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.