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6th Annual Recipient Christmas Reunion

Every year we wrap up our scholarship program by inviting past and current KPA Southeast Asian Scholarship recipients to get together before Christmas to reconnect and form networks between themselves for future mutual support. Their struggles and successes in the real world are different from what they learn in school. An education provides them with useful information and knowledge to utilize at work, but work provides wisdom and practical experience, so they can build their pathway to success. However, before they can reach success, they must work extremely hard and go thorough a lot of struggles in order to overcome all the barriers in their way.

Priceless moments at this Christmas Reunion are when the Class of 2017 scholarship recipients, who are college Freshmen, heard messages of encouragement, sacrifice and giving back. They heard from college Alumni and from the well established Attorney, Minh T. Nguyen, who had a very humble background yet rose up to run a Law Corporation in Long Beach and gives back by investing in the community. Success comes from hard work and an iron will to go far and succeed regardless of any personal sacrifice they need to make.

From one year to another, I am so proud of some of our past KPA recipients who come back to share their personal stories and motivate the current recipients to work hard to accomplish their goals.

I strongly feel that our investment in the education of the younger generation will produce strong, confident and powerful leaders who will have new ideas, strategic thinking and new perspectives to lead the country.

I am looking forward to meeting another group of KPA Scholarship recipients in 2018.

Until then, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Chan Hopson

Executive Director

I attended the 6th ARCR on Sunday, Dec 17th at Sophy’s restaurant and met many familiar faces. We all enjoyed the buffet dinner prior to the event program. We listened to some speakers’ stories of their hardships and their success. Later we discussed different things about how to sustain KPA programs. In my group, we talked about how to choose recipients and came up with great ideas. After that, we all got together and smiled for our group picture. It was a heartwarming experience overall, and we all departed. It was nice seeing my friends there and we all treated each other with kindness and fairness.

Franklin Kong

CSULB, Freshman

Class of 2017 Scholarship Recipient

I was very pleased to see friends and supporters of KPA coming together for the Annual Christmas Reunion. It was great to see the former recipients of the KPA scholarships connecting with each other.

KPA’s goals and visions were shared by Mrs. Chan Hopson, founder of KPA, who worked tirelessly for years alongside her husband to make a positive impact on the lives of many Khmer children who have come through KPA programs. Many years after she started KPA, youth from many different ethnicities are being affected in positive ways through the scholarships that KPA offers yearly to graduating seniors. KPA also offers opportunities for community involvement and has the support of wonderful people such as Charles Song and a strong Board.

The night was filled with smiles, laughter and friendship, but there were also educational and inspirational stories of hard work paying off. For example, scholarship recipient, Thida Kol, who is now a successful fashion designer, shared her encouraging story to those in attendance about hard work and the importance of chasing your dream. The importance doing what you love was re-iterated by our other guest speaker, attorney Minh Nguyen who owns a law firm. Mr. Nguyen shared his story of success that started when he witnessed injustice inflicted on his mother and could not do anything. That fueled his desired to enter into a career where he could become the voice for those who could not speak for themselves. The common thread in these two stories is the passion that underlies whatever you choose to do. Passion resonates deeply with me, and I am glad to be part of KPA because I share KPA’s passion to help others in need.

May you all have a blessed Christmas, and I hope you will keep KPA in your hearts and help support KPA as it continues to make a difference in the lives of the youth in our community.

Christina Lee, MD

Majestic Medical Clinic

KPA Chair

Dr. Christina Lee, KPA Board Chair accpeted the Certificate of Recognition from Milton Duena for Chas Aun Rita Sisowath who was sick and couldn't be there..

Milton Duena, Field Deputy of the 2nd District Office presents a Certificate of Recognition to Miss Thida Kol, Class of 2010 KPA Scholarship Recipient, UCI Alumnae in 2014. A former Associate Designer of BeBe Fashion Company, she is now the Designer and Entrepreneur of Blush Elegance Clothing Line.

Congratulations, Thida for your success.

Chan Hopson, Executive Director of KPA makes a comment about the kindness, caring and compassion of Minh T. Nguyen, Esq., of Minh T. Nguyen Law Firm to the audience of past and present recipients, their parents and guests..

The Khmer Parent Association’s 6th Annual Recipients Christmas Reunion was an eye-opening experience for me. Mr. Nguyen shared his heartbreaking experience as a child. It was sad to hear that such things still exist. Everyone has their own experiences with self-identity. It can be a bad thing, but it can be a good thing as well depending on how you respond to it. With that in mind, I believe if you had an unpleasant experience in the past, use it as a stepping stone to improve yourself and improve life for other people as well. Because things like that still happen to children today, I am glad that KPA is around to help and nurture the great minds of the future.

-Michael Lav, Class of 2017 and CSULB Freshman

The audience seems noticeably bigger and better every year. Another job well done for the Khmer Parent Association's organizing committee.

I was deeply touched by Attorney Minh's powerful speech. It's amazing to see that a young man like him was able to take full advantage of his bitter and personal experience and turn it into success. His generous contribution toward KPA is unprecedented.

