Since Mai Du arrived in Boston on Halloween of 1984, her life has been full of accomplishments born of hard work, commitment to moral values, a sense of social responsibility, and the gusto to be the change.
Best known in Malden as Sifu Mai Du, she is the founder of the Wah Lum Kung Fu and Tai Chi Academy of Malden. For Du, the school was not just a business but a “platform for community building,” or as she also said, “When I opened the school it was a place for me to build a bigger family.” The love and hard work she has put in has paid off in many ways. The school was voted Malden’s favorite martial arts academy for eight years and recent grand champion of the 2015 U.S. International Kuo Shu Federation Championship Tournament in Baltimore.
After earning a Masters in Education at Tufts, Mai served in high profile roles for the American Red Cross and YWCA. She is also a franchisee and instructor of the Kumon Math and Reading Center of Medford. One of the highlights of her work at the Red Cross, was her development and direction of a National Award-winning Youth Leadership in Service Program . She was also one of twelve Voting Delegates of the YWCA of the U.S.A. at the YWCA World Delegate Council Meeting in Nairobi, Kenya.
Mai has launched numerous advocacy groups and coalitions, for example the Coalition for Asian Pacific American Youth (CAPAY) and most recently the Greater Malden Asian American Community Coalition. These groups typically advocate for changes and empower youth in a variety of ways, often inspiring collaboration across racial, religious, ethnic, cultural, demographic, age, and regional divides. She has also facilitated youth-directed discussions along themes such as “Black Lives Matter.”
In 2015, Mai received the “Woman Making a Difference Award” from Zonta International and also received a citation from Baltimore County, Maryland for promoting Chinese Martial Arts, but the accolades that really say it all are from her students.