HMONG ELDERLY GARDENING PROJECT
Tackling the Issue
To decrease isolation and increase the mental well-being of Hmong elders, NEW Hmong Professionals created a Hmong Elder Herbal Gardens Initiative that will allow Hmong elders to garden year-round, engage with other Hmong Elders, and share their stories and wisdom with Hmong Professionals and students. The limited research that has been done on Hmong elders and mental health have indicated that Hmong elders consistently have high levels of depressive symptoms. These depressive symptoms are often transferred to their children and grandchildren in the forms of historical and generational trauma. Positive interactions between Hmong elders, professionals, and students in co-created safe space, can dramatically impact the amount of historical and generational trauma that is passed on from generation to generation. This strategically designed program will address both physical and psychological well-being. Identity formation is one of the top areas of interest and development among Hmong Professionals in Northeast Wisconsin. The ability to connect in a safe space and learn more about Hmong culture and the lived experiences through the lens of Hmong Elders can significantly contribute to the identity construction of Hmong professionals and students.
Paj Ntaub Activity:
Cross-stitching together, stimulating conversation, reconnecting to your root and generational learning, we have learned that it is so much more than just Paj Ntaub.
What a great way to get our Hmong elders to be more active, have fun, and maintain positive physical and mental health. Learning never stops!
PEER SUPPORT & WARM LINE
Being Here For You
Culturally informed mental health support services and resources continue to be a tremendous challenge in the Hmong community. Hmong Professionals in Northeast Wisconsin shared that mental well-being is a constant struggle for them personally and professionally. As a result, NEW Hmong Professionals has been working on culturally informed resources such as a peer support warmline and suicide prevention education and strategies. NEW Hmong has developed a peer support specialist program that will help train Hmong Professionals in becoming certified peer specialists. These certified peer specialists will help support a 24-hour warmline. The overall goal of this project is to decrease suicides and suicidal ideations by providing a culturally informed resource that can co-create safe spaces to discuss mental health challenges. Through trained Peer Support Specialists, we want to provide support to our Hmong community in making healthy choices.
Following Health Safety
Prior to arriving in the United States and Wisconsin, the Hmong, had very little exposure to or education on Western medicine and practices. Instead, they believed that the well-being of the physical body is inextricably tied to the spiritual well-being of a person. The concept of modern medicine and prevention practices still incites confusion and fear within the Hmong community. Consequently, Western medicine
and health care is usually the option of last resort for many Hmong individuals and families. As a result, grasping the danger and challenges of COVID-19 has been very difficult for the Hmong community. For example, due to limited medical terminologies in the Hmong language, one medical term can take up to three or more paragraphs or half an hour to explain. NEW Hmong Professionals has been an integral partner with many community-based organizations and municipalities in providing education and advocacy for the Hmong in the areas of COVID-19 education, prevention, and vaccination. Additionally, NEW Hmong Professionals has worked closely with Hmong medical professionals and organizations to develop culturally informed factual information and videos on COVID-19. Likewise, NEW Hmong Professionals has and continues to collaborate with organizations such as the Multicultural Coalition, Inc. to successfully organize and host pop up COVID-19 community vaccination events targeted at marginalized communities of color (Hmong, Latinx/Hispanic, Black/African American, and refugee communities).
Knowledge for the Youth
NEW Hmong Professionals help developed and is currently collaborating with the Appleton Area School District (AASD) and United Hmong American Association (UHAA) on a student equity initiative called “Level Up” for Hmong students in the AASD. This program encompasses academic support, cultural enrichment, mentoring, and leadership development through a cultural informed lens that involves not only students, but their families as a whole. This initiative will expand into summer through a partnership with Appleton Parks and Recreation that will involve summer sports camps and other engaging summer activities.
For the first time in 45 years in the Fox Cities, NEW Hmong Professionals in collaboration with CrossCourt Conversations launched the first Hmong Youth Volleyball camp in the summer of 2022. Now, it is a year-round project and we have over 100 students training in this sport. Volleyball allows our youth to be engaged and empowered so they can always do their best, never stop learning and perfecting their skills in volleyball and in life.
Through this project, older Hmong students are hired as mentors for younger students. This meets the financial needs of students while using their skills to support younger students. When needed, In students are matched with Hmong Professionals as well.
Students learn traditional Hmong dance through hand movements, rhythms, and routines. Learning Hmong dance has proven to help students with building self-esteem, increased critical thinking, and greater cultural appreciation. Cultural enrichment is one of NEW Hmong Professionals core strategies.
Knowledge for Business Owners
Many Hmong Professionals have indicated that they are interested in starting their own business someday and would like more information/guidance with this. NEW Hmong Professionals working on providing basic business development sessions such as writing an effective business plan, target marketing, human resources management, and accounting and bookkeeping. NEW Hmong Professionals is excited to play a significant role in the development of diverse professionals and a technical workforce along with sustainable business start-ups, benefiting members of the Hmong community and the larger community.
Knowledge for all Professionals
NEW Hmong Professionals continues to engage, empower, and elevate Hmong Professionals in Northeast Wisconsin through providing networking events, conferences, and forums on topics such as communication, decision-making, balancing work and family, EQ, self- care, identity development and leveraging diverse resources. We are committed to the well-being of Hmong Professionals in Northeast Wisconsin and will continuously evolve to meet their needs. Hmong Professionals lack support at the professional level and struggle with cultural identity at the personal level. It is critical to have resources and safe spaces where Hmong Professionals can be authentic and feel supported to succeed and become resilient leader.
Previous NEW Hmong Professionals events:
Networking night – speed networking
Elevating Our Hmong Identity” Conference
Engagement session on EQ
“Hmong Mental Health & Well-Being” Forum
Asian Hate - Safe Space Forum