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Our Story


Academic Research

Seeing the challenges her grandparents have faced after immigrating to the U.S., Vivian Xu, an Indian Hill High School student in Cincinnati Ohio, started yearlong research in August of 2021 on the well-being of older Chinese immigrants.

After reviewing over 30 academic papers, she found a research gap in mid-sized cities like Cincinnati where the Asian population is much lower than national average.  With few ethnic oriented social services and networks, older Asian immigrants in such cities face bigger challenges in their daily lives that impact their overall well-being. 

To understand the unmet needs of this underrepresented population, Vivian launched an online survey on the New Year's Day of 2022, targeting Cincinnati’s Chinese immigrants over 60 years old.  She distributed the survey to two Cincinnati Chinese schools, the Cincinnati Chinese Church, nine public and private schools, grocery stores, and neighborhoods. In six weeks, she completed data collection with 103 qualified respondents. 

Through data analysis of the survey responses, Vivian found that the participants who came to the U.S. to be reunited with family had a significantly lower life satisfaction than those who came for study and work. Based on the results, the top three barriers for the participants are language (53%), lack of social activities (48%), and lack of mobility (47%). Health Care is the most prominent concern among seniors (76%).


Focus Group Interview

Vivian Xu’s research work drew attention in the Asian community and social service organizations in Cincinnati. She started collaboration with Design Impact, a non-profit organization that focuses on innovative ways to drive social change.

On April 16th 2022, for a Design Impact project sponsored by Meals on Wheels, Vivian led a focus group interview in Mason Municipal Center with six senior Chinese immigrants. By conversing in-person with seniors during the interview, she gained further in-depth understanding about their needs and sensed their great desire for connections and socialization.

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The Founding of EMBRACE

To turn insight into action, Vivian Xu built a youth team to tackle the challenges identified through her research and to serve the unmet needs she further confirmed from the group interview.

On April 23rd 2022,  Katie Wang from Cincinnati Country Day High School joined Vivian to present the senior Asian project to Civic Leadership Academy (CLA) and won the Emerging Leaders Mini Grant of $500.  This became the start-up funds for the team.

Three additional Indian Hill High School students- Jesslyn Gunadi, Claron Wang, and Lillian Liu joined the team.  On May 21st 2022, the five passionate friends formally kicked off their program at Vivian’s house. Brainstorming on a whiteboard, they determined their name as EMBRACE, standing for “Empowering & Mobilizing Better Resilient Asian Community Engagement”.

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Four Pillars of Action

The team is committed to drive a sustainable change to improve the wellbeing of senior Asian immigrants. Focusing on problem solving, the team defines Four Pillars of Action: language, social activity, health care, and mobility.  They convene each week to plan activities based on the four pillars to create a better engaged community for the seniors.

The team successfully organized several social events, launched the "Grandparents Learning English" YouTube channel, and explored bus transportation services.  Their passion has influenced and attracted more youths from different schools to join the team.  Together, the EMBRACE team is driving a positive change, building a more inclusive and diverse community for all colors and all ages.

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