CMAA Stories: Sivly Lay
“The experience gave me the confidence to try new things.”
Sivly Lay, 17, began volunteering for the Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association (CMAA) in December, 2014. She went from entering data to becoming an interpreter and instructor for CMAA’s weekly computer class, helping people who had little experience with computers to learn how to use them. Beginning in May 2015, she and two other Lowell high school students began working as part-time outreach coordinators for CMAA, registering neighborhood residents to vote and informing them about CMAA’s upcoming events and services.
The position was her first job working outside her family’s business, and the first time she received a paycheck. Looking back on the experience, Sivly recalls that “…the most valuable thing I learned was patience. People weren’t always willing to talk to us, and others didn’t believe we were working on behalf of CMAA. At first it was intimidating to talk to strangers, and sometimes the weather was hot! But the experience gave me the confidence to try new things and it was fulfilling to let people know about the events and activities at CMAA.” Sivly continues to work at CMAA part-time after school two days a week, entering data and working as a computer lab instructor and interpreter.
Next summer, CMAA plans to renew its outreach efforts and provide opportunities for youth like Sivly to work part-time, learning about civic engagement and performing community outreach about democracy, and CMAA’s activities and services. Please consider a donation before the end of the year to help us continue our ability to provide opportunities for youth learning, and to support our efforts to create a more engaged and connected Lowell.