An Inside Look

logo with bamboo

Asian Pacific Development Center

March 2012



How are you enjoying the weather? I bet you're loving it just like I am.  


With Spring officially here, the APDC has been getting new motivation and inspiration this month. We've been meeting with many communities and organizations for possible new partnerships on different capacities and we've also been thinking of many new ideas on how we can better fit the needs of the community. So please keep on the lookout for many new exciting things coming up. 


First I would like to mention our two upcoming events: YSYP Dim Sum Brunch Fundraiser (03/31) and "ARTiste" Art Gala Fundraiser for ReLAY after school program hosted by Miss AACO (04/21). Hope you will join us and our YSYP youth leaders this Saturday for some dim sum, silent auction and entertainment- it will be fun! Also join us on April 21st to seen and celebrate the artwork done by our ReLAY refugee youth. See more details below.


This month's Inside Look features the Bhutanese community. While we've worked with and told stories of the Burmese community quite a bit, we have not introduced the Bhutanese community to you. We have had a chance to meet with a Bhutnaese community leader to hear about the issues, concerns and needs of the community and APDC is also learning a lot about the Bhutanese community. As we gear up to provide services to the Bhutanese community in full effect, we would like for you to get to know the Bhutanese community as well. 


Last but not the least, we are now enrolling for our ESL, citizenship and job readiness classes. Please let anyone you know about these effective and affordable classes! 


Also, if you are in the midst of spring cleaning and have some items to throw away, please don't forget our refugee communities and bring down any clothing, food, baby items, small furniture or any other items that might be of use to APDC (1544 Elmira St. Aurora, CO 80010)!


Hope you are well and happy. :)




Christine Wanifuchi 

CEO, Asian Pacific Development Center



 Who are Bhutanese Refugees?


Situated between the emerging superpowers of India and China, the isolated Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan, hailed by some as 'the last Shangri-La', has generated one of the highest numbers of refugees in the world in proportion to its population.  


Since 1991 over one sixth of Bhutan's people have sought asylum in Nepal, India and other countries around the world. The vast majority of the refugees are Lhotshampas, one of Bhutan's three main ethnic groups, who were forced to leave Bhutan in the early 1990s. Over 105,000 Bhutanese have spent more than 15 years living in refugee camps established in Nepal by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. Thousands more are living outside the camps in Nepal and India, and some in North America, Europe and Australia. Since 2008 a resettlement process has seen many thousands of Bhutanese refugees from the camps in Nepal being re-settled primarily in the USA but also in Canada, Australia, Denmark, New Zealand, the Netherlands and Norway. 




Like most modern nations, Bhutan's 650,000 people consist of several ethnic groups. One of these is the Lhotshampa, people of Nepali origin, who began to settle in the south of the country in the late 19th century.


In the 1980s it emerged that Lhotshampas were being seen as a threat to the political order. When a string of measures were passed that discriminated against their group, the Lhotshampa organised a series of public demonstrations for which the participants were branded as "anti-nationals". Several thousands of Southern Bhutanese were imprisoned, and more than 2000 tortured, according to Amnesty International. Thousands fled to India and Nepal. By the end of 1992, there were more than 80,000 living in UNHCR camps in south eastern Nepal.


The Bhutanese refugees remain in limbo, their future still unclear. Those in the camps continue to wait for a solution that might consist of a return to Bhutan, third country resettlement or local integration or an unknown mixture of all three. Violence in the camps, between those favouring third country resettlement and those who insist on unconditional repatriation, is an increasingly serious problem.

An estimated 35,000 exist outside of the camps, in Nepal or in India, without the protection of UNHCR or any status in the countries where they live. Increasing numbers have made the difficult journey to third countries to claim asylum. Those Southern Bhutanese who remain in Bhutan also face an uncertain future, with continuing discrimination and the possibility of being excluded from the emerging democratic process offered in the new constitution.

Bhutanese Refugees in Colorado


Since 2008 many thousands of Bhutanese refugees have left the camps as part of the resettlement program, moving to start new lives in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway.  


In Colorado, Bhutanese refugees are the largest in number and with already over a couple of thousands, the state is expecting to receive many more Bhutanese refugees in the next 5 years with the closing of refugee camps in Nepal. 


