By Tnguyen

ATG to Honor Groundbreakers at 2018 Fashion for a Passion

Dallas, TX — Against The Grain Productions is proud to introduce its inaugural ‘Groundbreaker Awards,’ created to honor those who embody the spirit of ATG. These individuals were chosen for excellence in his/her chosen career path, leadership to pave the way for others, having a a servant’s heart to help and improve the lives of those around us and sharing ATG’s vision of “One Voice. Many Stories.” These awards will be presented at ATG’s 10th (and final) Fashion for a Passion charity event, which will take place on Saturday, September 22, 2018 at sixty five hundred in Dallas, Texas.

Against The Grain Productions functions as a traditional 501(c)(3) nonprofit but with a twist. In the true spirit of its name, ATG finds unconventional, innovative and entertaining ways to promote leadership, positive identity, unity and artistry in the Asian American community; promote awareness of Asian American culture; give a platform to emerging Asian American artists; and provide inspiration to the community around us to think and act “outside the box.” Over the past decade, the organization has raised hundreds of thousands for orphanages/underprivileged children, scholarships for Asian American student artists/leaders, produced an award-winning documentary (Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam) and become a platform for artists and leaders through its events. Groundbreakers Speak, a signature event, was a panel which brought together Asian American leaders from diverse disciplines together to share their inspiring journey and path to success.  “As ATG enters its next decade, we wanted to evolve and find a way to continue inspiring the community. The creation of these ‘Groundbreaker Awards’ allow us to honor shining examples of those who have bravely and selflessly served while passionately trailblazing a way in their own career,” said ATG President and Co-Founder Tammy Nguyen Lee. “You can love what you do, work hard to be successful and still remember to give back to others. That’s the ATG spirit of what we want to inspire.”

The 2018 ATG Groundbreaker Award Honorees are:

Quynh Chau Stone

Quynh Chau Stone, known to many as “QC,” is a mother, educator, entrepreneur and advocate. She is the President and Founder of The Source of Hope, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with more than seven years of service to Dallas-Ft. Worth underprivileged communities. Under Quynh Chau’s direction and leadership, The Source of Hope collects, distributes and donates food and groceries to those in need and starting over through a network of charitable organizations. The Source of Hope delivered over 1000 meals monthly to the homeless, veterans, first responders, and at risk families and actively works with partner organizations to serve the most vulnerable in the Dallas – Ft. Worth communities.

As a Vietnamese woman who has lived the majority of her life in American, Quynh Chau experienced extreme trauma and loss in Vietnam which shaped her world view.  At the age of twelve, Quynh Chau bravely escaped Vietnam with her four brothers. They were rescued and placed in a refugee camp in Malaysia after 13 days at sea. With the help of faith organizations and philanthropies working together, Quynh Chau was reunited with her father, who had already been sponsored to the United States. Quynh Chau’s unthinkable experience as a child strengthened her faith and cemented her lifelong commitment to truly give back to the country and people that helped her so much.

As an entrepreneur, Quynh Chau is a skin care rain-maker and has been working with different platforms to educate and implement skincare practices for over 20 years.  She received her formal training from international institutes such as the Matis Paris Institute in Paris, France and exclusive aesthetic skin care clinics in New York, Chicago and Dallas. Quynh Chau also manufactured a line of exclusive skincare products sold to boutique skincare clinics internationally. Through her training and certification, she continues to support and promotes new cosmetologists entering the aesthetic profession and require guidance, training and experience, frequently publishing insights and training content for professionals internationally and has helped to set up over 1000+ salons.

Quynh Chau is a media darling for the Vietnamese American community, regularly directing and producing her local television and radio show, “The Quynh Chau Show,” which covers resources for the community, political views, life skills for minorities, health & beauty insights and entrepreneurship.

