The Lotus Program in South Philadelphia works to connect with the AAPI community

SOUTH PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Every Thursday, Lynn Tang leads the Lotus Program.

It's part of Caring People Alliance's Marconi Older Adult Program, housed within the South Philadelphia Boys & Girls Club.

At a recent program, Tang held a sushi demonstration.

Branon Gilmore, Senior Director of Programs and Service Delivery at Caring People Alliance, says the Lotus Program was created because they noticed a need to provide services to Asian Americans in the community.

"It's a safe place for them to come and have interaction with their peers," he said.

Tang, the Asian American Outreach Coordinator for Caring People Alliance, says these types of programs help seniors socialize so they won't become isolated in their homes.

The Lotus Program started in 2018. Tang says the group shares stories and it's very educational for those involved.

"I can learn from them and some time they can learn from me," she said.

Activities vary week to week, but usually include cooking, so members get a meal to take home too. Tang says she likes introducing the older adults in the group to new foods.

"They very excited. Some of those Cambodian seniors don't even know what sushi is," said Tang.

Mary Phan, a member of the Lotus Program, helps Tang with the sushi demonstration. At this meeting, they are assembling California rolls, which include sushi rice and avocado.

"It's healthy for them," said Tang.

They also play games, like Mahjong. The game uses tiles and each one has a character on it.

"It's actually a points game and it's very popular," said Tang.

Another game the group often plays is Fish-Prawn-Crab, which is a dice game. They use fake mone,y so there's no risk in upping the ante.

"They all can get $1,000," laughed Tang. "It's fun."

Tang says she wants members to feel comfortable because she can relate to them.

"I come from Cambodia," she said.

Tang was born there, but her parents are originally from China. She helps bridge language gaps among the group.

"I'm here to translate to you," she explained. "I speak Cantonese and some Mandarin, and of course Khmer."

Gilmore says Tang's outreach has made a difference, calling it "a social support group." He says it's been a very valuable service for the AAPI community.

Phan says she's been a member of the Lotus Program for about two and a half years.

"I like coming here," she said. "Happy for me."

Tang says she enjoys coming to work at the Lotus Program to engage and connect the older adults in the AAPI community.

"I love doing this," she said.

For more information:
Caring People Alliance
Marconi Older Adult Program
The Lotus Program/Asian American Outreach
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