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Congratulations to the 2019 ATG Scholarship Winners

Through our Scholarship Program, ATG proudly awards Artistic, Groundbreaker Leadership, #LiveLikeLyly and the Lily Pabilona Emerging Entrepreneur Scholarships to a select group of amazing Asian American high school seniors, college undergraduate and graduate school students who are shining examples of what it means to go Against The Grain. Since 2011, we have awarded more than $65,000 in scholarships. Our selection committee reviews a combination of criteria: GPA, extracurricular activities, portfolio, essay, and letters of recommendation. Finalists were given a phone interview. This year, we will award $11,500 in scholarships to 6 amazing students.

The Scholarships Committee was led by Co-Directors of Community Outreach Hue Dao and Lisa Tran. Hue Dao has served on the Board since she was a college graduate. “Being a part of this scholarship selection committee and seeing the hard work and talent of these students has been very rewarding. Since the induction of this scholarship eight years ago, ATG has developed a community of leaders, artists and entrepreneurs, who have been struck with the spirit of paying it forward. They have donated their time and talent to fundraising and our projects on the horizon. I am inspired and very fortunate to witness the impact these young people are making and will continue to make for generations to come,” said Hue.

Lisa Tran also serves as ATG’s Advisor to Thailand and professionally as Managing Director of Corporate Engagement and Strategic Partnerships at SMU Cox School of Business. Said Lisa, “The quality of our applicants were exceptional this year. We received over 200 applications with diverse backgrounds and intended majors. Serving on the 2019 ATG Scholarship Selection Committee is one the highlights of being the Co-Director of Community Outreach, and I feel blessed and humbled to have met these six amazing young leaders. I have no doubt that a few, if not all, of the scholarship winners will change the world one day.”

Tammy Nguyen Lee, ATG Co-Founder/President, participates in finalist interviews and deliberations. Said Tammy, “Getting to review and talk to these young Asian American students is one of the most rewarding and inspiring parts of what we do. We get re-energized by seeing their work, hearing about their passions, and play a part in building that dream. ATG is very grateful to our scholarship review committee of Hue Dao, Lisa Tran and Carol Nguyen as well as generous scholarship donors like Bruce and Pat McRae and Ranier and Grace Pabilona for helping us keep alive the spirit of what it means to go Against The Grain. Through our scholarship funds, we are investing in these amazing students who will undoubtedly make a positive impact on the world.”

We are thrilled to announce this year’s winners…

  • Alina Dong – Groundbreaker Leadership Scholarship
  • Andrea Liu – Bruce & Pat McRae Artistic Scholarship & #LiveLikeLyly Memorial Scholarship
  • Marty Loh-Deschaumes – Lily Pabilona Emerging Entrepreneur Scholarship
  • Angelina Retodo – Artistic Scholarship
  • Kevin Tyan – Lily Pabilona Emerging Entrepreneur Scholarship
  • Kevin Ung – Artistic Scholarship
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Alina Dong | Houston, TX | 18 years old | GPA: 4.0 | Intended Major: Political Science, Music, Economics | Harvard University| Chinese

What does it mean to go “Against The Grain?”

“To me, going ‘Against The Grain’ is when an individual chooses to resist the conformity of society’s preconceptions and expectations, and instead chooses to take pride in his or her unique passions. Being unafraid to stand out and be challenged in new and uncomfortable fields are what it means to go ‘Against The Grain.’”

How do you go “Against The Grain?”

“As an Asian American female in opera and politics (fields which are respectively dominated by non-Asians and males), I work to pave new paths in unexplored careers, create new opportunities for those like myself, and remain innovative so that I may serve as an example of someone who is unafraid to break the molds. I take pride in singing on opera stages and speaking at commission meetings in City Hall as an Asian American female.”


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Andrea Liu |Katy, TX | 18 years old | GPA: 3.91 | Intended major: Visual & Environmental Studies | Harvard University | Chinese

What does it mean to go “Against The Grain?”

