2021 Grants Challenge

1000 Cranes for Recovery serving AAPI communities

Through 1000 Cranes for Recovery, SHARE! will address pandemic-related distress caused by losses, unemployment and discrimination experienced by chronically underserved Los Angeles Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities by 1) training and placing 25 AAPI in the peer workforce, and 2) training 1,000 peers on AAPI issues and culture through free monthly webinars and 3) hosting a weekly support group. The cranes symbolize hope and a collective wish for recovery for AAPI communities.


In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

County of Los Angeles

What is the problem that you are seeking to address?

The pandemic has devastated Los Angeles Asian-American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI), with a mortality of 195 Asians per 100,000 and 477 Hawaiians per 100,000 [LA County Dept. of Public Health] as well as extreme loneliness and isolation. There has been a 150% rise in anti-Asian hate crimes and violence [CSU Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism]. Contrary to the myth of the successful “model minority,” AAPI unemployment soared from 3% to 15% [Rand Corporation]. Los Angeles AAPI are in need of emotional support, yet they are the least likely of all ethnic groups to receive mental health services, due to stigma, language barriers, poor cultural competency and the lack of AAPI mental health providers. This historic underrepresentation has been compounded by the complexity of serving diverse immigrants from more than 26 countries [Asian Americans Advancing Justice LA], as well as rapid population growth since 2000, projected to increase a further 11% by 2050 [LA Almanac].

Describe the project, program, or initiative that this grant will support to address the problem identified.

While many mental health professionals require years of training before they can enter the workforce, SHARE! will bring 25 AAPI Peer Specialists into the workforce within six months. Peer Specialists, because they have lived experience of mental health issues, and/or are parents/caregivers with a child with mental health issues, are uniquely qualified to reach AAPI who are reluctant to ask for help. After participants complete the SHARE! Advanced Peer Specialist Training, a 70-hour online program which meets national requirements for certification, SHARE! will support them with job-hunting skills, networking, mentorship and further training in relationship-building, conflict resolution and peer bridging to support homeless and formerly incarcerated people. SHARE! will organize free monthly online trainings for peers and community members on the needs of AAPI communities, including unemployment, COVID-related losses, fighting mental health stigma, coping with discrimination, needs of elders, youth and parents, and more. Each participant will fold an origami crane that will be publicly displayed, and will earn a crane-shaped badge to designate them as culturally sensitive to AAPI communities. The trainings also will reach an estimated audience of 1,500 a month through a webpage and social media. SHARE! also will host a weekly online self-help support group for AAPI and allies to support community members as well as those working in the mental health system.

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Pilot or new project, program, or initiative

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 1,025

Indirect Impact: 12,500

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

Twenty-five AAPI Peer Specialists will each serve at least 100 people a year. The 1,000 peers trained to better serve AAPI communities, will each carry the message of hope and recovery to at least 10 people. More than 12,500 people in overlooked AAPI communities will get support to reduce loneliness and mental health issues, grieve the losses of the pandemic, find jobs and cope with discrimination. The monthly trainings and associated website and social media will generate compassion and understanding that will reduce anti-Asian sentiment, hate crimes and violence, as well as inspiring others to replicate the project. (Little Tokyo Services Center has already expressed interest in replicating our program for social workers.)

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

Peer services build community and relieve isolation. A Canadian study, for example, found Chinese immigrants who got peer support were less lonely and felt happier. [BMC Geriatrics, 2020] Peer services engage and empower people who are reluctant to receive mental health services and reduce symptoms and hospitalizations. The recipient of seven peer training grants, SHARE! has trained 781 peers since 2016. SHARE!’s graduates, 73% of whom are not white, have an 87% placement rate in the mental health system. SHARE! has trained 42 Asian/ Asian-American Peer Specialists who speak Mandarin, Tagalog, Korean, Khmer, Guamanian, Punjabi, Japanese, Hindi, Cantonese and other Chinese languages. SHARE! will track placement rates, tell success stories to encourage others to enter the mental health field, and continuously improve trainings and support groups through evaluations and community feedback.

Which of the CONNECT metrics will you impact?​

Social and emotional support

Immigrant integration