Monday, January 31, 2011

Lao Student Association seeks funds for 2011 student new year.

The Lao Student Association of the University of Minnesota is trying to raise $2,345 to hold a Lao New Year Festival on April 23rd at the University of Minnesota's Saint Paul Student Center. 

They're in a good position, needing approximately $985 to meet their budget to feed and entertain approximately 500 people. It's a modest budget, with most of it split between food and the space and equipment rentals. Their plan is to use a Lao-owned business to cater the food, Reun Thai from Osseo. If you are interested in helping them please contact the Lao Assistance Center at 

Youth Leadership team recognized by U of Mn Human Rights Center

On Friday, February 4th, the University of Minnesota Human Rights Center will be recognizing the winners of the 2010 Youth Against Race, Class, and Place Disparities Contest in an event made possible by the Best Buy Foundation. The award ceremony will take place at the University of Minnesota Law School.

The teen youth of the Lao Assistance Center have won awards in two categories for their entry, “Perception”: "Most Innovative Youth Action Award", and "Best Quality Production Award" and will be receiving an award of a video camera and a cash prize of $100 to continue their efforts.

The awards will be handed out by the filmmaker and producer Daniel Bergin from Twin Cities Public Television whose documentary series, Close the Gap, has been the inspiration for this contest. Bergin will discuss some of his work and provide tips and advice for students interested in pursuing a career or a hobby in filmmaking and media.

In October, the youth submitted their video to the Youth Against Race, Class, and Place Disparities Video Contest. It was designed for students in grades 8-12 in the Twin Cities. The contest sought to educate the public and encourage dialogue and action to eliminate race, class, and place disparities in Minnesota. Each contestant was asked to produce a short film focusing on an issue related to these disparities. The film was to frame the problem in clear terms and offer possible solutions. The youth had the option of doing a video in the form of a public service announcement, music video, comedy sketch, or other short format. Submissions could be made by either an individual or a team, and the videos could be no longer than 2 minutes.

The Lao Assistance Center has been working closely with over 30 Asian American youth to develop key leadership skills necessary for lifelong civic engagement and an understanding of the importance of social justice. Many participate in the Southeast Asians Living Chemically Free Program to educate their peers about the perils of alcohol, tobacco and substance abuse. They have volunteered with the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans, the Dragon Festival, Lao New Years and Asian Pacific American Heritage Month activities.

"As a community we deeply appreciate the work our youth have done," said Lao Assistance Center executive director Sunny Chanthanouvong. "These youth are our future and all of us are pleased to see them taking a stand on issues that matter to them."

The youth will next be organizing two community forums before the beginning of summer with the assistance of the new youth coordinator, Phouthakannha Nantharath, who will be continuing the work of Kinnary Pimpadubsee. For more information on how to get involved with this program contact the Lao Assistance Center at 612-374-4967 or e-mail

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Let's Work Together at Tomorrow's Town Hall Meeting!

Get involved by getting your civic engagement on! Come join us and show your support at tomorrow's town hall meeting with State Rep. Bobby Joe Champion and Rep. Jeff Hayden. Special guests include: Bill Marx, Chief Fiscal Analyst for the Minnesota House of Representatives. We'll be discussing the state budget and to push for more funding for LACM's great programs. We want to continue addressing the needs and concerns that impact the Lao community. The more people who can attend in support of our agency and programs, the more it will make an impact for the state to listen to our needs!

Wednesday January 26th, 2011
University of Minnesota Urban Research and Outreach Engagement Center
2001 Plymouth Ave N
Minneapolis, MN 55411

In-progress Iniative: Cultural Training Sessions for Health Providers

One of the biggest issues among health professionals and social workers in the metro area is the cultural connection and understanding of their diverse clients, many who are Southeast Asian, which also include Lao.

Since 2007, local survey researches and personal narratives from the American Psychological Association have indicated that mental health professionals feel their clients are left untreated and uneducated about their health conditions. Because of this, we have seen many Lao clients unintentionally marginalized and misunderstood from effective treatment. In turn, they disregard the importance of mental health concerns and tend to discontinue or refuse therapy. A main part of this issue is a lack of cultural understanding and the possibility of 'racial microagressions' that limit a true therapeutic relationship. Racial microagressions are defined as: "brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavoral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults toward people of color" (American Psychological Association).

