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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

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Announcing the 2017 Fashion for a Passion Artist Lineup

Dallas-based non-profit ATG Against The Grain Productions is proud to announce its 9th Annual Fashion for a Passion Exhibiting Artists. The roster of talented Asian American artists who practice a variety of media, includes a mix of emerging, established and 2017 Against The Grain Artistic Scholarship finalists. Fashion for a Passion, which serves the organization’s mission to support and provide a platform for emerging Asian American artists, will take place Saturday, Nov. 11, at new venue sixty five hundred near Love Field Airport.

Guests of Fashion for a Passion will have the opportunity to bid on each artist’s work through a silent auction. Proceeds from the silent auction and tickets to the event will benefit ATG’s supported orphanages and underprivileged children in Asia, artistic and leadership scholarship fund and community outreach programs.

This year’s Fashion for a Passion emcees include veteran Ben Smithee (CEO of The Smithee Group and past panelist for Against The Grain’s leadership-focused event Groundbreakers Speak) and Hillary Kennedy (Emmy Award winning Host and style blogger).

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Meet Our 2017 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, November 11, at sixty five hundred near Love Field Airport. This year’s show will feature a wide variety of Asian American talent, and we are extremely excited to present these talented individuals to you all.

This year’s Fashion for a Passion emcees include veteran Ben Smithee (CEO of The Smithee Group) and Hillary Kennedy (Emmy Award winning Host and style blogger). 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 $50 to $125 and are on sale at www.AgainstTheGrainProductions.com/events/ffap.

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2017 Underprivileged Children and Orphanage Aid Fall Update: Vietnam


Going Against The Grain came from the idea that what you are born into doesn’t dictate the rest of your life. This aid expedition marked 10 years since Against The Grain’s first aid expedition. During that trip, we visited 3 orphanages and realized how little it takes to make a significant impact and change in a child’s life. Since that first trip, we have since grown to help support multiple orphanages and several underprivileged facilities across several countries. And the impact of our donations continues to help and encourage each child no matter which country they’re from.

During this Vietnam aid expedition trip, we helped over 300 underprivileged children across 21 different schools, and over 200 orphans and handicapped children. We were able to provide a year’s worth of school supplies and several months food with just $6,500 USD. $5,000 was used to cover for back-to-school needs (uniforms, backpacks, school supplies, milk) and $1,500 for the 3 orphanages we visited. With the additional help and donations from our ATG Founding Board Member/Ambassador Aivy Nguyen’s company Golin PR, she along with our much appreciated volunteers were able to spend the week with the different schools and orphanages and get to know how they’ve all progressed in the past few years since ATG’s first visit.

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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

 

Going Against The Grain: The Kinjaz

The Kinjaz are a Los Angeles based dance company formed in 2010, comprised of an all-star roster of creative directors, industry professionals and internationally renowned choreographers and instructors. They are known for their signature intricate choreography style and creative storytelling through dance and new media. The crew is extremely diverse, ranging from a wide variety of Asian ethnicities including Vietnamese and Korean as well as Caucasian, Hispanic and African American members. They were recent contestants on NBC’s World of Dance.

Website: www.kinjaz.com
Instagram/Twitter: @kinjaz
Facebook: facebook.com/thekinjaz
Youtube: youtube.com/thekinjaz

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Announcing the 2017 Fashion for a Passion Presenting Designer Line-up + Emcees

Dallas, TX — Against The Grain Productions is proud to announce the Presenting Designer line-up for its 9th Annual Fashion for a Passion charity event, which takes place Saturday, November 11th, at sixty five hundred located at 6500 Cedar Springs Road in Dallas. Handpicked by the ATG Board, these diverse young Asian American designers represent an exciting mix of influences and design aesthetics.

