In a fluid stream of Korean and English, the stories came pouring out — stories about navigating the nuances of the American educational system, struggling to be understood through thick accents and bridging cultural gaps with their American-born children.
The discussion signaled a running start for the Korean-American Women's Association (KAWA), which attracted a dozen women and a handful of children to its inaugural meeting at the Crescenta-Cañada YMCA on Tuesday. The group, which will meet on a weekly basis, is designed to allow Korean women a forum in which they can share anecdotes, build community and explore resources.
"I want them to be fully participating citizens of America where they can understand what is going on politically, socially, economically and be able to enjoy their life here as much as they can," said founder Chris Park.
As the Korean population in La Cañada and La Crescenta continues to grow, so does the Korean membership at the YMCA, said Kim Beattie, the local Y's director of communications. But while local Korean residents signed up for the swim team and youth leadership activities, there remained a disconnect between YMCA organizational leadership and the Korean community, she said.