By Renae Virata

Going Against The Grain: Hoang-Kim Cung


Hoang-Kim Cung is a reporter and fill-in anchor at WTKR News 3, a CBS affiliate in the Virginia Beach area. She is a former Miss Nebraska USA and was the first Vietnamese-American woman to compete at Miss USA in 2015. When she’s not reporting in the newsroom, she’s working on her fashion & lifestyle blog colorandchic.com. She believes in helping men and women find clothes they feel confident and powerful in and living an elevated, positive lifestyle. At WTKR News 3, Hoang-Kim has been able to affect change through her stories. She also had the honor of flying in an F/A 18 Hornet with the U.S. Navy Blue Angels. She is also passionate about raising money for wounded South Vietnamese Veterans living in communist Vietnam.

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Going Against The Grain: Andrew D. Nguyen

Like all kids that enjoy dancing, Andrew D. Nguyen started by learning from music videos at home and with his friends. At the time, he was not aware with many other genres of dancing or that being a dancer would be a possible career path for him. In 2007, he saw dance team Wyldstyl perform at a date auction event and immediately became interested.

He later on eventually auditioned and became a member of Wyldstyl himself. From there after many years of training and being on the team, he built his way up to be director and opened up Soundbox Studios, a place for anyone with the desire to dance.

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2016 Underprivileged Children and Orphanage Aid Fall Update: Vietnam

by ATG Advisor to Vietnam Aileen Nguyen

ATG continues our mission to help students from extremely disadvantaged families to go to school. This time, we prepared and distributed 246 sets of gifts comprised of a winter jacket, a school uniform set, and school supplies for this school year to students from Quang Tri Province, a war-torn town 160 km north of Da Nang.

During the Vietnam War, many fierce battles happened here in Quang Tri. Thus, the province infrastructure was destroyed, and most of its people fled town to safety. After the war ended, though people have started to come back, there is still much to rebuild. Students mostly go to schools in old rundown buildings with no heat or A/C. The weather of Quang Tri is bitter cold in the winter and extremely hot in the summer.

Most of the students cannot afford warm clothes, uniforms, or even school supplies.
Our volunteer Mãng, who is my cousin and a retired teacher, recognized that most of these poor students have only ever worn hand-me-down clothing. Thus she took time to have each child measured to ensure that their new uniforms and jackets would fit them.

To make the distributions to various schools of Quang Tri, my cousin and her husband had to travel to various schools, often via small roads crossing the rice fields. One time, her motorcycle broke down and had to be pulled with chains. However, the rewards for our volunteers’ efforts were the smiles on the children’s faces when they received the gifts and got to try on the new jackets.

Some of them will wear their first ever brand new uniform. Each set of a gift of a jacket, uniform, and a year’s worth of school supplies cost approximately $16, an equivalent of a fancy cocktail drink in the U.S. However, this gift brings so much hope and happiness to these children and their teachers, too.

We are thankful for our volunteers, Mãng and her husband Hung, who have helped extend the arms of ATG to bring gifts to the students of the Quang Tri province. We also appreciate the ATG team members, friends and supporters whose continuous support has made these trips possible!

Going Against The Grain: Sarah Bryan Hickey

Sarah Bryan Hickey

Speech Language Pathology Assistant Sarah Bryan Hickey is a 20-something from Dallas, Texas, living out her lifelong dream of being an artist. She’s always had a passion to create, make people smile, and leave a lasting impression. This season, she has been blessed with the flexibility to work in a pediatric home health setting as well as do the very thing she loves: painting.

For Sarah, her art is slowly evolving as she continues to explore the media of acrylics. Each abstract piece stems from scripture, which is the foundation of each painting. Her desire is to illuminate God’s already impressionable word with color and movement. She also wants to paint with a purpose. For every painting she sells, a portion goes towards feeding the poor in third-world parts of the Philippines through the nonprofit organization Compassion for Asia.

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Meet Our 2016 ATG Scholarship Winners!

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The ATG Scholarship Committee is proud to announce the 2016 Scholarship Winners. Scored based on strength of GPA, leadership/community involvement, portfolio/video submission, essays, letters of recommendation and a final phone interview, we chose nine students who are brilliant, shining examples of what it means to go Against The Grain. We are truly proud of this exceptional group and all that we know they will accomplish for their vocation and for the Asian American community in the future. Special thanks to Ambassador Gauthami Vemula for providing the additional Power of Me Scholarship.

Check out the winners’ thank you videos on YouTube.

