A child holding up a picture
May 21, 2021 - Buehler YMCA

Celebrating API Heritage Month through STEAM and language-learning activities

This May, the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago is observing Asian Pacific Islander (API) Heritage Month by engaging in local and global advocacy efforts, sharing staff stories, and teaching youth about API luminaries and languages.

Here’s how the Y’s youth program participants are celebrating API Heritage Month (with links to the activities so you can try them at home):

Youth at YMCA Safe ‘n Sound found inspiration in Japanese abstract artist Yayoi Kusama, stretching their imaginations as they drew connections between science and art. Inspired by Kusama’s My Eternal Soul painting series, kids created their own masterpieces while learning about the amoebas and other microorganisms that often appear in her work.

View or print our lesson plan for this STEAM project to make Kusama-inspired artwork at home

Meanwhile, at the South Side YMCA, Remote Learning Support (RLS) students learned about how fostering a sense of belonging can sometimes be as simple as saying hello. Together, they recorded a brief video to greet community members in Japanese, Hindi, and Mandarin Chinese. By taking the time to practice each phrase for correct pronunciation, RLS students not only strengthened their language skills but also engaged in meaningful, respectful cultural exchange.

Want to learn how to say hello in several API languages? Check out Belonging Starts with Hello, an educational resource originally developed by the YMCA of Delaware.

The Y is passionate about creating inclusive, welcoming spaces where families can learn about and celebrate the cultural differences that enrich our communities. Both this month and year-round, our commitment to children, families, and communities compels us to honor diversity in all its forms. We hope you join us in doing just that by enjoying the above activities!