Quynh Chau has won numerous awards each year for her work with the community and including
 the 2016 Women that Soar Award plus over 100+ additional recognitions for her philanthropic work with the city of Garland, Grand Prairie, Mesquite, Dallas and Ft. Worth.
 She was featured in a book written by Mirela Sula titled 50 Inspiring Voices of Migrant Women from Struggle to Success in a chapter written by Mary Ann Thompson-Frenk
.  She and The Source of Hope were celebrated at the event “Heroes of Houston,” where other organizations and individuals were recognized for the work they did in service of Hurricane Harvey.

Quynh Chau Stone is dedicated to the mission of inspiring others and serving those in need with dignity, wisdom and a generous heart. She relies on her faith and generosity of others to grow the community, sharing her story and hoping to inspire others to soar above. 


“To me, ‘Going Against The Grain’ means to not take the easy path that others have already made but to go in the direction that the Lord has chosen for me, though it may be rough and uncertain at first.”

“God has created me to be a leader. Through the trials I have faced along side my family and my friends, I have always wanted one thing, to be able to teach my girls and young men and women across the world, that to be a leader, is to help another in need of your guidance. I am honored to receive this award, as a young girl I didn’t ever think I would be “first” at anything. It always felt as if I were last, last to eat, last to learn, last to escape the life I thought I had been burdened with. But as I continued to grow, as I moved on to my life here in the US, where I got to obtain skills, and help others, I realized that I am lucky to have the life God has BLESSED me with. In receiving this award, I hope to only grow more, and to show people that no matter where they come from or who they are, they can be a leader and accomplish anything.”

Daniel Eng

Born and raised in Dallas, Texas as a Chinese American, Daniel Eng’s Chinese roots date from his great-grandfather immigrating to the U.S. in the late 1800s to build railroads in the United States. Daniel’s father, T.K. Eng., moved from Hong Kong in the mid 1950s, where he later established the real estate foundation for the Eng family.

Daniel graduated in 2001 from Franklin College Switzerland (now Franklin University Switzerland) with a B.A. in International Banking and Finance and started his career and passion in Commercial Real Estate. He has served on the Board of Trustees for his college for three years and is still active on the college’s Alumni Association. He has served as 2016 President for the AREAA DFW Chapter (Asian Real Estate Association of America), the Director for Dallas CCIM Cultural Diversity Chapter in 2011 (Certified Commercial Investment Member), the IREM Dallas Chapter Board for IYP in 2012 (Institute of Real Estate Management ), served on the City of Richardson’s Chamber of Commerce Board of Advisors in 2011-2014, 2013 National Association of Asian American Professional DFW Chapter Senior Advisory Council and is an active member at Grace Chinese Baptist Church in Plano.  Daniel maintains an office at the Offices of Legacy Chase Oaks in Plano and manages an extensive Commercial Real Estate portfolio of over 50 properties around the DFW area with about 1 million square feet of rentable space. 

Growing up watching and learning from his father, Daniel gained an interest in community service at an early age. Daniel would say that his father inspired him to “Go Against The Grain.”  Giving back to the Asian American community has always been in Daniel‘s heart. Receiving this award is an honor but he believes there are so many others that deserve this award. “I look forward to continuing to serve and inspire the next generation to ‘Go Against The Grain’ and ‘Be the Cause’ with the ATG team.” Daniel has two daughters and one son. His eldest daughter attends a faith-based private school in the DFW Area, and he hopes she will one day take over the family business and learn to serve others in need.