“To me, going “Against The Grain” means listening to myself and diving head-first into my passion for art. As a mere college freshman, I have yet to determine where exactly this interest will take me, but I know with certainty that I cannot give it up. In the face of defaulting to a future with traditional security, I believe that only by understanding my own truth as a student can I then achieve personal growth. I want to make sure that every day, I challenge not only the “grain” of conformity, but also myself as well to become a better artist—and more importantly, a better person.”

How do you go “Against The Grain?”

“During the winter of my senior year, I took a course called “Imagining Your Future.” To do so, we reflected on what made us the happiest as children and endeavored to look only at our own desires. I soon realized that my past was filled with art; thus, my future should be too. This simplistic, self-centric view of “what’s next?” felt selfish at first, however: would I repay my parents for their sacrifices by entering a supposedly insecure or superfluous field? Thankfully, my time in school has also shown me that art is, in reality, far from selfish. I never considered myself an activist before arriving at Exeter in eleventh grade. Yet, as I settled in to this new community, I realized the importance of having a space to acknowledge the current state of affairs. From designing stickers to build excitement for our school’s Martin Luther King Jr. day of discussions, to helping create the first edition of The Asian—the only Asian(-American) literary magazine on campus—to explore our identity, to founding a publication dedicated to uniting different on-campus affinity groups to start important conversations, I realized that going “Against The Grain” is a mindset: art is empowering.”


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Marty Loh-Desschaumes | Brisbane, CA | 24 years old | GPA: 4.0 | Intended Major: Real Estate & Built Environment | Harvard Graduate School of Design | Chinese/Thai/Indonesian

What does it mean to go “Against The Grain?”

“Going ‘Against The Grain’ to me means creating nontraditional solutions to complex issues. The act of going against the grain usually involves completing something truly unconventional and perhaps even doubted by many. Moreover, going ‘Against The Grain’ refers to a leader or entrepreneur’s ability to proactively innovate solutions and think ‘outside of the box’ in the face of doubt and tradition. “

How do you go “Against The Grain?”

“I go ‘Against The Grain’ by pursuing entrepreneurial solutions to complex issues. My ‘Against The Grain’ journey began in a volunteer role with the LA Conservation Corps to support their mission of empowering at-risk young adults and minority groups within the LA region through conservation workforce development. I brainstormed a native plant nursery concept, intended to supplement the city’s landscaping demands while also creating another LACC revenue stream. This would allow the organization to streamline their current operations with the City of LA and increase funding for their workforce development efforts. At first, various members within the management team were doubtful, citing the stringent rules that govern nonprofit organizations and the apparent operational risk. However, through integration, cooperation, and communication with stakeholders, the LA nursery garden concept became viable. What started as an experiential learning activity transformed into a business plan and then a pitch to social enterprise funds. Through these fundraising events, the nursery concept netted the venture over $150,000 in startup seed capital and proposed social impact lending.”


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Angelina Retodo | Castro Valley, CA | 18 years old | GPA: 4.26 | Intended major: Animation | California College of the Arts| Thai/Filipino

What does it mean to go “Against The Grain?

“To go ‘Against The Grain’ is to challenge the expectations of society by carving your own path and taking risks so you can fully express an experience that is individual to yourself. Those that go against the grain often evolve into architects of our future, since they have the willpower to sculpt society to their vision and introduce the world to a new perspective. The battle against complacency is often difficult, and requires innovative thinking and experimentation without fear of failure. It is those that overcome this battle that become remarkable people who truly go against the grain.”

How do you go “Against The Grain?”

“Throughout history, artists have remodeled their interpretations of the status quo into new ideas that reflect their own reality. In effect, the work of artists often sparks new ideas for the world and future artists to indulge in. Through this creative process, artists become natural forward thinkers who make it their prerogative to go against the grain and truly introduce themselves to the world. It is through this continuous staircase of artists building upon the vestiges of the past to create the new that has allowed art to cultivate the world that we live in today and the future we will live tomorrow. As an artist myself, I plan to leave my own footprints within society, by combining my own inspirations and experiences with the fascinating magic of animation. By pursuing a career that allows me to create stories and entire worlds for others to enjoy I hope to use animation to share my own wisdom and project my own interpretations of the human experience to others. As an aspiring animator, I hope to dedicate my life to creating something special and true to my own identity, while empowering future generations as well.”  


