Monday, September 28, 2009

This Week At The Lao Assistance Center: 9/26-10/1

Saturday, September 26, 2009: Lao Community Forum: "Southeast Asians Living Chemically Free," C1 Buffet, 4pm to 7pm. Free to the public. 32 people showed up. Thanks for coming! The Community Forum was located at: 6090 Shingle Creek Pkwy Minneapolis, MN 55430-2316. Everyone had a great time and felt like they were informed about vital issues impacting the Lao Americans who wanted to be successful in life. A recurring idea was that alcohol and tobacco, and especially drugs were not a healthy part of that route to success in most cases.

Monday, September 28, 2009: Lao Chemical Health Support Group. "Success Series: Healthy Living Chemical Free," Lao Assistance Center, 11am to 1pm. 10 people showed up this week. For more information contact: or call 612-374-4967.

Family & Client Support Group. Lao Assistance Center, 2pm to 4pm. 15 people showed up this week. For more information contact: or call 612-374-4967.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Staff of the Lao Assistance Center

Sunny Sinh Chanthanouvong, Executive Director
Mr. Chanthanouvong has been with the Lao Assistance Center since 1992, starting as a Youth Specialist. He has a Bachelor of Science degree from Minnesota State University Mankato and is a certified interpreter and is fluent in Lao, Thai, and English. With extensive experience in social service, legal, community liaison, and administrative areas, Sunny Chanthanouvong has been the Executive Director since 2001. He is a member of the Minnesota Compulsive Gambling Advisory Committee and serves on the Minneapolis Human Rights Commission.

Phouninh Vixayvong, Chemical Health Coordinator
Ms. Vixayvong is the Executive Director of the Lao Women Association, an independent non-profit organization co-located with the Lao Assistance Center. A teacher both in Laos and in the Twin Cities, she has a Bachelors degree from Metropolitan State University and is a certified Chemical Dependency Counselor as well as a certified Compulsive Gambling Counselor. Working in the Lao community since 1985, she is well known and respected, particularly by Lao women. She is fluent in Lao, English, Thai, Vietnamese, and French.

Pany Siharath, Chemical Health Outreach Worker

Pany Siharath has been a long-time board member of the Lao Assistance Center and one of its earliest volunteers. He became part-time staff in July, 2008. He has been a realtor and trained on issues of chemical health, unemployment and foreclosure prevention with NeighborWorks America. A former aviation specialist, he also has been a Bilingual Parent Liaison for the YMCA, working with youth and was also a liaison for Lincoln Elementary where he worked with Lao children and families until 2002. Pany Siharath is very well known and respected elder in the Lao community and also extremely qualified on issues of drug, alcohol and tobacco cessation issues. He is fluent in Lao, English, Thai and French.

Kinnary Pimpadubsee, Chemical Health Youth Cooridinator
Kinnary Pimpadubsee has been a long-time board member of the Lao Assistance Center since 2004-2008 and has been a volunteer since 2000. She became part-time staff in 2009. She has been trained on issues of chemical health and youth leadership development. She was with the Youth Leadership Council on the Asian Coalition Against Tobacco from 2000-2008.  She has also been part of the steering committee of the Harrison Neighborhood Association working on neighborhood revitalization. Pimpadubsee studied graphic design and visual communication at Minneapolis Community and Technical College. Pimpadubsee is very active in the Lao community and also fluent in Lao and English.

Bounleuth Gowing, Special Access Worker
Bounleuth Gowing has worked for seven years as a CHW at the Lao Assistance Center of Minnesota, located in Minneapolis. Shewas born in Laos, but has lived in Minnesota for 15 years. Her career has included work as a Certified Nursing Assistant (both here and in Laos), a Family Case Worker, and a Community Health Worker. Her current projects include outreach to isolated Lao elders.

Chongchith Saengsudham, Family Resource Specialist

Chongchith Saengsudham began volunteering at the Lao Center in 2002 and became full-time staff in January, 2005. She has a Bachelors of Arts degree in Library Science and is fluent in Lao, Thai, French and English. She has been an international business owner owning restaurants, movie theaters, gas station and a bookstore. She facilitates the Financial Counseling program, Income Tax assistance, and Tobacco Cessation.

Bryan Thao Worra, Administrative Support
Bryan Thao Worra is an award-winning, internationally published author and community activist. He began working with the Lao Assistance Center in 2009. He has previously worked for three years in North Minneapolis on housing foreclosure issues with the Hawthorne Neighborhood Council. He has worked for over 10 years in the non-profit sector with Hmong National Development, the National Youth Leadership Council, Asian Media Access, Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly and the Hmong American Institute for Learning. He holds a Fellowship in Literature from the National Endowment for the Arts.