Collaborative Programs


STEEP is a collaborative project of six organizations and institutions to build the capacity of Minnesota's Southeast Asian Community organizations in helping their community members around the dangers of tabacco use.  The overall goal is to increase awareness and improve family and community health through tobacco education and community engagement.

STEEP exists to build the capacity of Southeast Asian Communities to be aware of the harmful effects and dangers of tobacco use.  Tabacco educators are equipped with culturally appropriate tools and strategies in tabacco prevention to educate local staff and from businesses, agencies and other organizations.  All outreach activities are offered in English and the langauge of the community in responding to the specific and unique cultural barriers, challanges and strengths of each community.  STEEP uses a "train the trainer" model to increase the number of effective tobacco prevention advocates within each community.  

STEEP HANDBOOK.  The purpose of this handbook is to empower local SEA individuals, agencies, and community leaders to understand the process of policy engagement and development; to provide tools and tips to aid in successful implementation of policies in their own communities; and thereby to bring about tobacco use reduction, increase healthy eating and active living for all SEA communities. To download a copy of the handbook, click here.

SEA Youth 4 Change

The purpose of this program is to reduce and prevent Southeast Asian (SEA) youth and young adult tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure by engaging the SEA community by creating tobacco-free environments in the metro area of Minnesota where there are high concentrations of the SEA population.  This program builds on and expands work done by SEA Youth For Change, a program of Southeast Asian Health Equity Collaborative (SEAHEC).  SEAHEC is a collaborative of 6 SEA organizations in the Twin cities representing four SEA communities (The Advancement Association of Hmong Women In MN, Lao Advancement Organization of America, Vietnamese Social Services of MN, and United Cambodian Association of MN)  and the University of Minnesota Twincities. 

Energy Makeover

Xcel Energy and the Metro Clean Energy Resource Teams provided a free energy efficiency makeover for the Lao Family Community Center. The project began with an energy audit, which provided specific recommendations regarding heating and cooling, lighting, building envelope improvements, water heating and power factor correction.

Lao Family Community will save $3,100 each year in energy bills – that translates to 15 percent savings annually. The project included the installation of:

Programmable thermostats to regulate heating and cooling

High efficiency light-emitting-diode (LED) lighting

High efficiency windows in the community room

Power factor correction unit to reduce charges associated with inefficient uses of power

Low-cost fixes: weather stripping, caulking, reducing water temperature, insulating water pipes, installing faucet aerators and moving the only person working on the second floor to the first floor to conserve heat

In addition to the efficiency measures implemented to the building, an energy-efficiency workshop educated the center’s employees about energy conservation, recycling and waste reduction. Staff is now able to spread that information to Lao Family clients.

This effort is an example to the nonprofit segment that energy efficiency is achievable and worth the investment since capital costs are often recouped in energy savings over a short period of time. Implementing energy conservation measures reduces operating costs and those savings can be used elsewhere in the business. More details are included in this case study.The Lao Family Community of Minnesota is a nonprofit founded in 1977 dedicated to the well-being of the Hmong community in Minnesota. They offer bilingual and bicultural services. Its building, located in the Energy Innovation Corridor, was build in the 1950s.