Stories from Clients and Volunteers
Meet Ms. Thanh
Thanh previously lived in south Vietnam and came to Seattle with her whole family through a humanitarian program. Through Helping Link, Thanh says she has learnt how to adjust “from one place to another.” The changes in her life “make me happy,” she says.
Thanh enjoys Helping Link’s iPad class. She looks forward to learning how to use a camera and possibly going on a field trip with her fellow Technology program classmates.
Phu lived in Thua Thien, Vietnam, before moving to the United States. He is a returning client with Helping Link and says the organization has helped him find happiness as a senior citizen. He believes Helping Link positively impacts the city by bridging together generations of Vietnamese people. “Helping Link helps the Vietnamese community maintain the Vietnamese culture,” says Phu. “Youth classes pass Vietnamese culture to the next generation.”
Sabrina is a volunteer for Helping Link’s Youth Tutoring program. When asked how the organization makes an impact on her life, she says, “It allows me to combine my passion for volunteering and interest in education in order to make a positive contribution to the lives of the students in our community. I love working with each my students and seeing them take an active interest in what they are learning. There are few things more rewarding than seeing the impact of my time with the kids and seeing their improvement by the end of each quarter.”
Meet Minh Huong
Minh Huong is a Helping Link client who came to the United States with her family as refugees from Saigon. She is participating in Helping Link’s Technology program and enjoys using her iPad. Of her experience with Helping Link, Minh Huong says the organization helps her connect with the local community.
Laurent is a 12-year-old Youth Tutoring client at Helping Link. He attends Washington Middle School as a 6th-grader and has been in Seattle for ten years. He uses his time at Helping Link to get homework done and says, “The tutors help me get better grades.”
He would like to make an impact on his community. “I can help other people like how the tutors help me now.” When asked how others can make a positive impact, Laurent shares, “Give respect to everyone and be nice.”
Tin is a North Vietnam refugee who came to the United States through the Humanitarian Operation program with her husband and children in 1993. As a client of Helping Link, Tin has learned the importance of exercise and is currently learning how to use her iPad. “I want to improve my health and be happy in my old age,” she says.
James is a Helping Link Administration volunteer who recently moved to Seattle from New Orleans. Of his time at the organization so far, James says, “I’m constantly humbled by the amount of trust Helping Link and Minh Duc place in their volunteers, as well as how hard everyone here works; all while keeping a positive attitude. Every day I learn more about our organization, our community, and all the people I’ve met who have welcomed me with open arms.” As a volunteer, James believes Helping Link will give him the tools and resources needed to connect our services to the people that need them the most. “Seattle is changing, but Helping Link has been dedicated to empowering the Vietnamese community for over 20 years. I want to make sure that legacy survives and is passed down.”
When asked what people can do to make a positive impact, James says, “Every movement that has ever mattered has been built from the ground up. If you want to make a positive impact, listen to your community, ask what it needs, and use whatever resources you have to meet those needs.”
Meet Ngoc Thao
Ngoc Thao came to the United States with her family and participates in Helping Link’s ESL program. When asked how Helping Link has impacted her life, Ngoc Thao says, “I have more confidence to use English. Helping Link is a place where I can meet other Vietnamese people as well as people from other backgrounds. I receive care, concern, love and help from others and vice versa.”
She looks forward to making an impact on her community by meeting other people of Vietnamese descent in the same environment and speaking the same language. “I want to help, share and understand the new students that come to class.”
Tony is an 8-year-old, Seattle-born Youth Tutoring client whose family is from Saigon. He describes Helping Link and “good and cool.” “I like to read at Helping Link,” says Tony. “ I get to do my homework so I can finish it so that I can play.” He would like to make an impact on his community by helping other children with their homework.
Meet Kim Tien and Hong Dung
Kim Tien and Hong Dung are students in Helping Link’s iPad class. Both left Vietnam to escape the country’s political regime. “iPad class has helped me gain more knowledge and keep in contact with friends,” says Kim Tien. “Through the iPad class, I can learn about what is going on in the news,” adds Hong Dung.
Bryce is a new volunteer who moved to Seattle from Southern California recently. He is interested in grant writing and plans to use his experience at Helping Link to learn more about the area and the community. “Volunteering helps me learn the city and more about the people that make it what it is. This is my chance to help grow an organization that gives back to the community, which will ultimately make Seattle stronger and have a multi-generational impact.”
Bryce believe that everyone can make a positive impact on their community. “Give your time. A lot of people tie philanthropy to money, but you don’t have to donate money to make a difference,” he says. “Just spending a few hours a week volunteering with a worthy organization makes a huge difference. And if you don’t have a few hours a week, just treating your fellow citizens humanely and warmly when we interact with each other on the streets and in our lives can make the world a friendlier place.”
Meet Henry and Kiem
Meet Henry and Kiem, two clients participating in Helping Link’s Technology program. Henry is a refugee from the Binh Thanh province and attends Helping Link’s iPad and Facebook classes, which are free to the public.
Kiem is a Vietnamese refugee and a Helping Link iPad student “Learning the iPad brings me happiness,” she says. She is committed to doing her best and wants to make an impact by having more contact with people in the community and meeting new friends.
Meet Mr. Kien
Ken (Kien) was in a re-education camp in Tien Giang City, Vietnam, for six years before coming to the United States. He finds Helping Link’s classes very helpful for the Vietnamese community and is currently enjoying the organization’s iPad class. “Helping Link helps seniors learn new things,” says Kien. “That is why I always introduce Helping Link to my friends.”
MyLinh is a 21-year-old Youth Tutoring volunteer at Helping Link. This opportunity allows her to give back to the Vietnamese community and help first-generation kids a better footing. She enjoys seeing her youth clients improve in their academic studies as well as their social skills. As a volunteer, MyLinh says she is “able to hold kids accountable and make them responsible for doing their work. Volunteering allows me to help kids nurture and grow.”
When asked what people can do to make a positive impact, MyLinh believes people should have good intentions and acknowledge that even doing the smallest things can make a difference. “Be hands on,” she says. “No role is too small. Even asking someone how their day has been can make them feel more human, has an impact on them. People should be kind, project positive attitudes,and lift others up by setting a good example and being a role model. It’s important to do something that rewards you and makes a positive change for others.”
Meet Ms. Monic
Monic is a refugee from the Bien Hoa province. Her family was forced out of Vietnam and her husband was captured. She is a Technology program client and has used Helping Link’s services to learn how to use her iPad and iPhone. She would like to make an impact on her community by helping others learn the new culture and lifestyle of America. When asked what people can do to make a positive impact, Monic believes people should focus on unity and sharing.
Meet Dan and Nam
Dan and Nam are both refugees who came to the United States through the Humanization Operation program. Dan likes learning and is interested in getting to know more people in Seattle’s Vietnamese community.
Nam says Helping Link has helped learn about American culture and lifestyle. He wants to make an impact on his community by promoting peace and happiness in the community.
Diane was born in Saigon and moved to the United States in 1992 with her husband who was imprisoned in a camp for 8.5 years as a former Lieutenant of the Republic of Vietnam. Helping Link has helped her adjust to life in Seattle and believes people can make a positive impact on their community by being polite and friendly to others.