Setu Nepal, one of the Bhutanese community leaders in Colorado has made a mark back at the refugee camp in Nepal as an advocate for third-country resettlement programs. While many of the refugees were reluctant to resettle in another country and wanted to stay near home, Setu spoke to them and convinced them the opportunity and viability of refugee resettlement programs. Setu spoke, "at refugee camps, people don't do much. There are schools at camps but 'real' teachers already get recruited by private schools in Nepal so they leave the camps for jobs. So the ones left behind are those who aren't really qualified to carry out competent education. People don't know the technology either and just living at camps will not take them anywhere. So I talked to the people to convince them that third-country resettlement is the opportunity and the answer."


So many have come to the United States and are not quite "back on their feet" yet. According to Setu, especially the people who are fifty-years and older who are uneducated and physically weak are having difficulties with mental health issues and also with acquiring language skills and jobs. However, due to the cultural stigma around mental health where the mentally ill are often ostracized in the community, nobody wants to speak up and acknowledge the mental health need of themselves or their families. "It is becoming a big problem. There definitely are people struggling with mental health issues but nobody wants to come forward," Setu said with a concerned look. 


The older generation aren't the only ones with issues adjusting. The youth is clashing with other ethnic groups at schools and things are becoming violent. "These kids go out of control. I've been to schools many times and the problem is becoming worse. There are already a dozen of our Bhutanese kids who are on the list for the police," Setu then continued, "it's because these kids don't have anything to do after school so they engage in these gang activities. Parents have problems adjusting and the kids go out and cause these problems so it's becoming almost hopeless for them. The Bhutanese community needs a lot of help. A lot." 


"Another problem is young marriage," Setu says. "In Bhutan kids cannot marry young and if they do, they get kicked out of school. But in Nepal, it is allowed. So having lived in Nepal as refugees for so many years, people have gotten used to it and it is happening even here in the U.S. Young kids get married and have babies and forget about their education. How are they going to live then?" Setu seemed very concerned. 


The Bhutanese community, like any other refugee communities in Colorado, have layers of issues that they need help with. Starting from mental health, many of them need to acquire English skills, job skills and get jobs to be self-sustainable. The youth need anti-gang prevention programs, guidance from possible mentors and after school activities that can engage them in healthier ways. "I want our people to become self-sustainable so we don't have to be perceived as a burden to the society and I want to do my best to help them get on their feet and live their lives as they should. For us to do that though, we need help. We need much help from an organization like APDC who knows our culture and who gets us," Setu's words sounded hopeful at the least. 




YSYP Dim Sum Fundraiser


The Youth Strengthening Youth Program is one of the three youth programs at the APDC. YSYP is a selective leadership program that includes some of the finest young scholars and most promising young leaders in the state. 


The program is hosting a fundraiser to raise funds and thank its supporters. Get some dim sum, meet some of the finest young leaders in the API community and support the program! 



Saturday, March 31, 2012

11.00am - 1.00pm



Palace Chinese Restaurant @ 6265 E. Evans Ave. Denver, CO 80222



Dim Sum Lunch | Silent Auction | Live Entertainment




$300 for table sponsorship (table of 10)


How to get tickets?

For sponsorship and RSVP, please contact:

Ge Thao | | 720.424.0694


Join us!


"ARTiste" Fundraiser for ReLAY
Hosted by 2011 Miss AACO

 2011 Miss AACO, Dao Than


The 2011 Miss Asian American Colorado, Dao Than is hosting a fundraising event for the APDC's ReLAY (Responsible Leadership and Action for Youth) program as part of the AACO community service project. 


Re-LAY After School Program (Responsible Leadership and Action for Youth) is an intensive mentorship and after school program for middle school youth. The activities at Re-LAY includes but are not limited to: Mentoring, life skills curriculum, tutoring. The program currently serves the refugee students at Merrill Middle School (Denver Public Schools). 


ARTiste (ART Is Shown Through Expression) is an art gala showcasing the art done by our refugee youth and to celebrate the youth and their art. Miss Dao Than has been working with the youth every week at the program on the art project that will be showcased at the ARTiste fundraiser. There will also be local artists present with their artwork available for purchase. 100% of the proceeds from this event goes back to APDC's ReLAY after school program.


 Dao Than at ReLAY After School Program 



Saturday, April 21 

Door opens 5.00 pm

Show 5.30-8.00 pm



Tivoli Room 440/540 @ Auraria Campus 



Art gala | Live performers | Local Artists' Art Sale



$5 at the door (Donations Appreciated) 


How to get tickets? 

You can get tickets at the door on the day of the event. 