This week, with our partner, Northwest Hennepin Human Services Council and other Southeast Asian-based social agencies, we'll be be developing cultural awareness training sessions that will help health professionals incorporate their approach with customs, beliefs, and traditions of Southeast Asian ethnicities.

Keep posted for more social change in the healthcare field!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Snapshots from Many Faces of Brooklyn Park Event!

A good flow of folks from around the metro area came through our booth (shared with Northwest Hennepin Human Services Council), to play our bean bag game called Toss out Tobacco Advertising for free stickers and to chat with the Chemical Health team.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Come Celebrate the Many Faces of Healthy Lao!

Looking for a last minute Saturday afternoon fun? Get out of the house and the snow storm! There will be food, fashion show, and prizes today. LACM will be at the Celebrating the Many Faces of Brooklyn Park event with our partner, Northwest Hennepin Human Services Council. Stop by our booth to get info, freebies, and meet our new health education staff, Chanida and Phoutha.

WHAT: Celebrating the Many Faces of Brooklyn Park

WHEN: Saturday January 15, 2011

WHERE: Community Activity Center
5600 85th Ave N

*Park in the east lot
**For more info, check out: OR 763-493-8154

Thursday, January 13, 2011

New Staff on Board to Promote a Healthier Lao Community

As we begin a new year of promoting better health and well-being in the community, LACM would like to inform our friends and family about a great health support program and to introduce you to our new staff.

Since 2008, we’ve partnered with Northwest Hennepin Human Services Council (NWHHSC) in developing the Chemical Health Support & Well-Being Program through Southeast Asians Living Chemically-Free, which provides educational resources and supportive strategies to help address chemical health issues that impact the Lao community.

To continue building awareness of the program, please welcome our new staff members, Chanida Phaengdara and Phoutha Nantharath. Chanida will be managing the program and working with Lao adults and Phoutha will be working with Lao youth and building their leadership skills. Both are excited to help educate, empower, and support the local community.

If you or loved ones are seeking help, support, or would like to learn more about chemical health and dependency issues, please contact Chanida or Phoutha:

Chanida can be reached at 612-767-8903 and/or
Phoutha can be reached at 612-767-8904 and/or

We’re open to walk-ins, one-on-one appointments, or you can attend any of our upcoming group sessions to learn more and connect with fellow Lao. Together, we can play a role in living chemically-free and improving the overall healthy well-being of our Lao community!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Lao Assistance Center Receives Support from Stevens Square Foundation

The Lao Assistance Center is pleased to thank the Stevens Square Foundation for their generous support of our efforts to reach out and engage Lao American elders to help them pursue lives building communities where elders live with dignity, mutual respect and shared responsibilities across generations and cultures.

Stevens Square Foundation is dedicated to inspiring and enabling people to live with dignity, with particular emphasis on the needs of the elderly and children. They strive to improve the lives of individuals in the greater Twin Cities metropolitan area by providing support to organizations that are responsive, innovative, and effective in meeting these needs.

Formed in 1881 to provide a home for children orphaned or displaced by the typhoid epidemic which struck Minneapolis in that year, Stevens Square, known initially as the Society for the Relief of Homeless Children, was the 7th charitable organization created in Minneapolis. The Home had as residents both children and elderly women in need of a home. Both populations were accommodated at the facility until 1935 when it was determined that there was no longer a need for children's lodging given the widespread use of foster care.

From 1935 to 2004, Stevens Square continued to provide shelter to an increasingly frail, elderly population. In its next chapter, the Stevens Square Board intends to pursue the same goals of service to the elderly and to children in the Twin Cities seven-county metropolitan area by making annual awards to non-profit agencies which serve the needs of these populations.

Established in 1983, the Lao Assistance Center is honored to be supported by the Stevens Square Foundation as we continue to work towards improving the lives of our elders and engaging them in meaningful issues of our times.