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Kevin Tyan | Somerville, MA | 25 years old | GPA: 3.84 | MD | Harvard Medical School | Taiwanese/Singaporean

What does it mean to go “Against The Grain?”  

“Going ‘Against The Grain’ means innovating in a space that is resistant to change while maintaining steady faith that your work will ultimately benefit the lives of many. It requires one to have the audacity to disrupt traditional industries, shed light on fundamental flaws in the system, and advance new solutions. Going ‘Against The Grain’ embodies the ethos of what I have strived for through entrepreneurship, and is the mindset that has helped me overcome failures, grow beyond inexperience, and contribute my unique perspective to some of the world’s most pressing problems.”

How do you go “Against The Grain?”

“My experience as an inventor and founder of Kinnos has been intensely formative. From working to protect Ebola fighters to expanding our mission towards reducing healthcare associated infections, these past few years have allowed me to learn and grow beyond the traditional classroom. By inventing a new color-changing disinfection method and helping to deploy it on the front lines of Ebola epidemics, I have gone ‘Against The Grain’ through eschewing a traditional career path and bringing change to outdated methods in dire need of innovation.

Through this entire experience of starting Kinnos, both my perception of the healthcare field and my self-expectations have evolved. Initially, I viewed the physician’s role as the important, yet singular task of healing patients. Now, I see that I can contribute to medicine not just by treating my patients, but also by devising solutions to challenges in healthcare. Few are better equipped than physicians to live through and diagnose the shortfalls of the healthcare system. I hope to go ‘Against The Grain’ in the medical profession by not only treating people and saving lives, but also improving its methods and tools through entrepreneurship.”  


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Kevin Ung |San Jose, CA | 30 years old | GPA: 3.43 | MFA Film & TV Production | University of Southern California | Chinese-Cambodian

What does it mean to go “Against The Grain?”

“Going ‘Against The Grain’ is doing something that scares you, because it isn’t expected of you. Asian Americans are supposed to be America’s ‘model minority’: smart and obedient to a fault. I reject this—this is not who we are—we are unique individuals with fascinating stories. With this scholarship, I will show the world that Asian Americans have unique stories that deserve to be told.”

How do you go “Against The Grain?”

“I go ‘Against The Grain’ by never giving up my filmmaking dreams after almost a decade of working and always keeping film close to my heart. It is a dream that isn’t typically expected of a child of refugees, but it is one that I am intent on pursuing. There needs to be more Asian American representation in Hollywood and that is exactly what I plan to do. The Asian Americans before me paved the way, and I plan to further their progress so that future generations will be confident that people care about our stories. I will try to break down barriers to show the world that Asian Americans can and will be a driving force in cinema and entertainment. There are very real racial barriers in Hollywood, and there is a lot of work to be done. I’ve been warned by others from working in Hollywood because of my ethnicity, but if not now, then when? It’s about time the world sees Asian American stories, and I aim to help make this a reality.”

Meet our 2019 ATG Scholarship Finalists

Through our Scholarship Program, ATG proudly awards Artistic, Groundbreaker Leadership, #LiveLikeLyly and the Lily Pabilona Emerging Entrepreneur Scholarships to a select group of amazing Asian American high school seniors, college undergraduate and graduate school students who are shining examples of what it means to go Against The Grain. Since 2011, we have awarded more than $65,000 in scholarships. Our selection committee reviews a combination of criteria: GPA, extracurricular activities, portfolio, essay and letters of recommendation. Finalists are given a phone interview before deciding who will be our actual winners. Winners will be announced here and on Facebook, so stay tuned…

Meet Our 2019 Scholarship Finalists:

