In shocking news this morning, VFA’s Executive Director, James Hong, was surprised to discover a single strand of grey hair on his head. “I just woke up and there it was. I was very confused and thought maybe I was still dreaming. I had always known about grey hair. It runs in our family; my dad has it. But I wasn’t expecting it so soon in my life.”
When asked whether or not this development might impair James’ leadership or decision-making, staff expressed mixed feelings. “I thought James had one, maybe two good years left. I still support him though and am considering dyeing my own hair platinum in solidarity,” says Kristina Ong, Fund Development Manager.
Tamthy Le, Jobs Program Manager, doesn’t share Kristina’s enthusiasm. “Once you go bạc you never go back. This is going to completely change the dynamics of VFA. If I have to start calling him bác, then I will lose it. He’s still a millennial for crying out loud!” In Vietnamese, bác is a respectful title used when referring a person who is older than one’s parents.
In a prepared statement, VFA’s Board of Directors insisted, despite James’ grey hair, the organization’s mission and programs will endure.
VFA’s youth and academic programs have doubled in size over the past four years. Each year VFA serves about 200 recently-arrived refugee and immigrant youth. Students enrolled in our program achieve higher scores in math and English compared to their peers. In fact, over 90% of the youth increase their academic achievement and advance to the next grade level. VFA also recently opened Hoa Mai, the first and only Vietnamese-English Bilingual Preschool in Washington State. We are confident in, and fully support, the fine work our Executive Director and staff. Time and time again, they have demostrated an unwavering commitment to social justice and service to refugee and immigrant communities.