Yanli and Xio Hong:  Bridging the Gap

"We are lucky to have Project Able . . . to solve some daily life problems."

Yanli and her daughter Xio Hong left California in 2009 because of family problems. Since arriving in Massachusetts, they've faced myriad challenges, from finding shelter to navigating school and care for Xio Hong, who has Down syndrome. Add to this the fact that Yanli, who was born in China, only speaks a bit of English.

That's where Project Able stepped in, providing a critical safety net for Yanli and her daughter. One of Advocates' family supports programs, it provides culturally competent family supports to Chinese and Vietnamese families caring for loved ones with developmental disabilities in Greater Boston and on the South Shore. Bridging linguistic and cultural barriers, Project Able helped Yanli seek out resources and services she didn't know were available and assisted her with accessing them.

Upon their arrival, Yanli and Xio Hong initially stayed with a friend from church in Quincy, but they soon found themselves homeless. The city of Quincy helped the family find a temporary place to stay. Soon after, Kwang Chan, Project Able program manager, was contacted and helped Yanli begin the application process for permanent housing.

Meanwhile, Kwang helped dodge a misunderstanding that arose from the family's move, ensuring Xio Hong remained eligible to continue to attend the school in Quincy where she had established ties. He arranged transportation and advocated for her in the individualized education plan (IEP) process.

Kwang has also helped Yanli to manage Xio Hong's other needs, arranging personal care assistant services and finding a home behavior consultant with assistance from the state Department of Children and Families (DCF). Kwang arranged doctor appointments for Xio Hong with a Chinese-speaking physician, and went with Yanli and Xio Hong to an appointment.

"They came here alone," says Kwang. "This is too big a thing. We've done our best to help the family wherever there are problems."

Yanli is grateful for the support Project Able has provided to her and her daughter. "We came here without knowing too many people," she says through Kwang. "We are lucky to have Project Able to help with my daughter's school and solve some daily life problems."
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