May 6, 2015

Finding Community

My family emigrated to the U.S. as refugees from Cambodia. Like many refugee families, my parents had a difficult time adjusting to a new life in America. Back home, they were living in dire poverty, mentally broken down by the Khmer Rouge and losing 4 children, all under the age of 5. My family and I were always in survival mode and never had the privilege to plan our lives.

Since I was 10 years old, I had to work odd jobs such as picking berries, selling clams and cleaning restaurants just to name a few. Working was not a choice, but a necessity. I was so fortunate to stumble onto APANO. I felt at home here and people understand me without me having to explain myself. I was a board member for APANO for the last five years. Because of this experience, I now have the confidence and belief in my abilities that I never had before. I am extremely passionate about getting our underrepresented communities involved in civic engagement and want to shed light on the many beautiful stories that we bring.

Read more stories from AAPI Heritage Month here.