Nha Khanh Nguyen

Khanh Nguyen, co-founder and the Creative Director of the Nha Khanh label, has been surrounded by fashion and art throughout her life. Khanh attended the University of North Texas and obtained a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts in Fashion Design where she received numerous awards. In January 2010, the Nha Khanh label was established producing seasonal Ready-to-Wear lines, as well as, custom Atelier service to the public. Designs and manufacturing are 100% based in Dallas, Texas, while the sales and marketing PR are based in New York City. The Nha Khanh line can be found in stores like Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Stanley Karshak, Rent-the-Runway and many others around the United States. Nha Khanh’s designs have been worn by Kim Kardashian, Brooklyn Decker, Guliana Rancic, and Kelly Osbourne, to name a few. Nha Khanh has been recognized through various awards and articles written by organizations such as FGI Rising Star, D Magazine Best Woman Custom Design, Harper’s Bazaar, People, Vogue, Teen Magazine, US Weekly, Glamour, InStyle, ENews and Style Network. The company takes pride in exceptionally well-made garments and strives to push the envelope on innovation and creative, elegant designs.Nha Khanh’s designs focus on modern glamour; they are inspired by art, architecture and, most importantly, nature. The designs are ethereal, meticulously constructed and host an ease about them that allows for an effortless sensibility. The company offers seasonal “advanced contemporary” Ready-to-Wear, a custom Atelier collection (which hosts one-of-a-kind custom pieces) and a bridal line.

The Nha Khanh mission is to empower women with inner-strength through their clothing while focusing on “feminine elegance with a modern edge.” “Nha”, in Vietnamese, is a feminine word implying‘ light and elegance’, whereas “Khanh” is a masculine word, meaning ‘victory and celebration’. The fusion of the words creates a balance of unison between feminine and masculine. The collection joins lightness and softness of silhouette and fabrication with the celebration ofconstruction and classic forms. This is the fundamental philosophy and creative driving force behind the Nha Khanh label.

For Khanh, “Going Against The Grain” is “taking the road less traveled and stubbornly refusing to fit in and live life on your own terms.” When asked what receiving this award means to her, she said she is humbled, grateful and honored.  “I am humbled that I boldly followed my heart and took the road less traveled, grateful to be able to live life on my own terms and very honored to be recognized among my peers and community for this wonderful award. “

Tickets for Fashion for a Passion go on sale in August.

For sponsorship details, please contact Fundraising@againstthegrainproductions.com

For more information on the event, please visit: www.AgainstTheGrainProductions.com.

 

 

2017 Underprivileged Children and Orphanage Aid Update (Holiday): Thailand

Thanks to the help of our Ambassador, Nong Thangsaksathit, ATG was able to finish our final disbursement for the year to Thaplamu Safe Haven and Learning Center in the Phang-Nga province in southern Thailand. We were able to provide aid to 71 children from the ages of 3-10 years old. Aid was given in the form of clothes, nutritious food for school staff to prepare school lunch, milk, drinking water, supplementary food for small children, first aid kits and learning materials (stationary, textbooks, etc).

Nong’s report:

The pre-school in Thaplamu provide day-care and early education opportunity for undocumented Myanmar migrant children in Thaplamu district in Phang-Nga province. It is estimated that at least 10% (4 to 5 million people) of the Thai workforce are migrants, the majority coming from Myanmar. Myanmar migrants often bring their families with them and sadly, many children have been left behind when their parents get arrested and deported. Thai policy allows migrant children equal access to compulsory education; however, in most instances, migrant children are discriminated against in the Thai education system (mainly due to language barrier) and many parents cannot afford to enroll their children due to their economic difficulties. Most parents are working in fishing and construction sectors. The school depends on workers’ charity and partially parents’ contribution which are insufficient and not sustainable to even cover basic service. Children don’t have enough books and stationary for study. The school doesn’t have a proper classroom and in some months the school cannot afford to provide milk or lunch to children (in which normally children spare some lunch from school for their own dinner at home). This pre-school does not only provide education but also protection to the children as they will be very vulnerable at home when their parents are at work.

The kids were very happy and teachers and parents highly appreciated support from ATG. There was a little conversation, which I think it was cute and would like to share. We told children a bit about ATG in a very simple way, like they also helped other children in other countries… and there was a little girl said “now I know who ATG are; they are kind people from the other side of the sky.” 

