Leadership in an Asian American Community in the South: The Development of an Informal Support Network to Increase Access to Services

Suzie S. Weng, University of North Florida


Despite the development of culturally sensitive practices and ethnic-specific services for non-dominant groups, Asian Americans continue to underutilize social services. The underutilization is a reminder that multiple barriers still exist in preventing the historically invisible members of the Asian American population from improving their well-being. If Asian Americans are not using formalized services, they are likely turning to their own informal supports, of which little is known, for meeting their needs. Using a grounded theory approach, this article explores the leaders and their roles in the development of an informal support network in an Asian American community in the southern region of the United States. The theory developed in this study indicates cultural influences affecting leaders and their ethnic identity, which then informs identification of needs and the helping process in the development of the informal support network. The article concludes with implications.