Yanli: Project Able

Yanli and Xio

Bridging cultural barriers to make a difference.

When Yanli and her daughter Xio Hong arrived in Massachusetts from California, they immediately faced multiple challenges, from finding a place to live, to enrolling Xio Hong in school, and accessing various health services. On top of it all, Xio Hong has Down syndrome and Yanli, born in China, speaks little English.

After bouncing from a friend’s home to temporary housing provided by the city, Yanli and Xio Hong were finally connected to someone from Advocates Project Able – a family support program exclusively serving Chinese and Vietnamese families who have loved ones with developmental disabilities.

Kwang Chan, former program manager, became an essential resource, advocate, and friend to Yanli and Xio Hong, as they applied for permanent housing, arranged transportation to school, and coordinated appointments with Chinese-speaking doctors and therapists.

"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."

Serving families in this way is at the heart of Project Able’s mission. Cultural and language barriers can make everyday tasks and activities in the community difficult for families like Yanli and Xio Hong, but the challenges are even more pronounced when caring for someone with disabilities. Kwang and other Project Able staff build strong relationships with the families they serve to help meet their individual needs and stay true to their vision and expertise.

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."