2017 Underprivileged Children and Orphanage Aid Fall Update: Thailand

Many thanks to our Aid Advisor (Thailand) Lisa Tran and our volunteer Nong Sasinapa, ATG was able to deliver an aid mission with heart and “vision” to aid many underprivileged children in Phob Phra district, Tak province of Thailand. Through Nong’s research and assistance, we purchased 49,350 BAHT (approx. USD $1,495) for 141 eye-glass frames for 141 children.
Phob Phra Hospital estimates that approximately 10% of children in Phob Phra District have vision problems. This district is far from the city and most people are minorities without Thai citizenship, hindering them access to government facilities and social welfare. Due to the lack of accessibility for parents to provide glasses for their children, those with vision problems cannot live and learn properly. Many of them are reportedly to be intellectually underdeveloped. Most students in the Thoo Mhew Khee Learning Center are Burmese refugees who stay in Prob Phra District without proper civil registration. Many students with vision problems do not have eyeglasses, and this mission provided eyeglasses to enable these students with eye or vision problems to have a better quality of life.

For the 2017–2018 academic year, a total of 141 students received vision checks and eye glasses. The glass frames were purchased by ATG. The lenses and technical support (Optometrist, optician and eye examination devices) were provided free of charge by Thai Glass Center and the Thai Health Promotion Center.

It is with your support that we can continue to improve the lives of underprivileged children and give them hope of a brighter future. Please continue to support our cause by donating.

Join the 2018 ATG Tribe

Professional. Committed. Passionate. Great Time Management. Excellent follow through. Mature. Resourceful. Creative. ATG Attitude. #beCAUSE

Are you looking to make a difference? Want to get more involved with the community? Want to make amazing friends, have life changing experiences and feed your soul? As we gear up for an important year ahead and a return to our production roots with a new documentary, ATG is currently recruiting skilled, enthusiastic, dedicated, disciplined and experienced leaders who have the necessary time to join our 2018 ATG Tribe and Host Committee of 2018 Fashion for a Passion X!

APPLICATIONS ARE DUE FRIDAY, DECEMBER 15th!

DOWNLOAD THE 2018 ATG TRIBE APPLICATION

Read more

2017 Underprivileged Children and Orphanage Aid Update: Cambodia

Thanks to our country advisor, Thear Suzuki, her parents and family in Cambodia, ATG was able to disburse aid to 164 orphans, each child receiving fish sauce, soy sauce, sardines, noodles and 11.42 kg of rice.

Thear reported:

Dear Tammy and ATG Team,

I appreciate the hard work of the ATG team and volunteers to raise funds to assist orphans in Southeast Asia. It is without a doubt a labor of love. In 2017, ATG’s budget of $3,000 enabled our on the ground volunteers to distribute food items to 164 children across 16 small churches in 5 different provinces and remote villages. Every year, for the past 3 years, we have been able to assist more children. These children live with grandparents and relatives. They have very little means, lacking basic needs such as food, school supplies and clothes. Aid from ATG is the only source of support for these children. To date, we have only provided food supplies. In the future, it would be helpful to also provide them with school supplies and clothes. The support we are able to provide means the world to them. The children very happy and grateful to receive help from ATG. Because of ATG they experience kindness from strangers.

I am reminded of Luke 12:48, “For of those to whom much is given, much is required.” It is clear that members of the ATG community live by this teaching…using your talents, time and wealth to benefit others. Furthermore, you are spreading this message through your actions, both in the US and across the world. We would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to the leadership of the ATG Board, volunteers and donors for giving so generously of time, energy and financial resources without expecting anything in return.

