October 3, 2015 — It was such an incredible night! Our 3rd Annual Fundraising Gala was sold out once again. Together, we raised over $40,000 to help give hope and opportunities to the children in Vietnam. We were so humbled by the number of guests who drove in from as far as Calgary just to be there in support of our effort.
Our guests were treated to three wonderful performances. The first was a beautiful fan dance by the beautiful Phat Quang Pagoda Dancers (led by Dong Phan and Michelle Dang), followed by the lovely songs of Carrie Day, a soulful singer-songwriter, and lastly, the feisty hat dance by the Uof A Vietnamese Student Association’s Savio’s Angels (led by Minh Thu-Ta).
Thanks to the generosity of so many businesses and kind-hearted friends and family, we had over 100 items for our silent auction, with three wonderful items for live auctioning: a one week Tropical Oasis in Arizona (from Henry & Leona Heuver), a handmade quilt (Nancy Stolk), and a painting (by local artist Charlene Changkee). And of course, thanks to our nearly 400 guests who made the generous bids to help make the silent and live auction a huge success. Our chefs, Linh Truong and Hang Pham, also had their cookbook — Authentic Vietnamese Cuisine — on sale with 100% of the proceeds going to our foundation.
This year, we had a very kind photographer, Alex Iseghohi of Alex’s Photography, donate his services to help us captures some special moments that night. The food at Emperor’s Palace was again excellent, as the owner Candi Cai went out of her way to help ensure our event was a success.
Lastly, the whole night came together nicely because of all our volunteers: — Cecile Phan, Van Tran, Verna Quach, Christine & Kaitlyn See,Vivi Nguyen, Van Phan, Trudie Aberdeen — and our CVBF team — Nhung, Grant, Linh, Justine, Michelle, Shanni, Huynh Anh Mai, Hang Pham.
And may we also acknowledge Father Gauthier and the Our Lady of Mercy family – Baril family, Heuver family, Zyp family, LaPerle family, Hryniw family — who had helped us Vietnamese refugees 35 yrs ago and was in attendance this night in support of our Vietnamese community 35 years later. We will be always inspired by your love and kindness, and we thank you.
The late social activist and artist Hank Zyp would say “ordinary people can do extraordinary things.” And we believe it!
Oct 3, 2015 Opening remarks from Dr. Nhung Tran-Davies, president.
With so many events in the world with the Syrian Refugee Crisis and here locally with the increased unemployment rate in the oil and gas industry, we are so grateful that your kindness and generosity have no bounds. We are always so humbled to see so many friends drive the great distance from Calgary, Thorsby/Devon/Calmar, Fort Saskatchewan and surrounding to be here for us because you too believe in this cause. We are also humbled to have so many old friends from our youth and university days who defy time and despite their busy lives come tonight because of their steadfast support of a cause that you know is so dear to our hearts. And we are honoured by the many new guests that are here tonight to be a part of our efforts to help the children of Vietnam.
Now that most of our board members have visited some of these orphanages and schools this past year, we have returned to Canada a little more haunted by the images of the impoverished conditions in which so many of our little brothers and sisters still live under. You will see some of those images on the slide show. Hence, we return with more commitment and determination to do what we can to fulfill our mission to give hope and opportunities to these orphaned and abandoned children and the underprivileged students who struggle to get an education. We just cannot do it alone.
Since becoming a registered charity last year, 100% of the funds we have raised as a community here has gone towards buying hearing aids for the hearing impaired students, wheelchairs for children afflicted with disabilities, bicycles for students to get to school. We have bought beds and study tables for the children in the orphanages. We have build a new bathroom for a school. We even helped build a kindergarten centre and have committed to helping build another in the near future. And of course, we have provided school supplies and paid school fees for countless underprivileged students. We have in this past year granted nearly $15,000 in scholarships to hundreds of underprivileged students throughout Vietnam. Because we are fairly new at this, we are learning everyday how to provide better, more sustainable help to the children
There remains so much need in our homeland. We cannot not doing anything. This is not to say, however, that we are neglecting the needs of others in the world. Because our foundation was founded with the hopes of paying forward the kindness that we ourselves had received from so many kind and generous Canadians over 35 yrs ago, we promise you that tomorrow, many of us here tonight will also be working to help sponsor some of the syrian refugees as you have done for us. We will donate to the local foodbank and some will even run to cure breast cancer. But tonight, we come together to do what we can to help the children of Vietnam.