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

 

2017 Underprivileged Children and Orphanage Aid Update: The Philippines

Thanks to the help of ATG Ambassador (Aid – Philippines) Jennifer Devany and her family, ATG was able to disburse a total of $2,900 to two orphanages: Missionaries of the Poor and Missionaries of Charity, and to the less fortunate children at the school of Ipil. 83 children have received an abundance of items to meet their basic needs.

At Missionaries of Charity in Naga City, we were able to provide the 25 children at the orphanage school supplies, diapers, clothes, formula, dried goods, and toiletries.

 

The 20 children residing at Missionaries of the Poor were provided formula, dried goods, diapers, clothes, and toiletries. ATG Ambassador Jennifer Devany reports,

“Brother Johnson would not allow me to take pictures with the kids; instead I was able to take pictures of the disbursement with the assistance of my family and one of the brothers of the missionary.  He also allowed me to take a picture with him in front of the orphanage and with another with a boy playing outside who had deformities. Brother Johnson was overjoyed and beyond thankful for our generosity.  He provided me with Father Lawrence L. Mendoza, who is the superior orphanage, in order to obtain approval to take pictures for if/when we return.”

The following week, Jennifer and her family took a boat across Buhi Lake and provided for underprivileged children at Ipil Elementary School.

“The week before, I went to the school and interviewed 36 students who were either being taken care of by one parent, their grandmother, or by themselves. This was a very touching experience, filled with tears.  When we arrived, the whole village helped bring boxes off the boat. They opened their church doors to us to assemble the goods, and they also helped with our assembly line.  We provided for 2 infants, 11 boys and 25 girls, ranging from 2-13 years old. Each one of these kids had tear jerking stories. One of the boys we had interviewed was very sick with a fever that day we disbursed, but he and his grandmother still managed to walk down to the church from the mountain top. Another child was 12 years old, providing for herself and two other sisters in their own home.  Their grandmother was up the mountain from where they lived to assist. The children, however, lived on their own with no parents. There were two boys who were being taken care of solely by their father due to their mother and newborn having passed away during childbirth. Stories like these are extremely humbling and help me appreciate what we have in the US. It helps me appreciate being a part of ATG; we can do our part in touching the lives of these less fortunate children so they may have a better future.”

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.

 

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.

 

Going Against The Grain: Shirley Chung

photography by Albert Law : www.porkbellystudio.com

Born and raised in Beijing China, Chef Shirley Chung was exposed to international cuisine at an early age by her grandmother, Liang Si Yi, former Director of The Red Cross in China. Shirley immigrated to America at age 17 for college and worked in Silicon Valley for a few years after graduating. Shirley decided to follow her passion for food so she left her career in high tech behind and enrolled in California Culinary Academy San Francisco. She is trained in classic French and Italian cuisine, worked and opened restaurants for Thomas Keller, Guy Savoy and Mario Batali.

After she opened CarneVino as Chef de Cuisine for BBHG, CarneVino earned multiple awards for Best Steak House internationally. Prior to being a finalist on season 11 of “Top Chef” in New Orleans, she held the Executive Chef Position at China Poblano, by Jose Andres, which was nominated for the Best New Restaurant Award by the James Beard Foundation in 2011. While working at China Poblano, she fell in love with Mexican cuisine and learned more about her own heritage. In 2014, Shirley opened her restaurant in Orange County, Twenty Eight, featuring modern Chinese cuisine. Recently, Shirley has been competing on season 14 of BravoTV’s Top Chef. She used this opportunity to showcase her Chinese American Cuisine during the competition and she was rewarded by being named the runner up of Top Chef. Shirley is currently working on opening her next concept in Los Angeles. Steamers Co. is a fast-casual counter service seafood driven restaurant with an oyster bar.

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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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Going Against The Grain: Daniel Eng

Daniel C. Eng is an owner of several real estate brokerages and commercial investment shopping centers in the DFW market as well as an ATG 2017 Year-Round sponsor, community activist/leader, and father of two children. For the past few years, he has been and still is a great supporter of ATG, and for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month we would like to highlight this extraordinary individual who knows what it means to give and exemplifies #beCAUSE.

Born and raised in Dallas, Texas as a Chinese American, his family roots date back from Chinese immigrants since the late 1800’s when his great-grand father came to build railroads in the US. Daniel’s father, T.K. Eng immigrated from Hong Kong in the mid 1950’s where he later on established the real estate foundation for the Eng family. Growing up watching and learning from his father, Daniel gained an interest in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage & Management at an early age. 

 

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Going Against The Grain: Steve Hyun

Steve Hyun is the President & CEO of Siva Group & SIVA Select, entrepreneur, leader & mentor. Siva Group is a full service entertainment and talent agency that specializes in event marketing, tour management and production, and concert promotion, working with artists from the US, Korea, and Japan. SIVA offers services in event marketing; tour management and production; tour booking; publicity; sponsorship acquisition; fan engagement; viral marketing; grassroots marketing; experiential marketing, and more.

Steve ensures that through his company, he is able build relationships with fans through direct-to-fan marketing and engagement that generates excitement and sales and keeps them talking for days and weeks before an event. He hopes to close the physical barrier fans usually have with artists from Korea and Japan by bringing live concert performances from Asia to the West.

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