In service Together,

Thear and volunteers in Cambodia

 

Orphanage and Underprivileged Children Aid: Vietnam

Throughout the month of December 2016, with the coordinated efforts of our advisor to Vietnam, Mrs. Aileen Nguyen, and our dedicated volunteers on the ground, ATG distributed gift packages to 246 students from six schools who are orphans and/or from poverty in Dien Ban, Quang Nam and Da Nang, Vietnam. Packages included a winter jacket, milk and a year of school supplies. From this group of these children, we selected six of the most needy and awarded them with new bicycles to help them get to school. Transportation to school is one of the biggest barriers to overcome for these children, something that is often taken for granted here in the United States.

In addition, we purchased groceries for Ưu Đàm, an orphanage that cares for approximately 50 children in the poor district of Phu My outside Hue.

 

We thank you for your generous support in our mission to help these children in need and allowing us to make a direct impact in their lives and futures. If you would like to donate to help our cause, please donate here.

 

Orphanage and Underprivileged Children Aid Update: Thailand

Thanks to our aid advisor to Thailand, Lisa Tran, and our ambassador Yui Yud, ATG was able to make a small disbursement of $550 in aid over the Christmas holidays to The Mercy Center, which is located in central Bangkok, Thailand in an area called Klong Toey, an area which is synonymous to the large slum community that lives here. According to a report done by Borgen magazine in 2014, the area is “one of the country’s 5,500 slum communities, covers an area of around a square mile and is home to around 100,000 people.” (http://www.borgenmagazine.com/bangkoks-klong-toey-slum/)

“Around 20 percent of Bangkok’s residents live in illegal squatter settlements all around the city. Dating back from the 1950s, Klong Toey is one of the country’s oldest and most well-known slums. Many inhabitants of Klong Toey originate from the country’s poorer northeast who have been attracted by the work opportunities of the district’s river port, Bangkok’s largest wet market, the business district as well as the oil refineries in nearby districts. Aside from poverty, drug addiction is a very pressing problem among the slum’s youth. Methamphetamine and crystal methamphetamine are the two most common hard drugs. Furthermore, basic amenities such as water and electricity are always in short supply.

In Klong Toey, an average household earns only around half of the national average and only around one-third of the income an average Bangkok household. Moreover, the living condition within the slum is also truly appalling. Against the backdrop of the intense and humid tropical heat of over-urbanized Bangkok accompanied with the putrefying odor of the city’s sewage system, the residents of Klong Toey experience murders, abuse, petty and serious crimes, drug addictions, unmanaged waste, unemployment and grinding poverty on a regular basis. Garbage and undrained sewage clogging litter the slum community and elderly and people with disabilities sitting in front of their makeshift tin shack houses.

As many inhabitants lack the skills and the recognized qualifications necessary to achieve social mobility, breaking away from the vicious cycle of poverty is incredibly difficult. To make matters worse, in Thailand—one of the global centers of human trafficking and sex trade—many residents of Klong Toey find their livelihood in the informal sector, some of which are illicit.

In Thailand, it is estimated that a third of the country’s working age population work in the informal sector, an umbrella category that includes everything from black market illegal businesses to selling garlands and street food.This means that a large part of country’s working population do not have any retirement plans, health insurance or any other social benefits. It is also estimated that 2.5 million children in Thailand are absent from school. Certainly social welfare and human development concerns are among the some of the most pressing issues of the country. Nevertheless, with Thailand’s “larger” political and economic problems, these “smaller” issues are hardly discussed and many urbanites are unaware of their existence.”

Read more: http://www.timetravelturtle.com/2013/01/klong-toey-slum-bangkok-helping-hands/

The Mercy Center’s Mission:

We work to help the children and communities of the many slums of Bangkok. Together with our neighbors in the slums we create simple-but-progressive solutions that touch the lives of thousands of the poor every day. We build and operate schools, improve family health and welfare, protect street children’s rights, combat the AIDS crisis, respond to daily emergencies, and offer shelter to orphans, to street children, and to children and adults with AIDS – always together, hand in hand and heart to heart with the people we serve.