*For questions, please contact Dao Than @ 720.277.1247


Final Numbers for 2011 Joy Drive are in!


This past December APDC partnered with OAR (Original Aurora Renewal) for the second year on the 2011 Joy Drive.  This giving event collected and distributed wish list items to 58 schools, non-profits and agencies in Original Aurora during Christmas.  


$73,200 was raised through donor and support contributions and 98 volunteers served for a total of 899 hours.  Not only did this event benefit APDC clients, but also 4,567 individuals in our community.


To all of you who helped OAR/APDC host another successful Joy Drive, thank you! joydrive


Enrolling NOW!



ESL (English as a Second Language) Classes

  • Monday & Tuesday @ 6-8 pm 
  • Tuesday & Wednesday @ 9.30-11.30 am
  • Tuesday & Thursday @ 1-3 pm 
  • Wednesday & Thursday @ 6-8 pm
  • Friday @ 9 am-12 pm (*Daycare provided) 
  • Saturday @ 9am-12 pm  

Citizenship Classes 

  • Thursday & Friday @ 10am-12 pm

Job Readiness Classes 

  • Wednesday & Friday @ 12.30-2.30 pm


$45 for 10-weeks (twice a week)


How to Enroll?

Please contact to set up an appointment for an assessment:


Michaely Rosas, ESL Program Coordinator

303.365.2959 x 119 or 303.547.8896 (cell)


ESL Program's Mission
"Our mission is to assist Limited English Proficiency (LEP) adult learners to become literate and obtain the knowledge and skills necessary for employment and self-sufficiency, and to assist adult learners who are parents to obtain the educational skills necessary to become full partners in the education development of their children. We strive to empower our students to continue in their desire to improve their quality of life, and that of their families."


Looking for a volunteer Tai-Chi instructor

APDC is looking for a volunteer Tai-Chi instructor. If you or anyone you know practices Tai-Chi and would love to volunteer to help others with Tai-Chi, please let us know at 
Support Group for Families with Disabled Children
February 15 - May 2

Purpose of this group: 
Family is the fundamental and most important unit of society in many Asian cultures.  Furthermore, family members are usually the primary care providers for those with disabled children and this 
responsibility can become very stressful.  The lack of resources due 
to language barriers and cultural differences may isolate Asian 
immigrant families in the U.S. without social support and proper 
health-care knowledge.  The purpose of this group is to provide 
emotional support, parenting skills training, psycho-education, and 
networking opportunities for Asian families with disabled children. 
It is our goal to empower these families with the necessary support 
and resources so that they may better advocate for themselves and 
their children. 


Format of this group: 
There will be two separate support groups held at the same time. 


*       Parents/Caregivers Support Group 
(This group provides networking opportunities with other 
parents/caregivers, psycho-education and emotional support for the 


*       Child/Teenager Support Group 
(This group provides disabled children/teenagers opportunities for 
social/interpersonal skills training and support) 


Who should join the group: 
*       Parent/Caregiver: Asian or Pacific Islander parent/caregiver who has disabled children. 


*       Child/Teenager: Asian or Pacific Islander disabled child/teenager between the ages of 6 to 18; any kinds of disability (such as physical disability or mental disability). The disable child/teenager must be able to function independently for 90 minutes so he/she can participant in group without the parent/caregiver present. 


When and where is the group: 
*       From February 15th to May 2nd , every Wednesday 4:30pm-6:00pm (12 weeks); USD $15/Family/Week (for both parent/caregiver and child/teenager groups; donations are welcomed). 
*       Both groups will be held at the Asian Pacific Development Center at 1825 York St. Denver, 80206 
TEL: 303-393-0304 


*       Please call for a short screening interview if you are interested: 
o       For English, please call Geri Tien
TEL: 970-215-3881 (8am-5pm, Monday-Friday) 
o       For Mandarin Chinese & Taiwanese, please call Geri Tien 
TEL: 970-2153881 (8am-5pm, Monday-Friday) 
o       For Korean, please call Eunice Joo
TEL: 720-323-1421 (8am-5pm, Monday-Friday) 
o       For Vietnamese, please call Thanh Nguyen
TEL: 720-999-1304 (8am-5pm, Monday-Friday) 
o       For other languages, please call Geri Tien to request an 
interpreter, TEL: 970-215-3881 (8am-5pm, Monday-Friday) 


