| Program: || Springfield Vietnamese-American Civil Association, Springfield, MA |
| Contact(s): || Juliette Nguyen, Executive Director: (413) 733-9373 |
| Purpose: || To empower Vietnamese immigrants and refugees to become self-sufficient and help them adjust to American society |
In 1975, after the end of the Vietnam War, masses of Indochinese fled Southeast Asia, seeking refuge in the United States. Many Vietnamese settled in Massachusetts; in Springfield alone, the Vietnamese population has risen to 5,000. The Springfield Vietnamese-American Civic Association (SVACA) was formed in November 1992 in response to the demand for essential social services by the Vietnamese refugee population in Springfield. Since its inception, the SVACA has worked to empower Southeast Asian immigrant and refugee communities, address their social needs, improve communication and increase cultural sharing among different segments of the Springfield community. While expressly dedicated to the local Asian community, the SVACA welcomes individuals from other ethnic groups, in particular low-income and non-English speaking individuals, to take advantage of its social programs.
The Springfield Vietnamese-American Civic Association serves as an advocate for the concerns and interests of the Southeast Asian refugee and immigrant community through liaison work with local social service agencies. Community outreach programs work to improve the living conditions of SVACA clients through English as a Second Language courses and citizenship classes, voter registration, tutoring, after-school programs, health workshops and counseling services. SVACA highlights cultural sharing by teaching individuals, educators and social service agencies about Vietnamese history, culture and traditions. SVACA also strives to educate members of the Vietnamese community about the history and culture of different ethnic groups in America through cultural classes and recognition of holidays and events celebrated by these different groups. The SVACA Youth Program also offers after-school tutoring, recreational activities, field trips, support groups, health education and cultural activities.
Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments
SVACA has worked with local police, fire departments, school departments and health and human service employees on the cultural and linguistic needs and issues unique to the Vietnamese community. The association has also worked with the court system to counsel, supervise and rehabilitate juvenile delinquents. Children of many different ethnic backgrounds have participated in SVACA's cultural celebrations, and many Vietnamese community members have attended events recognizing other cultures, including Black History Month. Through collaborations with the Spanish-American Union and the Springfield Teen Pregnancy Prevention Coalition, the Springfield Vietnamese-American Civic Association offers programs on HIV/AIDS education and teen pregnancy prevention.