From the Desk of the Board Chair

Dear Members and Friends,

As we move forward to the new year 2010, 2009 had shown us that we can support each other and our communities by remembering our core mission: to provide information, resources, and enlightenment to our members at large. There have been a multitude of challenges; but through it all VA-NGO Network has continued to grow and thrive.

Successful Capacity Building Workshops in 2009 trained 468 educators and volunteers from 12 VA-NGOs and 22 agencies in 8 provinces, and one Regional Meeting in Orange county focused on Human Trafficking last September.

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VANGO Network  cordially invites you to the Regional Meeting & Capacity Building Workshop and Reception

8:30AM- 5:30PM
Stafford Primary School – 1625 Staffordshire Road, Stafford, Tx 77477


Session 1 – Social Intelligence and the Principles of Leadership
Dr. John Nguyen, Founder and Principle Partner of Lighthouse Leadership, faculty of
Institute for Civic Education in Vietnam (ICEVN) will provide practical training on
leadership development for NGOs.

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Saturday October 17, 2009
1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Cal State Fullerton – Garden Grove Campus
Garden Grove, CA 92840

The event is free to all VA NGO Network member organizations, their volunteers, and individuals interested in humanitarian work in Vietnam.

Session 1: A Continual Discussion on Human Trafficking
1:00 p.m. –  2:30 p.m.
Moderator: Vi Nguyen
Panelists: Current VA NGO Network Human Trafficking Challenge Grant Recipients

For organizations and individuals who are already working or planning to implement new anti-Human Trafficking project, you are cordially invited and encouraged to attend this continual discussion on the topic of trafficking of human beings. Your inputs will be invaluable to this process and will allow us to have better and collaborative strategies to work on this daunting issue in Vietnam. Current grant recipients will provide updates from their organizations on Human Trafficking activities, assess strengths and potential areas for improvements, and discuss VANGO Network’s facilitated trainings and assistance on collaborative activities. The session’s goal is to reach the next steps for current recipient organizations, extend collaborations on Human Trafficking, and invite all VANGO organizations proposing new work on Human Trafficking.

Session 2: Public Relations & Fundraising for Your Organizations
3:00 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.
Penny LeGate, Television News Anchor, KIRO (CBS), Seattle
Son Michael Pham, Founder of Kids Without Borders / Past President Rotary Club Seattle
Binh Rybacki, Founder, Children of Peace International

Working with the media. Getting your messages out to the public, to other organizations and foundations. Connecting with Rotary International to partner with your organization. Working with youth groups to fundraise for your cause. Panelists will be sharing their work to help you to with practical strategies to market your organization and grow your donor bases.

Session 3: Capacity Building Workshop: Networking opportunities and fostering collaboration
among members
4:45 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Presenter: VA NGO Network Program Committee

Over the past several years, VA NGOs have become more interested in strengthening the programs of our organizations through development activities in Vietnam. There are several members joining efforts in our Capacity Building workshops. We have been successfully organizing these workshops for the last three years in Hue, Hanoi, Quang Nam, HCMC and Vinh Long, and over 650 people attended these hand-on workshops with a diverse topics from social work, child development to communication skills. A video presentation of the successful Capacity Building Workshops will be shared our common concerns: How to make better use of limited resources and how to stay on course and reach established program goals.

Session 4: An Evening with Friends, Home Tour and Phở
5:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Where: Drs. Chan and Quynh Kieu Residence, Santa Ana, CA

Please come share an evening of beautiful friendship – Một buổi chuyện trò. Enjoy a piping hot bowl of Phở from Xe Phở cart, walk through an antique 150+yrs old traditional Vietnamese house and garden. Learn its history and furnishing and enjoy some light music entertainment.

About our Presenters:
Versatility and experience may be the best words to describe Penny LeGate, who has climbed mountains, traveled remote roads of Africa, and gone scuba diving with sharks to get the news. Known as a daring storyteller with a heart, she can be seen regularly anchoring Seattle Eyewitness News. Penny’s broadcasting career spans 30 years and includes hosting, reporting and producing for both television and radio. With a popular local television presence, her many honors include an Emmy award for writing, hosting, and producing a documentary on Springer, the orphaned orca captured in Puget Sound and returned o her pod in Canada. Penny also won an Emmy for her work as host of “Evening Magazine” as well as numerous other nominations for producing and writing. An active participant in many local charities, Penny feels strongly connected to causes devoted to children, animals, and the environment. Among her contributions, Penny created a fundraiser called “Tuxes & Tails” for the Humane Society, which has raised more than 3-million dollars. Every year since 2002, Penny has traveled to Ethiopia at the invitation of Rotary International, raising awareness of various global health issues, including the ongoing battle to eradicate polio. As a result, Rotary has awarded Penny the prestigious Paul Harris fellowship five times for her humanitarian work in Africa. She feels privileged that her gritty experiences in remote places have helped open her eyes to the suffering and needs of others. In recent years, Penny has traveled to Ghana, Ethiopia, Bolivia, Ugandan, India, Nepal and Vietnam on charitable missions and is sponsoring children in three developing nations.

On the last day of the war, Son Michael Pham left Viet Nam as a refugee. He and his family started their lives in the U.S with nothing except the generosity and care of community and church members in Chicago. A natural volunteer, Son Michael Pham served others in the refugee camp, and continued to serve others as he worked his way to become a successful business person. A proud member of Rotary International, Son Michael lives his life according to the organization’s motto – “Service Above Self.” So, for most of his life, Son Michael has tirelessly championed causes for children. Long before he founded Kids Without Borders, Son Michael had a vision of an “all kids, one world” world one day. He inspires and encourages children to give of themselves through service to others in their communities and worldwide. He believes strongly that by involving children in helping other children, they will recognize more similarities than differences in each other. Kids Without Borders was launched as a school service projects for students to sort clothes and donated items for children in the community. Today, the organization supports children in more than 26 countries, attracting volunteers worldwide, providing opportunities for youth, benefiting and changing thousands of lives around the world. Son Michael is actively involved in many service agencies and has held many leadership roles within the nonprofit community. He spent more than twenty years in the hospitality industry. Currently, Son Michael is leading two companies in business development.