One of Dallas’ hottest fashion tickets and fall charity events, the evening showcases and celebrates emerging Asian American artists and musical performers. “We’re thrilled to be able to come together as a team and bring this amazing event to the community for the ninth year,” said President/Co-Founder Tammy Nguyen Lee. “To produce an evening like this takes a lot of heart, dedication and passion, and we are proud to collaborate with wonderful talent in front of and behind the scenes to make it happen, including one of very own Artistic Scholarship winners.”

Fashion for a Passion has become significant as a place to discover talent, becoming a launch pad for Asian American designers such as Khanh Nguyen of Nha Khanh, Hanh Dang of Lucy Dang and Jerry Matthews of Nine Muses, who have all gone on to notable fashion careers.

The evening includes a cocktail reception with entertainment, a silent auction/raffle, art exhibit, fashion show with live auction, tasty bites and sips and concludes with a wrap-party for guests to mix and mingle until midnight.

Proceeds from the evening’s ticket sales, silent, art and live auctions as well as support from 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 $50 to $125 and will be on sale at www.AgainstTheGrainProductions.com/events/ffap starting in September. Sponsorships are currently available by emailing fundraising@againstthegrainproductions.com.

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Meet Our 2017 ATG Heritage and Culture Camp Scholarship Contest Winners!

 

The ATG is proud to announce the 2017 Heritage and Culture Camp Scholarship Contest Winners.

Check out the winners.

 

Kaitlyn Fisher, 11, Parker, Colorado 

Against The Grain means to me, people asking questions regarding me being adopted, about my birth mom, and being Micronesian.  My life is not the same as my friends and I often times have to explain how it’s normal having an adoptive mom and a birth mom, and explain how despite I am Micronesian by ethic background, I was born in the United States. So many people think I am “from” somewhere else.

I am explain and teach people about my ethnic background and how I am really American because I was born in the United States, and how it’s okay to have both an adoptive mom and a birth mom.  I can love them both.  Attending Heritage Camp has taught me that I am not the only person adopted and have white parents.  I really am not different because there are many others just like me.

 

Madison Fisher, 11, Parker, Colorado 

Going Against The Grain means to me, doing things that other don’t expect me to do.

As a Micronesian American, I do a lot of sports and things that I don’t see other kids of my background participating in.  I have been swimming on a swim team since I was six years old and surprise people how well and how fast I swim.  Also, this year at school I tried out for Wendy in Peter Pan.  Despite I didn’t get the role, I didn’t let it stop me from trying.

 

Christian Nguyen Ebel, 11, Sulphur Bluff, Texas 

“Against The Grain” means to me, pushing it to the limit and going to the top of the mountain where there is a pot of gold, or falling to the bottom, where there is lava. It means trying your best and not giving up. It is also how you try. You have to put in a lot of effort, otherwise, it doesn’t work. If you fall in the lava, you FAIL, but in failing you learn succeeding. You learn to rethink it, to try again and to do it right. It’s like when you are progressing in life, you are becoming rich, not only in money, but rich in love and connecting with people. When you are not progressing, you are feeling depressed and sad. But you have to try, to keep going, keep moving forward. It’s like try, fail, try, fail, SUCCEED! Don’t be like everyone else, being you is right.

I went “Against The Grain” by taking an educational trip to India last year. I wanted to help the kids in the slums by raising money for them. It took a lot of trying – 3 whole months to make the campaign video. I fixed my mind on it and raised $6,000 for the trip and donated money to Manav Sadhna at the Gandhi Ashram. They serve underprivileged kids in Ahmedabad. I changed India by a small portion. I just wrote a book about my experience in India and will donate proceeds from my book to my friends’ film http://stoppingtrafficfilm.com/ to stop human trafficking.

 

Maeve Doubleday-Bush, 11, Glenwood Springs, Colorado 

Going Against The Grain means to me, that you don’t always have to fit in. You can be different from the others and you don’t have to listen to the mean things that other people are saying about you or your friends. This is not easy, but you need to trust and follow your instincts even if it is tough. You can work it out. Find a way to have fun even if others don’t want to hang out with you. You know you are doing the right thing. It really is their issue not yours.