And the winners are:

ATG Artistic Scholarship

  • Angeline Young
  • Michelle Kim
  • Kiana Ziegler
  • Tan Vu

Groundbreaker Leadership Scholarship

  • Nicci Kelly
  • Ben Chu
  • Ishan Sharma
  • Kristina Nguyen

#LiveLikeLyly Memorial Scholarship

  • Hsin-Roe Pan

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Going Against The Grain: Ayden Nguyen

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Ayden Nguyen is a 7 year-old dancer, actor and model from Garland, Texas. From a very young age, Ayden has always been a natural performer, entertainer and lover of dance. Those characteristics have launched him onto a path that leads directly into the entertainment industry. He enjoys all aspects of performing and juggles a pretty hectic schedule of school, photo shoots, casting calls/auditions, rehearsals, soccer and dance training.

He has been in several print ad campaigns for department stores such as Belk, JCPenney, and Neiman Marcus. He has also been featured in various industry videos for Chuck E. Cheese and Hasbro. His main passion is dance, hip-hop specifically, and has trained with some of the best choreographers in the world – even had the opportunity to dance on stage with Justin Bieber.

Ultimately, he’s just a little boy, with very big dreams. Follow Ayden on his journey, to make his dreams come true. Against The Grain had the privilege of featuring young Ayden at Fashion for a Passion this year. Stay tuned for our highlight video to watch his moves in action! Read more

Celebrating Asian American Talent for a Cause at ATG’s 8th Annual Fashion for a Passion

Photo | Dr. Jarvis Jacobs
Photo | Dr. Jarvis Jacobs

Nov. 7, 2016 (DALLAS) – Fashion for a Passion presented by Audi Dallas gave guests from all over the Dallas community a fresh take on Asian American fashion, music and art at its 8th annual event on Oct. 29 at new venue sixty five hundred. Through sponsorships, ticket sales, live and silent auctions, a raffle and additional donations, more than 350 glamorous guests gathered together to raise more than $26,000 net, all of which benefit the mission of Against The Grain Productions, a Dallas-based non-profit, with its supported orphanages and underprivileged children in Asia, scholarship fund and community outreach programs for 2017.

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Orphanage and Underprivileged Children Aid Update: The Philippines

ATG was able to provide $2,100 to support underprivileged children in the Philippines recently with the remaining $900 still in process of being disbursed. Thanks to the help of ATG Co-Director of Programming/Events Jennifer Devany’s family and family friends, 100 kids in the province of Buhi Camarines Sur were so humbled and grateful to have received an abundance of items to meet their basic needs. The following items were provided to the children:

         – School supplies such as bag packs, notebooks, pens/pencils, note pads
         – Toiletries such as toothbrushes, shampoo/conditioner
         – Clothing such as slippers, t-shirts and shorts, raincoat, umbrellas
         – Food such as noodles, sardines and milk

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“There is a family of 10 children raised only by a mother. The youngest of the children has developed sclerosis. The children do not know what happened to the father,” said Cherry Rose Nachos, Jennifer’s cousin, who has been a tremendous help to distributing these items to the underprivileged children. Cherry Rose interviewed a seven year-old child who has three siblings and who are all being taken care of by their grandparents. She, too, does not know what happened to their parents. She can barely speak as she holds back tears when asked where her parents. Many thanks to your donations to help underprivileged children in need for our second disbursement to the Philippines.

 

Meet Our 2016 Fashion for a Passion Performers

Dallas-based nonprofit Against The Grain Productions is proud to announce the lineup of performers for their eighth annual Fashion for a Passion charity event on Saturday, Oct. 29, at sixty five hundred near Love Field Airport. This year’s show will feature a wide variety of Asian American talent, including two youth acts, an emerging local singer and the return of last year’s popular violin sensation Yut and The Hot Four.

“Every year, our lineup of talented performers just gets better and better,” said Against The Grain President Tammy Nguyen Lee. “We are excited to change it up with the addition of seven-year-old hip hop dancer Ayden Nguyen and the musical stylings of adorable pop singers The Sun and Stars, one of whom is the daughter of Chef Uno Immanivong of Chino Chinatown, who will be catering our event with delicious vegan-friendly fare.”

This year’s Fashion for a Passion emcees include veteran Ben Smithee (CEO of The Smithee Group) and Dr. Diana Tran-Yu (former Ms. Asia Houston), both past panelists for ATG’s other signature event Groundbreakers Speak: A Conversation with Asian American Movers and Shakers. The evening includes a fashion show with live auction, raffle, art exhibit, tasty bites and sips and will again conclude with an extended wrap party for guests, artists and volunteers to mix and mingle until midnight.