Bình Nguyễn Rybacki left Vietnam with her family on April 30,1975 when the American government evacuated them in the last days before the fall of Saigon to the Communist troops. Binh finished her education at Colorado State University and worked for Hewlett-Packard for 25 years as an engineer. In 1993, Binh returned to Vietnam to locate the rest of her family and to make peace with her home country. She found children working as street peddlers, beggars, and prostitutes. Unable to leave things as she found them, Binh and her husband, Jack began Children of Peace International in 1993 to help improve the lives of these kids. Over the next years her commitment and organization grew. Binh is active in Denver Vietnamese community.  She has converted her parents’ house into a €œrelief center for new Vietnamese settlers or Vietnamese families in crisis. The house will help the new comers to settle as they find jobs and permanent housing. Families in conflict or crisis can also stay at the house until a better solution is ready. Since 1982, this house had served over 40 families and individuals. In 2002, Kiwanis International awarded Binh the World Service Medal Award for her work in Vietnam. Past winners were Mother Teresa, Katherine Hepburn, Mrs. Rosaline Carter, Mrs. Nancy Reagan to name a few. Binh used her award money to operate the Pediatric HIV Center in Saigon for one full year. Children of Peace International is a subject for the soon-to be- released A Necessary Journey documentary. You can view the trailer on Binh and her husband Jack are proud parents of Preston and his wife Shannon (both teaching at ILA in Saigon and volunteering for COPI as its In-Country Representative and Program Director) and Spencer (Junior at Colorado University in Denver). The Rybackis live in Loveland, Colorado.

When: March 31, 2009 – April 2, 2009
8:00am – 5:00pm

Where: Huế, Vietnam –

VA NGO Resource Center

Khu Quy Hoạch Nam Vỹ Dạ, Huế, Nguyễn Sinh Sắc St.

Capacity Building Workshop – Seeds of Change: In the Best Interest of the Child
“Seeds of Change” is the theme for a series of on-demand workshops on social work, building self-esteem, child development, targeted to educators, counselors, and other childcare providers, with the goal of providing practical skills for successful living. The workshops are conducted by member organizations of the VA NGO Network for their local partners, staff, and volunteers.

Please pass along this information, and encourage your staff and volunteers to sign up early. Workshop attendance and materials are complimentary to member organizations of the VA NGO Network, their staff and volunteers. Space is first limited to three participants from each VA NGO Network member, on a first-come, first-serve basis.

This workshop will be held at the VA NGO Resource Center and will emphasize on the topics:
Effective Communication/Interpersonal Skills
This practical course provides skills and techniques for handling any communication situation with greater flexibility, confidence, and impact. The participants will assess their communication strengths and weaknesses, as well as enhance their ability to understand others. Defining communication and effective listening skills, identifying and avoiding communication barriers, and learning how to motivate and influence others will be included.
* * *
Presentation Skills
Gain attentive listeners. Hints, practice and feedback to help you present with confidence and style.
* * *
Learning through Play
How does play prepare for learning? How can parents/teachers encourage children’s play? These hands-on workshops will address the importance of play and brain development. This workshop will help participants to explore a greater appreciation of art and enhanced language learning.
* * *
Understanding Children’s Temperament
This workshop explores temperament and its effects on family dynamics. Participants have the opportunity to reflect on their own temperament and gain a better understanding of children’s temperament and learn strategies for dealing with different types of temperament
* * *
Setting Limits: How to make children feel good about themselves.
Limits are set to assure the safety of children and adults as well as the acceptance of responsibility for one’s actions. This workshop provides information on the importance of setting limits with children, on techniques and strategies used in positive disciplines, as well as special focus on communicating with love and respect.
Participants will learn the tools needed to stop disruptive behavior when it happens and to gain the cooperation that is expected, without giving in or exhausting oneself with coercive power struggles. Participants will learn some wonderful and fun ways to introduce limits into day care and the home. This workshop also offers songs and games to use during daily routines and transitions. Turn stressful times into fun and playful games!
* * *
Nutrition for Healthy Living
How nutrition in everyday foods can play an important role to healthy living? What better nutrition means to children? What foods are nutritious? This workshop will discuss the major food groups and portions, valuable nutrient-rich foods, and how to preserve the nutrients in cooking, the main meal of the day and hygiene around food. Nutritious snacks will be prepared and participants will also practice some simple stretch exercises to release stress.
* * *
Children Civic Education
The workshop enables participants to gain a greater understanding and appreciation of concepts such as civic knowledge, skills, and to connect such concepts in working with young children to help them learn the responsibility of citizenship to practice.
* * *
Clinical Social Work with Children and Youth: A Clinically Interdisciplinary Approach
The workshop addresses clinical social work skill of a social worker when working with youths including crisis interventions, investigations/interviews, interventions/treatment plans, and case management/follow-ups.

Who should attend?

  • Staff/volunteers of NGOs and grassroot organizations working in rural communities; school personnel and all personnel involved with education projects.
  • Staff/Volunteers who want to sharpen their skills on how to present or talk to others and/or the media about their work and their nonprofit organizations
  • Professionals who want to polish their presentation skills to increase capacity