As reported by Yui Yud: “After a number of phone calls with the staff at the Mercy Center, I found them to be very dedicated in their mission to help promote education to unfortunate children. They have set up their main office/home in the center of the Klong Toey slums which provides a home to around 200 children aged 3-18. This center also has a significant education center, with many classrooms, an art room, computer room, nursing station and a cafeteria. The education facility is provided for the children that live in the home, as well as other slum kids in the area whom are unable to afford outside education. Apart from the center at this location, they have up to 23 centers around the country which provide basic education for up to 3000 children between the age of 2-6. Many of the children whom come to their schools are not orphans, but families whom can’t afford education. Another interesting program they have is called Construction Camp. The concept is like a mobile school van which visits children at construction sites. Generally, these are migrant families from Cambodia and Myanmar whom come to find more income and bring their children along. Rather than having the children run around the construction sites all day, these vans visit the sites with teachers and provide the kids with some learning tools for the day. There are currently 9 camps at the moment.”

 

 

 

 

 

There are also many other programs that are run by the Mercy Center:

  • Janusz Korczak School of S.E. Asia – a non-formal school for street children
  • Legal Aid Centre for poor children
  • A community drop-in center for the elderly, the handicapped, adults living with HIV, children in trouble or afraid, anyone in need.
  • School Sponsorships. Over 500 primary and secondary school sponsorships for the poorest neighborhood children in Bangkok
  • Hospice Team for home visits to children and adults living with HIV
  • And many others (visit: http://www.mercycentre.org/en/home/programs-at-a-glance)

Thank you to Lisa, Yui and to you for your generous donations so we can continue this important work. Please continue to donate to our cause here. 

Join the 2017 ATG Tribe – Applications due Fri Dec 9th

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Professional. Committed. Passionate. Great Time Management. Excellent follow through. Mature. Resourceful. Creative. ATG Attitude. #beCAUSE

Are you looking to make a difference? Want to get more involved with the community? Want to make amazing friends, have life changing experiences and feed your soul? As we gear up for an important year ahead and a return to our production roots with a new documentary, ATG is currently recruiting skilled, enthusiastic, dedicated, disciplined and experienced leaders who have the necessary time to join our 2017 ATG Tribe!

APPLICATIONS ARE DUE FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9!

DOWNLOAD THE 2017 ATG TRIBE APPLICATION

Read more

Vietnamese Orphanage/Underprivileged Children Aid Report

With your generous support, ATG is proudly able to send aid for basic needs in the form of food, clothing, medicine, recreational toys, and cultural celebrations to nourish their body, mind and spirit of these children in need. With the help of the local “Education Promotion Association (Hội Khuyến Học) and the local school districts, we now identify underprivileged children who demonstrate academic merit, rewarding them with books, rice, school supplies and bicycles to invest in their education so they can have a future. #beCAUSE

Many thanks to ATG’s Advisor Aileen Nguyen and our hard working volunteers on the ground who visited five orphanages/organizations and helped give words of encouragement and distributed study awards (clothes, shoes, backpacks), food, hot meals, mattresses and rice to 335 orphans and children with disabilities.

We provided aid to the following orphanages/organizations:
  • Ưu Đàm (Huế) –  60 children
  • Street Children Program of Da Nang (SCP-DN) Houses #2 and #3 – 63 children
  • Quan Chau orphanage (Da Nang) – 120 children
  • Huong Duong (Tam Ky) Center for the Blind and with Down’s Syndrome – 22 children
  • Thanh Tam Center for Disabled Children (Da Nang) – 70 children

The children will go back to school within the next week.  We have selected and will start to distribute more aid according to our program “Giúp Em Đến Trường” (Helping You to School) for underprivileged children (orphans, children who have lost one parents, those with disabled parents and those from extremely poor families).  We will distribute rice, clothes, school books and/or bicycles to those who do not have one and live far from school. If you would like to help and support this important cause, please donate today.

Check out some of the highlights from our last disbursement trip below and see the rest on our FB page.

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