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About Vietnamese American Civic Association (VACA)

Vietnamese American Civic Association, VACA Vietnamese American Civic Association (VACA) 1 - Background: VACA is a mutual Assistance Association (MAA) founded in 1984 by Vietnamese for Vietnamese refugees. From the start, it provided an array of services that were designed to help Vietnamese refugees and immigrants to address daily living needs, successfully adjust to a new country, culture and language, and achieve economic self-sufficiency. Civic and citizenship education were added to the ever expanding spectrum of services to encourage civic participation and community- and self-advocacy. VACA serves the Boston and Metropolitan Boston Vietnamese communities, which is concentrated in Dorchester, especially the Fields Corner neighborhood. Much of this community has low levels of English language skills, physical and emotional disabilities which are a result of their traumatic pre-immigration experience (untreated illnesses, long hours of forced and grueling labor, physical and psychological trauma and/or torture). This has been exacerbated by the adjustment process to life in the United States and the stress of family reunions after years of separation, language and cultural differences and poverty. An estimated 15,000 to 22,000 Vietnamese live in Greater Boston, primarily in the Boston neighborhoods of Dorchester, Allston-Brighton, and East Boston, and the communities of Chelsea, Malden, Quincy, and Everett. The largest concentration-4000, according to the 1990 U.S. Census data, but 12,000 according to community estimates-lives in Dorchester. Most Vietnamese refugees entered the US between the mid-1970s and the mid-1990s. 2 - Mission/Goals: To develop a strong Vietnamese community by promoting family self-sufficiency and well-being and community empowerment. 3 - Services: The wide array of services that have been designed and offered by VACA reflect its mission. The agency helps individuals and families to access the health, educational and economic resources and opportunities which help them to establish economic stability and good health, which in turn strengthens the family structure and the community's development and its sense of empowerment. VACA offers naturalization assistance, ESL, employment services, social services and health education.
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