#WeValue Huong Viet Community Center

Every time, I remind my students when they come to school, who they are learning for? Are they learning for me? Are they learning for their parents? No, they learn for themselves. So, Huong Viet is a community center. Our main program right now is our Vietnamese
school. We teach kids from 4 to 4.5 all the way to
18, and we also accept adults. When I was growing up, my parents wanted me to concentrate on English. I didn’t really know Vietnamese. And then only when I was in college, I started to take Vietnamese classes. I participated in this tutorial program mainly for recent immigrants. We would collaborate with Huong Viet to use their classrooms. Huong Viet wanted someone to help takeover
their Vietnamese language school. So I started in 1998, becoming their Principal. At the beginning, I had a lot of young teachers. As the years go by, of course, young people
start families. They start to have careers so they have
less time to devote to volunteering every Saturday. We started to advertise and also recruit from friends of friends to come and help with Huong Viet. I first knew of Huong Viet from my son. He participated in Huong Viet before and asked
“Do you want to help? I have a teacher resigning.” I replied “Ok, no problem. Let me help!” At the beginning, I thought I would only help
out temporarily. But I stayed at Huong Viet until now because I
love it! We ended up with retired women mainly. There were some retired men through the years. They weren’t that great as teachers and eventually
they left. But right now, most of our teachers, actually,
all of our teachers are women – mainly retired women who just want to give back and teach
kids Vietnamese. With my conscience as I think of a student when they come
to the school, I have to be a kind mother. Then, I teach them about their Vietnamese
origins and how we value education and politeness. I have to teach them that. Watching these kids growing to young adults, it’s very rewarding because they become my friends and vice versa. And we kinda built a community,
or a family, I would say that is strong and that we can rely on. We have a core group of people who are really
devoted – who want to see Huong Viet grow. I’ve seen kids who are 5 years old all the
way to their colleges and they’ve been with Huong Viet all that time. I see them growing up as adults, coming back
to Huong Viet and helping Huong Viet out. When they do come back, we have more volunteers. We have more people who are more dedicated
to growing Huong Viet. That’s the greatest thing about Huong Viet
as a community center and as a family. I treat them like a tree. I grow them like seeds as children I teach them easy words to remember Then it’s as if I fertilize them with water, these trees will slowly grow. That’s my commitment to make sure my students
have a brighter future.

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