Do the right thing and follow my instincts even when it is truly difficult. I don’t break the rules. I like to follow the rules. If the rules make no sense or seem overly strict, then rather than break the rules I will figure out a way to get them changed or make them work. Sometimes my friends and the other kids will break the rules, it doesn’t mean that I will, even if my friends are upset with me. I won’t bend to peer pressure. I don’t let my friends talk me into doing something I know is not right. Sometimes it means I have to be alone or go play with different people but I know I am doing the right thing.

 

Ian Gahagan, 10, Wales, Wisconsin

What does ‘Against The Grain’ mean to me? To me, against the grain means people should not care what heritage other people are from. It’s what’s inside that counts. If you see someone being racist, ignore them. They don’t know who you really are like the famous saying you can’t judge a book by its cover. That means you don’t know someone ’til you know them as a person, in person.

How do I go ‘Against The Grain’? How I go against the grain, is if I see someone being racist, I would say “How would you feel if someone did that to you and are you really making the right choice?” If it gets physical, use the self-defense we learned at Culture Camp. In all, go against the grain, don’t go with the crowd, but stand up for what is right.

 

Aran Balzer, 11, Aurora, Colorado

What does ‘Against The Grain’ mean to me? It means being different than other people.

How do I go ‘Against The Grain’? I can live my life according to what I think and know is right instead of worrying about what others think of me.

 

Maekhala Balzer, 9, Aurora, Colorado

What does ‘Against The Grain’ mean to me? To make a difference in the world.

How do I go ‘Against The Grain’? I can be myself.

 

Tassanee Balzer, 9, Aurora, Colorado

What does ‘Against The Grain’ mean to me? To be different in a good way

How do I go ‘Against The Grain’? I can make a difference in the world by helping people.

 

Keira Gahagan, 7, Wales, Wisconsin 

What does ‘Against The Grain’ mean to me? If people are doing something that’s not right, don’t do it and tell them they are making the wrong choice and why. If they don’t listen, I would get the adult that’s in charge and tell them that those kids are making the wrong choice.

If kids are doing something unsafe, I would tell them they should stop doing that because they could hurt themselves or trip and fall. If they don’t stop after I ask them twice, I would report it to a teacher because it was the wrong choice and it was unsafe.

How do I go ‘Against The Grain’? If someone is making fun of someone I would say “Hey, I think you’re hurting that person’s feelings. I think you should stop.” One day at school, my friend L. was having trouble pronouncing the words thirty-five. Six people were making fun of her pronouncing those words. I said “I think you are hurting her feelings. I think you should stop. I don’t think she likes it”. They didn’t stop. They kept making fun of how she was pronouncing it. My friend acted like she didn’t care and kept working. I told the teacher a few minutes later that I told them to stop, but they did not. Whenever I was around my friend L., and other kids were around her, I never heard or saw kids make fun of her for the rest of the year.

 

2017 Underprivileged Children and Orphanage Aid Spring Update: Vietnam

ATG began the year of 2017 by selecting 32 orphans from various schools of Hai Chanh District, a very poor town of Quang Tri, a war-torn province in Central Vietnam. Since Tết (Luna New Year)’s approaching, we included in the gift packages Jasmine rice, milk, and some Tet’s special sweet treats (Mứt) to help these children celebrate Tết. Each gift package cost only 405,000VND, but sure brought to these children much happiness.

In March, Mang Phan, a retired teacher and ATG volunteer in Quang Tri, worked with various school districts to select 310 students from 18 different schools for a distribution of gift packages. These students had lost one or both parents and were from “extremely poor” or “poor” classified families. Our volunteer surveyed their needs and decided upon the gift packages, which this time were comprised of school backpacks, a set of clothes for the summer, school supplies, 10kg of Jasmine rice and milk. For the 92 Kindergarten students, we provided each of them with a school backpack and a larger supply of milk instead of rice. Each gift package cost approximately 340,000VND.

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