Radio Program Helps Out Vietnamese Parents

By Leticia Miranda Sep 30, 2009

In a new media world, we are often evaluating the role "old" media has to play in communication. And the discussion is prompted by some important questions: how do we create dialogue? with who and where? using what tools? While I’m very excited about the possibilities new technology has to offer (texting, blogs, iPods), I have a special appreciation for "old" formulas that work like Radio Bolsa’s "Youth and Education" show in Orange County. Every Wednesday night at 7pm, the hosts of Youth and Education, a program aimed at Vietnamese immigrant parents looking for help in guiding their kids through the US education system, answer questions and talk about issues ranging from financial aid to online bullying. From the LA Times article:

The show reaches out to parents like John Nguyen, 48, who immigrated to the U.S. in his 30s and is now raising two sons who go to Ethan Allen Elementary School in Garden Grove. Nguyen, his wife and mother-in-law listen to the radio show every week. "The show brings up topics that I never thought of before," said Nguyen, who owns a graphic design business. "I never went to high school or middle school here, like a lot of Vietnamese parents. That’s why there are a lot of things we don’t know." Nguyen said he had learned about after-school programs, programs for gifted students and how to prepare students to transfer to other schools. Nguyen, a PTA member, has also been a guest on the show, encouraging Vietnamese parents to volunteer at schools.

What’s really exciting is that some out-of-state parents listen in online and call in with their questions. The internet makes it possible for some parents who aren’t within the immediate area to weigh in, ask questions and give suggestions about what’s worked or not worked for them. Even though the internet and other technologies are quickly changing the way we communicate, it seems risky to ditch our radios, newspapers and magazines too quickly. Because who would we be isolating if we brush off radio or community newspapers in the languages of our parents or grandparents? What I really appreciate about the Youth and Education show out of Garden Grove is that post-1996, it truly is a testament to the persistence of local radio supported by immigrant communities of color that effectively shares tools and skills with Vietnamese parents to better navigate the US education system using an "old" formula that works… along with new technologies. Read the rest of the LA Times article here. Pictured above: Annie Mai, one of the hosts of "Youth and Education." Photo taken by Christine Cotter for the LA Times.