Proceeds from the evening’s ticket sales, art and lives auctions as well as generous sponsors benefit ATG’s supported orphanages and underprivileged children in Asia, scholarships for student artists and leaders and community outreach programs in the U.S. to inspire, educate and entertain the community.

General Admission and VIP Reserved Tickets range from $65 to $125 and are on sale at www.AgainstTheGrainProductions.com/events/ffap until Oct. 28.

The 8th Annual Fashion for a Passion Musical Talent Line-Up:

Ayden NguyenAyden Nguyen

Ayden Nguyen is a seven-year-old dancer, actor and model from Garland, Texas. From a very young age, Ayden has always been a natural performer, entertainer and lover of dance. Those characteristics have launched him onto a path that leads directly into the entertainment industry. He enjoys all aspects of performing and juggles a pretty hectic schedule of school, photo shoots, casting calls and auditions, rehearsals, soccer and dance training. He has been in several print ad campaigns for department stores such as Belk, JCPenney and Neiman Marcus. He has also been featured in various industry videos for Chuck E. Cheese and Hasbro. His main passion is dance, hip-hop specifically, and he has trained with some of the best choreographers in the world – even having the opportunity to dance on stage with Justin Bieber.

Ultimately, he’s just a little boy with very big dreams.  Follow Ayden on his journey, to make his dreams come true.

Instagram | @ayden_nguyen
Facebook | aydentnguyen
YouTube | AydensDanceChannel
About 6 year old Ayden Nguyen (Jan 2016)


a2367410437_10Mijee Park

Mijee Park is a Korean American singer-songwriter based out of Richardson, Texas. With a mother who played piano and a father who played guitar, it only made sense for Mijee to pick up and learn from her parents. As a little girl, she sang and jammed out with her parents, started writing her own music and performing at her church choir. At 15, Mijee started working with producer Sang Ham at UG Productions, eventually performing alongside artists such as Joseph Vincent and Decipher. Outside of music, she is working on a nursing degree at the University of Texas at Austin.


The Sun and Stars

The Sun and Stars

This young band was created when two best friends Ryan Fox and Emma Immanivong came together to share their love for music. Inspired by the movie “Pitch Perfect”, the girls started harmonizing and mashing up popular songs. This led them to write their own music and discover their own distinct style. Through the encouragement of friends and family, they are now performing at various events and mainstream venues. Check out their performance here: http://youtu.be/V1VKSPfDYuE .

#sunandstarsband #youngandtalented #kidscandoanything


Jessica KimJessica Kim

Jessica Kim is a registered nurse living in Dallas, Texas, who is currently pursuing her Masters in Nursing. She is passionate about promoting health and wellness and enjoys working out and singing in her free time. This is the first year she has actively pursued her singing career and is excited to be a part of the ATG family! Feel free to follow and support her on Instagram | Jellykimbeans.

Yut - Photo

Yut Chia

Yut Chia is a Colombian violinist of Chinese descent, who came to New York City at the age of three in pursuit of the American Dream. As a young child, he was inspired by classical music that he heard and had always wanted to play the violin. However, despite a lifelong interest in the violin, he did not have the opportunity to start playing till the age of 12.

Chia began his classical training and eventually attended Queens College with full scholarship, under mentorship from renowned professors including Daniel Philips (The Orion String Quartet). His hard work and talent paid off. Chia started to make a name for himself through playing in the subways. He gained recognition as an up and coming violinist to watch through numerous major media outlets including The New York Daily News, The New York Times and the front page of aol.com.

As leader and founder,  Chia was inspired to form Yut and the Hot Four because he wanted to entertain people and to reach new audiences.

About ATG Against The Grain Productions, Inc.

ATG Against The Grain Productions, a Dallas-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, promotes Asian American cultural awareness through compelling media projects and raises funds for international orphanages and underprivileged children. In addition to hosting outreach events, it also awards annual scholarships to exemplary Asian American student artists and leaders. ATG produced the feature documentary, Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam, which has screened at more than a dozen film festivals nationwide and received the Audience Choice Award for Best Feature Film at the Vietnamese International Film Festival and the Documentary Audience Choice Award from the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival. For more information, visit www.AgainstTheGrainProductions.com or www.TheBabylift.com.

#ATGProds   #FFAP2016   #beCAUSE

www.AgainstTheGrainProductions.com/Events/FFAP

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