chicago, IL

    “My name is Liangchao Lin. I finished my undergraduate education in chemistry in Taiwan in 1968. Then, I came to the United States and earned my PhD in Organic Chemistry from CUNY in New York in 1980.
    I had worked for oil and pharmaceutical companies in the fields of DNA, antibiotic research and production of medicinal applications through my professional career from 1980 to 2005.In January of 2007, through NAPCA I became an enrollee in the Senior Environmental Employment (SEE) program at the Chicago Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Lab as a Chemistry Lab Technician. Later that September, I transferred to the Water Division and have been working since as the Field Representative. My main job duties have been conducting sanitary surveys and providing technical assistance on Tribal Lands and also providing technical assistance and consultation on non-tribal work.I am blessed to have the opportunity to be part of the SEE program, which provides me the chance to continue using my expertise in helping people assure we have a high quality of drinking water.I am currently working four days a week, but I also keep myself busy by teaching Chemistry one day a week at the College of DuPage.Not too many people are as lucky as I have been in the past nine years. At the age of 75, I am still able to stay in the field of teaching Chemistry and work for the EPA on the good cause of improving drinking water quality.”

The Senior Environmental Employment (SEE) Program provides an opportunity for retired and unemployed Americans age 55 and over to share their expertise and talents with the US Environmental Protection Agency. For more information, visit the EPA’s website.

NAPCA provides placement and technical assistance services for the SEE Program. For more information, or to participate visit our SEE page.

  • Mr. Peter Chan from Irvine, CAMr. Peter Chan, an immigrant from Hong Kong arrived in the US in the 1990s. After retiring from a travel agency, Mr. Chan enrolled into the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) in 2001 when he was 73 years old. He was assigned to the Irvine Lakeview Senior Center as a Social Services Worker trainee. After two years, he was hired by the Center as a part-time employee. Mr. Chan continued to work there for 10 more years and then retired.However, he still volunteers at the Center two days per week at the age of 90 years young! In 2014, he was honored by the City of Irvine as a Distinguished Citizens and was on the Wall of Recognition. He continues to be a mentor of many seniors. 

The Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) is a community service and work-based job training program for older Americans administered by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). For more information, visit the DOL’s website.

Nationally, NAPCA serves over 1,600 older workers through the SCSEP program annually. In 2016, NAPCA SCSEP participants contributed over 740,000 hours to our community through their community services, valued at over $17.81M. For more information, or to participate visit our SCSEP page.

  • Ms. Inthirany (Indira) Thillainadarajah from Triangle Park, NC“I am a chemist having graduated from the University of Manchester, UK and also obtaining my Master’s degree from the University of Arizona. I have worked in different countries, such as the United Kingdom, Sri Lanka, and finally now in the United States.I joined the NAPCA Senior Environmental Employment (SEE) program at the EPA in 2003 as a Scientist IV position. Now I am the Lead Curator in the Cheminformatics group at EPA. I have held this position since 2009.I like the SEE program which helps me to gather more experience and increase my knowledge all around. The SEE program has helped me to be more knowledgeable, stay busy, maintain my health, and be financially stable. Here [at EPA] daily I come across very good people and continue to make more friends at EPA.”

 

  • Mr. Evile Pule from Long Beach, CAThe following is an excerpt from our second oral history-based publication complied to showcase the Pacific Islander experience as represented by the older adults in the NAPCA Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP).Born 1934, Lotofaga, Uolu, Samoa 
    Arrived U.S. mainland 1987
    Outreach Aide, Guam Communications
    Network, Long Beach“America was the country that I always dreamed I had to visit. My mom doesn’t let me come because I’m the only one in the family that has a job to look after her. She doesn’t even let me go to New Zealand first because she said if I go, there is nobody to look after her. She is relying on me. That’s why I came over here too late. I start here in old age.”My parents have passed away. No one- even my brothers and sisters – are living in the Island now. To me, because I’m still single, I don’t need to go back because I don’t have any family.I used to be a school teacher back home in Samoa before I came. I also did dressmaking. Back home in those days, you find anything to get money to help your family.[Today] I like the work at NAPCA very much. Over here, we learn how to talk on the phone with people. I learn to make copies. I learn faxing. I said to myself, “Oh, if I don’t join NAPCA, I don’t think I can touch the computer.” But from now on, I can touch the computer. I’m very pleased that I can do all these things for
    my time and education.”