Furthermore, Thida shared her own amazing success story. Her strong desire, passion and hard work lead her to become a successful designer, stylist and business owner of the Blush Elegance clothing line.

To put these stories in perspective, it's clear that anyone of us can and will succeed in life as long as we have a strong will and are willing to work hard and give it our all.

I was so grateful just to have an opportunity to sit in the audience and listen to what these amazing speakers had to say, and I congratulate all of them for their extraordinary accomplishments.

I thank the Khmer Parent Association for the many years of excellent service they provided to the Long Beach communities, particularly our Cambodian community. My heartfelt appreciation and thanks to the President of KPA, Ms. Chan Hopson, for allowing me the opportunity to be a part of this remarkable journey.

Charles Song


Attending the KPA 6th Annual Recipients Christmas Reunion was a great experience. My favorite part of the event was when our donors shared their success stories. I learned a lot from their speeches. No matter who you are or where you come from as long as you keep fighting for your dream you will succeed. However, do not forget to give back to your community. Besides this, I also got to reunite with my class of 2017 and also their guardians. Overall the event was amazing. I am looking forward to next year’s reunion.

Chandawin Seng, Freshman, UCI

Class of 2017

Dr. Christina Lee, Chair of KPA Board presented Chan Hopson a beautiful bouquet of Appreciation from Sinara Sagn, Class of 2011 Scholarship Recipient, for her dedication and devotion to youth education and the welfare of the communities.

Minh T. Nguyen, Esq. a Polytechnic High School Alumnus meets Doug Sato, KCET Producer, also a Poly High Alumnus a decade before him.

Thida Kol, Chan Hopson and Thida's Fiance, Jared.

The audience was broken into 4 groups, and each group worked on a different question related to the strategies KPA will use to better serve the 2018 High School Recipients.  

Milton Duena led the group discussion at table 1 above to set the criteria for the 2018 Scholarship Program. Sara Arellano, Class of 2016, reported the table discussion to the group.

The Xmas reunion for KPA was an exciting event for the current scholarship recipients, past recipients, donors, parents and guests. We met again and discussed school and goals with one another. Next, we received guidance from prominent figures in the community. My biggest take away from this reunion is I was able to meet and network with past recipients, teachers, a lawyer, designer and other people with advice about college and challenges that I may encounter in the future. It’s eye opening to witness successful people from the community who have passion in what they love to do while making a living. They were generous to take time out of their busy schedules to share their stories with us and offer to be accessible to any recipient with any question that may arise.

Later, we had a group activity that discussed how to fund raise, market and find funding and donations from different sources to support the next class of the SEA Scholarship program.

Being able to relate and connect with past recipients is uplifting, as we shared stories and experiences to connect with each other. Through their advice about college and life in general, I understand that I’m not going through this journey alone. The food and raffle are always satisfying and create a fun atmosphere for everybody. It’s a good time for everybody to relax and enjoy one another’s company.

Brandon Yi, Freshman CSULB

Class of 2017 Scholarship Recipient

I am grateful to participate in the 6th Annual Recipient Christmas Reunion on Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017. I was pleased to meet other past recipients from 2010-2016. The best part of the reunion was the motivating speeches of the previous recipients such as Thida Kol, class of 2010. She graduated from UCI with a double major, and she is now an entrepreneur. She was one of several speakers who inspired me to work hard and not give up on my life no matter what happens because it is the most effective way to sacrifice now to be successful in the future.

Om Chan, you never let us down with your most powerful loving speech. You helped each one of us a lot and gave us great strength like a mom. The guest speaker, Attorney Minh T. Nguyen, showed me great opportunities to take action and be successful in the future.

The group activities were the second most important part to help KPA plan for the Class of 2018 KPA scholarship recipients. After the group discussion, I did a presentation for table 4. We talked about the criteria of eligibility of the applicants and the mandatory requirements that the applicants have to abide by the rules. Also, we would like to have the recipients give back and get involved with KPA activities to help sustain the KPA programs, too.

I like the ideas from the other tables also because each table had different ideas and strategies to improve our KPA scholarship program. There was a raffle drawing for door prizes at the end of the program. Some of the participants won some good prizes.

Sadly, I didn’t win anything, but I was still happy.

Overall, thank you Om Chan for making this Christmas reunion fun for all of us.

Bunpheng Loa, Freshman, CSULB

Class of 2017

On Sunday, December 17th, KPA hosted its 6th Annual Recipients Christmas Reunion at Sophy's Restaurant in Long Beach, CA. This was a joyous occasion as past and present KPA scholarship recipients, community members and parents all gathered to reconnect and celebrate the holiday season.

The night included Recognition Awards presented by Milton Duena, Field Deputy of the 2nd District Councilwoman Jeannine Pearce, honoring Roth Prom, Thida Kol and Rita Sisowath for their tireless efforts to support the KPA mission to support youth education and improve our community.