Languages spoken during the group: 
*       There will be Clinicians who speaks Korean, Vietnamese, Mandarin Chinese, and Taiwanese to interpret for the parent/caregiver and child/teenager if needed. Interpretation for other languages may be arranged.

partnerAPDC Partner Spotlight      



This month APDC highlights Bonfil's Colorado Marrow Donor Program. Thousads of patients with leukemia and other life-threatening diseases depend on the Be The Match REgistry, the largest and most diverse registry in the world, to find a life-saving donor. Because tissue types are inhertied, patients are most likely to match someone of their own race or ethnicity. Asians are only 7% of the Be The Match Registry of 9 million potential donors. CMDP is diligently working to increase the number of API donors on the registry and APDC is here to spread the word and help CMDP connect to the API community here in Colorado. We all have the power to hearl, the power to save a life.  


Every year, more than 10,000 people from all ethnic backgrounds are diagnosed with life-threatening blood diseases who hope for a marrow donor who can make their transplant possible. Seventy percent of these patients do not have a compatible donor in their family and need to search the Be The Match RegistryŽ for an unrelated donor.


Bonfils' Colorado Marrow Donor Program (CMDP) exists to give these patients a chance at survival by focusing on three primary initiatives - to facilitate stem cell and marrow transplants, to recruit more potential donors and to raise funds to cover testing and other costs associated with adding these new donors to the registry.  

Since its inception in 1989, CMDP has added more than 78,000 potential donors to the registry and has facilitated more than 550 blood stem cell or marrow transplants and more than 70 cord blood transplants to support patients in need all over the world. In 2011 alone, CMDP facilitated 36 blood stem cell or marrow matches and placed 3,800 potential marrow donors from Colorado and Wyoming on the Be The Match RegistryŽ. 


***On March 31, 2012, CMDP will be at APDC's youth leadership program YSYP's Dim Sum Brunch Fundraiser to accept registration and to answer any questions you might have. Join YSYP for some dimsum and register as a donor too! 


To learn more about Colorado Marrow Donor Program, please visit the  website.

Journey Logo




Enjoy the Fun APDC's "Journey" Video:  Youth, Community Leaders and Staff Join to Show You A Tour of the New Building

We hope you will consider "joining our journey" and making a donation to the capital campaign to raise $1.5 million to complete renovation of our building to make it a home for our API refugee and immigrant communities.  Every dollar counts, so no matter what the size of your donation, please consider giving today.


For further information about the JOURNEY campaign, please email or contact Christine Wanifuchi by phone (303.365.2959, ext. 116).  You may also download a fact sheet with more details about the campaign for your review:  FACT SHEET

You can also download the JOURNEY Pledge Card Here to pledge your support TODAY:  Pledge Card   


Asian Pacific Development Center


Business & Programs 

1544 Elmira Street

Aurora, CO 80010



Behavioral Health Clinic

1825 York Street

Denver, CO 80206



Find us on Facebook  




About Bhutanese Refugees


Enrolling NOW




Partner Spotlight


Internship & Volunteer 


Become an Interpreter! 




 Looking for an  internship or volunteer opportunity?

The APDC is looking for interns and volunteers who are interested in gaining experience working with the community. 


Some of the areas you can gain experiences in are:

  • Marketing & Communications & PR
  • Grant Research & Writing
  • Business/Sales  
  • Fundraising 
  • Events

We also welcome High School students who are looking to learn.  


If you have the passion and the heart for the community, APDC will do our best to tailor the experience around what you would like to learn.




    Become an Interpreter at CLC! 

clc logo 

The Colorado Language Connection is always looking for interpreters/document translators to add to our already extensive list.


If you are interested in becoming an interpreter or document translator at CLC, please contact the


Colorado Language Connection: 

303-365-2959 x 114 

*This is a contract position.




The APDC website now offers a JOB BANK that not only will include jobs available at APDC, but also jobs available throughout Denver.  To search for available jobs, visit:The APDC website now offers a JOB BANK that not only



Check back frequently as the JOB BANK will be updated on a regular basis.



The mission of The Asian Pacific Development Center is to advance the well-being of the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities of Colorado by providing culturally appropriate and integrated medical, behavioral and related services. 
Rudolph Lie, chair
John Chin, vice chair
Millie DeSmet, treasurer
Tony Oum, secretary
Thiensa Nguyen   

Tim Paran
Suzy Shimasaki

Byeongsook Seo
Lily Shen

Levonne Lee