June 20, 2008: Mention “Boat People SOS” to someone in Virginia’s Vietnamese-American community, and you might hear about a whole range of BPSOS-related projects they’ve heard of, including the Vietnamese Parents Association, the Vietnamese Gang Prevention Project, and the Vietnamese Culture Club at Holmes Middle School.
The force behind BPSOS’ involvement in groups and projects like these is the Family Services Department, which is responsible for nurturing healthy relationships among family and community members. The department’s staff of professionals has recently been boosted by the addition of Vickie Love, who brings to the job expertise in program management and more.
“I’m excited to become a part of such dynamic programs and my goal is to contribute to advancing them even more,” says Love.
Another key team member in the Virginia area is Dong Bui, who focuses on coordinating the Youth Program. Her skills come from years of experience with working with youth development issues.
Rounding out the Family Services Department team for BPSOS are several other staff members located in branches across the United States such as, Doraville, GA, Houston TX, Louisville KY and Philadelphia, PA. Having staff members located in different geographical areas contributes to support the efforts of BPSOS continuance to increase self efficiency within the Vietnamese community.
Programs offered to youth and their families play a key role in making sure the family unit is empowered. Since 1998, Boat People SOS has run its Youth Program, with many projects and activities to develop and empower Vietnamese-American youth to become good members of society. For many years, the program has helped the older generation of Vietnamese Americans strengthen their younger neighbors with skills in organization and communications, while bolstering their self-confidence and encouraging them to pursue community service and bring change to society.
Boat People SOS receives its supports through grants on a yearly basis, and making ends meet in this era of shrinking government funding for social programs is always a challenge. In that light, the Youth Program set the goal of raising $30,000 by the end of 2008.
Well, this one goal has been reached! BPSOS won the “We Can” grant, which is offered by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute which focuses on promoting good health by helping children and families eat right and engage in more physical activities.
“We’re extremely grateful to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute for extending us their confidence and support,” said Love. “The grant will open great doors for the BPSOS Family Services Department, such as allowing us to offer a program to promote good nutrition among the youth in the 11 – 14 age bracket.”