Beverly resident Hanjing Lai graduated last May with a degree in business administration but wasn’t necessarily looking to work for a nonprofit organization. When an opportunity with the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, Inc. (BCNC) came her way, though, she couldn’t turn it down.
For the past four months, Lai has worked as a Parent Leadership Specialist for BCNC, an organization that serves as a vital link for the Asian immigrant and Asian American community to navigate U.S. society by providing essential services while preserving their culture.
“As someone who was born in China, and lived in Hungary before coming to the United States as an international student, I understand the difficulties involved in the American immersion process,” said Lai. “I feel that I am well-equipped to serve the Asian community in my knowledge of different languages and cultures.”
One of BCNC’s main goals is to help every low-income Asian child receive a quality education. As a part of this effort, Lai was chosen as the representative for BCNC to participate in a public education discussion meeting with Thomas M. Menino, Mayor of Boston this past August 31.
“I brought a BCNC parent representative along with me to the meeting,” said Lai. “Mayor Menino wanted to hear the genuine opinions of those who were impacted directly by public school education, and by bringing a parent with me, I was able to add more depth and authenticity to the discussion.”
During her time at Gordon, Lai concentrated in international business, and now attributes her success in working for a nonprofit organization directly to her classes and professors. In addition to her educational experiences, Lai participated in Harvard’s Model United Nation program, Gordon’s women’s choir and Gordon’s International Student Organization. Lai especially enjoyed spending her junior year in China as part of Gordon’s study abroad program.
“I am very thankful that I am able to serve the people who I have a heart for,” said Lai. “Gordon professors demonstrated to me what is means to be a servant leader, and I strive to follow their example every day in working with the underprivileged Asian community.”
Story by Kate Brooks, a senior Communication Arts student from Scotch Plains, N.J.