What We Do
Chinatown Respite Care (CRC) is a faith-based nonprofit organization comprising volunteers from local Boston churches. Our focus is to aid neurodivergent Chinese families dealing with conditions like autism, ADHD, and learning disabilities. Launched in 2015 in Boston Chinatown, our core mission is to serve Chinese families, predominantly new immigrants and non-English speakers, with neurodivergent children across Greater Boston. CRC provides respite care by pairing children with volunteers and inviting parents to a support group where they can share experiences and resources.
CRC began its services informally in 2011. Parents learned about CRC through word of mouth, often when conversing with other parents in Chinatown. The space was so limited that parents often had to wait outside on the streets, even during extremely cold weather. Despite the challenging circumstances, this space provided parents an opportunity to discuss situations occurring at their children's schools and to exchange advice and resources.
In 2015, CRC was officially established! Thanks to our team's unwavering dedication and stellar networking efforts, we forged a connection with the Boston Chinese Evangelical Church (BCEC) in Chinatown. BCEC generously offered CRC a larger space, accommodating more children and parents.
CRC hosts in-person events on the fourth Saturday of every month. We offer respite care for children with disabilities by pairing them with our dedicated volunteers. Our team includes specialists. The teacher supervisor, a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), crafts the curriculum programs and steers the classrooms alongside teachers and teaching assistants.
During the pandemic when in-person events were halted, our devoted leaders and volunteers distributed food and cards to families who felt profoundly isolated. We endeavored to stay engaged and preserve our relationships with these families by also organizing online workshops, addressing topics like emotional management and behavior control for parents. Since August of 2022, CRC restarted our in-person events and has since grown to serve 50 families in our community, assisting over 100 children and parents collectively.
Parent Group Coordinator
I started my volunteer work at the beginning of 2015. My job was to pair with a kid with disability. Then I joined the leadership team after 1 year. My job changed to building relationships with parents and to designing the outreach program that connected more Chinese families in the community. I also led the parents’ support group: a space for parents to share their challenges and to receive guidance from other experienced parents.
Now I am the president of CRC, mainly focusing on 3 responsibilities:
I am the visionary who sets the direction
for future development.I am the strategy-developer who makes plans for outreach programs and partnerships.
I am the presenter who gives speeches in the Chinese community.
Mei-Hua Li, Ph.D., BCBA, LABA
Growing up in Boston Chinatown, Dr. Mei-Hua Li has developed strong ties with the community over the years. While she was pursuing her master’s degree in 2017, she came across Chinatown Respite Care and it seemed to be a new opportunity to give back to the Chinatown community. She worked with different children with special needs as a volunteer and substitute teacher, and she now serves as a volunteer and teacher supervisor. She is highly motivated to engage community members to participate in this ministry and share her professional skills and enthusiasm in serving the Chinese-speaking population with special needs.