Main Office: 2209 Eastern Avenue Plymouth, WI 53073 920-892-7606

Northshore Campus – Sheboygan: 805 North 6th Street Sheboygan, WI 53081 920-457-8866

Port Washington Office, 1000 N. Wisconsin Street, Port Washington, WI 53074

Oostburg Office – 927 Center Avenue, Suite 4, Oostburg, WI 53070

AAPI Month | Two Filipina Journeys

AAPI Month | Two Filipina Journeys

As May comes to an end so does the celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage month. A month dedicated to recognizing and celebrating the impact and achievements of people from the AAPI community and their contributions to the United States’ history and culture.

We are closing out the month by highlighting Jeramie-Anne Kream, MS, LPC-IT and Jaclyn Volz, MSCP, LPC. These two therapists are from the Life Point Counseling, Plymouth site. We had the opportunity to sit down with both and learn how they identify with the AAPI community, how their culture and experiences have shaped them personally and professionally in the mental health field. There are some people born into a nuclear family with strong and influential roots. There are many individuals whose identity is contextual, changing, or otherwise imposed or shaped dependent on peers or relatives, communities and or other external factors.

Continue reading to learn more about Jeramie-Anne and Jaclyn’s personal journeys and how it impacts their culture.

Can you give us an introduction of yourself and how you identify with the AAPI community?

Kream | “I am a second generation Filipino-American, meaning I was the first in my family born in the United States. My older sister and mother moved to the U.S. from the Philippines, 1-2 years before I was born.”

Volz | “I’m a transracial international adoptee. As I was born in the Philippines and at 2 years old, I was adopted. I came over to the United States with a sponsor to be united with my family. I am one of three adopted children, all from the Philippines. Both of my parents are white. How do I identify with the AAPI community? Honestly, sometimes it’s still hard to answer this question. I guess it depends on the day.”

What inspired you to work in the helping field?

Kream | “I was inspired to enter the helping profession of mental health due to the stigmas I grew up in. That is not to say these mental health stigmas are in every AAPI culture, but it was certainly prevalent in my childhood / adolescence. I have lost a sibling due to these stigmas. I saw first-hand the way mental health has been dismissed in military settings; affecting both my husband and deceased sibling while they were active-duty. Research has shown that the Asian demographic are one of the least, if not thee least, reported ethnicities in research surrounding mental health. I entered this field with the hope of modeling and decreasing those stigmas within some AAPI cultures.”

Volz | “For me, I always knew I wanted to be in the helping field. I just didn’t know at what capacity. When I was a child, my dream was to become an art teacher. It wasn’t until late adolescence – early adulthood (and some adversity) I allowed myself to entertain the idea of counseling. Like, Jermaine-Anne and many other clinicians, I entered this field because of a personal connection. When I was entering my teens I really started to struggle with my identity. I felt very alone, even in the world of privilege I was in. I had the best intended family, community supports, and a small group of peers I really trusted. Though, I felt no one understood me or what I was going through. I didn’t know who I was or where I belonged, leaving me feeling confused, frustrated, and displaced. Through my own journey of self-discovery, acceptance, and recovery I was inspired to help people with similar experiences. My current position provides me the opportunity to let others know they are not alone. That they are not confined to their circumstances, to provide an opportunity for alliance and healing from a place of empathy and understanding.”

There is limited knowledge on the mental health needs of the AAPI community. What is one area you believe should be studied?

Kream | “I believe emotional expression and emotional vulnerability need to be studied within the AAPI community. There are a lot of AAPI cultures that perceive emotional expression and vulnerability as weakness. This is especially pervasive in AAPI men. To do this, I believe the research needs to specifically target this demographic. I also believe that the best way to get the AAPI community to willingly participate in this type of research is to fiscally incentivize the research.”

Volz | “I believe there should be further research on the role technology and social media has in the AAPI community. I consider the negative impact the pandemic played on the AAPI community with technology being one of the few means of communication and disbursement of information that fueled discrimination and violence. Though, I also consider the commonalities technology offers despite any disparities of the individual using the technology. I believe technology today is in its infancy to what it will become and the advances and consequences it will create. This research could potentially give insight to the connections it has to AAPI mental health needs while also providing innovative interventions to said needs or other areas in deficit.”

In what ways has your culture shaped your identity?

Kream | “My culture has shaped my identity in how I place the highest value in my family. I am a very family-oriented individual. At the same time, it has helped shape me to combat some of the expectations my culture set as a mother of many children. I pursued my career in a somewhat unorthodox way and was met with some disdain from Filipinos who valued more traditional roles. I am so grateful for the challenge my culture placed in me, to not only prove I can have a career and raise children simultaneously, but to show other AAPI women that we can blaze our own paths while still honoring our culture. Additionally, Filipino food is the largest cultural influence in my family!”

Volz | “Specific to my Filipino culture, the cultural shaping started 7ish years ago. I was two years into Masters when I realized I needed to change myself before any grandiose worldly work. I returned to my homeland for the first time in 2018. Ever since I’ve been on a creative journey to learn more about my roots for a deeper connection to my identity. The word, “culture” is ambiguous on its own, then add the complexity of adoption. . . I’m not surprised I struggled with my identity during my adolescence.”

Does your family have any traditions that are especially meaningful to you?

Kream | “I continued the cultural tradition of using honorifics with siblings among my children. All of my children refer to one another as Kuya (older brother) and Ateh (older sister). It is wonderful to hear these being used regularly among them. We have also held the tradition of ringing in the New Year in the state we hope to experience the entire year! That is, everyone is clean and fed, money in pockets, a very clean home, there is at least 12 fruits displayed at the dinner table (each fruit signifies 12 months of prosperity), and most importantly, everyone is home together.”

Volz | “Again, specific to my Filipino culture, sadly no. But the value of family is a theme consistent in my life. My husband grew up where family was instrumental and often played an active role in important life events and sometimes decision making. Some of which my family has adopted over the years. There are definitely cross cultural influenced and infused traditions we practice that are meaningful to my family in their own unique way.”

What does showing up to support the AAPI community, both internally and externally, look like for you?

Kream | “Externally, showing up for the AAPI community means to proudly exhibit my heritage. This is especially important as my children are half Filipino and half Caucasian. However, the Filipino community is quite small in Wisconsin. I would love to see a Filipino American Association nearby! Internally, I show up for the AAPI community by understanding that I can keep parts of my culture I wish to pass on (food, language, tradition, etc.) while keeping other aspects of it behind me (stigmas, out of date parenting styles, harmful notions of beauty, etc.).”

Volz | “I show up internally and externally to support the AAPI community by being curious and continuously learning about my culture and our cousins. Learning not only about the history but current events too. I try to take opportunities as they present themselves to pass gained knowledge to my children and have my family participate in community events that allow culture highlighting. I show up by continuing to evolve as an individual within the AAPI community.”

2209 Eastern Avenue
Plymouth, WI 53073
(920) 892-7606

Got Questions?
Send a Message!

By submitting this form via this web portal, you acknowledge and accept the risks of communicating your health information via this unencrypted email and electronic messaging and wish to continue despite those risks. By clicking "Yes, I want to submit this form" you agree to hold Brighter Vision harmless for unauthorized use, disclosure, or access of your protected health information sent via this electronic means.