By FCSN Volunteer Ashika Kuchhangi
Graphics by Kaavya Saini
“Sharing Culture One Story at a Time” was a newly implemented FCSN program hosted by Ashika Kuchhangi and Jackie Wong from June 18th to August 13th. This class involved reading a story about different cultures around the world, designed to encourage acceptance of those who have different backgrounds and beliefs.
Born out of Ashika’s own experiences as a child, a pilot session for this programming began with the “Name Jar,” a wonderful short story written and illustrated by Yangsook Choi. The picture book follows the story of Unhei as she comes to America from Vietnam. Conscious that other students have a challenging time pronouncing her name, she shares she has not picked an American name. In response, her class creates a name jar filled with various names— American ones, silly ones, and innovative ones. But none of them are Unhei. Unhei ultimately chooses to keep her own name, recognizing the significance of her name and her Korean identity. As a child, Ashika found the story incredibly empowering and was ecstatic to share it with FCSN during the Storytime Sessions centered around anti-bullying and upstander behavior, helping children learn the importance of being cognizant and appreciative of others cultures rather than bullying children for their differences. With the help of Jackie, another FCSN volunteer, the two put together a new storytime session centered around cultural awareness. The two read stories based around a myriad of cultures while also listening to authentic music, watching informative videos, and of course, playing fun Kahoots. Ashika and Jackie hope to continue the storytime session in the future and would love other FCSN members to get involved.
Class picture on the last day of class.