The evening also included the sharing of inspirational stories. Thida Kol, a past recipient, had the opportunity to share a moving story about her upbringing and how she overcame challenges, which led her to a successful career in the fashion industry. Minh T. Nguyen, an attorney at law practicing in Long Beach, also shared the powerful story of how his life experiences gave him a sense of purpose, leading him to pursue a career in law. The theme throughout the night revolved around passion and giving back to your community. Their stories of success, perseverance and triumph motivated many whom attended and reminded each of us to never give up and always have the determination to succeed and live life with a purpose.

The evening ended on a high note with an exciting raffle that brought fun, smiles and laughter!

On behalf of KPA, we hope this new year brings optimum health, peace, happiness and prosperity. Thank you to all and we look forward to seeing everyone at next year’s reunion!

David Kem

Vice-Chair, KPA

It was my honor to attend Khmer Parent Association's 6th Annual Recipient Christmas Reunion on Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017 at Sophy’s restaurant. I had an opportunity to listen to many inspiring stories from past KPA Scholarship recipients and college grads as well as the KPA Board Chair and Attorney Minh T. Nguyen, a major scholarship donor. Their life struggles and experiences encouraged me to find my dream in life and follow my passion. I know which path I will choose to continue work as an undergraduate student.

During the Reunion, I also had a chance to share my experiences as well as give advice to the new scholarship recipients because I want them to avoid my mistakes when I was a freshman.

Overall, this event allowed me to reconnect with the college alumni as well as gain new strategies to survive in college. I can share my personal experiences with the younger generations, so they can be well prepared for the challenges they will face in the future.

Sreyroth Loa, Jr. in UCI

Class of 2015 KPA Scholarship Recipient

As a Senior who is trying to find my way in life, to find inspiration and motivation, I was awarded with a KPA scholarship. It was a great honor and a helping hand to me at that time. I felt as if someone was there for me, someone was rooting for my success. I am still grateful until today for being given a chance to further my education.

Leang Kheng Ouk

College Grad.

Class of 2012 KPA Scholarship Recipient.

"As a newly minted member of the KPA board, I was humbled to be invited to attend the annual Christmas reunion with my daughter, Sloan. Even more humbling was the gracious honor that was granted by Nak Ming Chan Hopson to speak to the recipients, alumnae, and all of the honored guests in attendance. This was my first time attending the ARCR. I had no idea what to expect. Just as each KPA event that I’d attended in this last year of my journey to learning the organization and the Cambodian American community of Long Beach, I felt fortified in purpose from being a part.

The ARCR program included a banquet style dinner at Sophy’s restaurant (a local and loved Khmer-American owned and operated venue on PCH), speeches from esteemed alumnae and community leaders, and an invaluable opportunity for all to join a dialogue around topics concerning the KPA. These included: 1) how to engage KPA scholarship recipients, 2) how to encourage KPA recipients to create awareness of the organization at their respective college campuses, 3) how to motivate KPA recipients towards paths of advocacy and community building in their respective communities, and 4) how to further the mission of the KPA by calling upon the leadership of the scholarship recipients.

These conversations were held at each table following the banquet style dinner at Sophy’s. There were discussion leaders, recorders, reporters, and contributors at each table; each role was self-selected and agreed upon mutually. The attendees were heard equally and represented the diverse network of professionals, community leaders, students, and alumnae of the KPA. The discussions were rich, inclusive, and abundant with innovative ideas. At my table, we had prominent community leaders like Nak Ming Huoy Lor and friends, KCET producer, Doug Sato, a KPA scholarship recipient and CSULB student, Brandon Yi, my daughter, Sloan, and myself. Hearing from this group, I gained unique knowledge about the history of the KPA, about the individual needs of one KPA scholar, his visions and hopes for the future of KPA that he took ownership of, and in particular, about what the KPA has gifted him with- the gift of exposure to and interaction with professionals who looked like him, came from his city, his environment, and the positive outlook on what his life could look like if he stayed on the path of education. He truly led this conversation, while taking notes, and also, was encouraged to do the reporting on our dialogue on behalf of our table. His testament of what the KPA provided him with was moving. As much as he felt inspired by his experience as a K-12 student from the KPA member and being a scholarship recipient, I felt mutually inspired by him. Being a part of this dialogue fortified my purpose and intent to learn about the community through the lens of the KPA, and to stay my own path as an educator in the community @ CSULB while pursuing my PhD and research."

- Phatana Ith, Lecturer @ CSULB, Communication Studies, PhD Student, Leadership Studies @ Gonzaga University

KPA Board Member

L -R: Chan Hopson, KPA Executive Director, Dr. Christina Lee, KPA Board Chair, Phatana Ith, PhD Student in Leadership Studies and KPA Board member, David Kem, MPA and KPA Board Vice-Chair.

Mrs. Yi, her son, Brandon, Class of 2017 Scholarship recipient, Chan Hopson and Mr. Chanthy Yi.

Families of the Class of 2017 recipients and supporters.

A few of the lucky raffle prize winners.

Wishing You a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

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