  • Alina Dong
  • Katherine Hui
  • Andrea Liu
  • Marty Loh-Deschaumes
  • David Malinowski
  • Juliet Ortiz
  • Angelina Retodo
  • Jeiying Tong
  • Kevin Tyan
  • Kevin Ung
Read more

2019 Heritage Camp Recap – “Sights and Sounds of SEAPI”

Opening Ceremony at Assembly Hall

ATG Co-Director of Community Outreach Hue Dao and Ambassador Carol Nguyen returned to participate as workshop presenters at the Southeast Asian/Pacific Islander Heritage Camp (SEAPI) on August 1-4. This is their shared experience at camp and how the ATG team made an impact on this year’s events.

“We were given such a warm welcome on our return to SEAPI Heritage Camp this year. Many organizers and parents were excited to be assigned to help us teach NINE workshops throughout the weekend. We were told that being ATG assistants are a coveted role each year! This was the first time we were teaching in the Longhouse cabin, which was a challenging space due to it not being a true kitchen. However, our coordinator Kristi Kremer made sure we had everything we needed way in advance, and the space was set-up with butane burners, pans, and all the cooking utensils for class.

We taught a diverse range of ages, 1st graders to high schoolers, and a few cooking classes for adults. The theme for 2019 was “Sights & Sounds of SEAPI,” so we spoke about how along with our sense of taste, the senses of sight and hearing also play important roles in how we enjoy eating food. The goal was for everyone to make and decorate a stuffed rice balls that would then be judged on use of color, texture, and creativity. Some of the techniques we taught were how to flip food in a pan, seasoning the filling, stuffing the rice balls, and prepping veggies a variety of ways to enable fun decorations. We were even taught our adult campers how to make puffed rice noodles! The process for each workshop included: 1) make the stuffed rice balls, 2) decorate the base and anchor of the plate, 3) decorate the rice balls. We were so impressed by all the fun creations (many cute animals)! We were touched when several parents came to us afterwards to say that their kids were excited to try making them together at home. After our final workshop, we still had toasted almonds left, so we taught an impromptu class on how to make a smoky/salty almond brittle.

Songkran Time!

The schedule on Saturday allowed a few free hours for Hue to participate in the annual and epic Songkran (water balloon fight)! The ability to breathe in fresh air, view mountains in the background, and delightfully chuck a water balloon at your camp bestie as they are distracted while refilling their water canon — pure delight.

As the camp continues to grow and incorporate more culture from other countries in Southeast Asia and Pacific Islands, we continually meet and connect with other organizations and families that help bring authenticity to the camp. On Friday night, we were invited to the Thai cabin, and were treated to a delicious homemade meal of larb and Thai beef jerky. After a lovely conversation that lasted well into the evening, their generosity extended to giving us their extra garlic for our workshop, and a full bag of homegrown mint. On Saturday, we were invited to the Filipino cabin for a traditional boodle fight. The preparation for this bounty had taken all day and included fresh fruits (pineapple, jack fruit, mangos), fried fish, panic, chicken adobo, beef and vegetable stir fry, lumpia, purple potato, stews, cassava cakes, and fried coconut mochi. It was a feast for our eyes and our souls. 

Packed room for the dragon dance!

The final night was as festive as ever. The gala showcased a huge team of dragon and lion dancers, a hip hop dance troupe from California, and a hilarious skit performed by the campers. The goodbyes were emotional as we see them all growing up each year, standing taller, and asking more poignant questions. As always, we were humbled to be asked to share our knowledge with Heritage Camp. But we will always lovingly play our part in teaching and encouraging pride in heritage and identity.”

Support our efforts at Camp by donating today!

Celebrating a Decade of Impact at ATG’s 10th Fashion for a Passion Finale

    Photo | Paul Mai – Dia Media

Oct. 5, 2018 (DALLAS) – Dallas-based non-profit Against The Grain Productions celebrated its milestone 10th and final Fashion for a Passion presented by Audi Dallas on Saturday, September 22nd at sixty five hundred, giving longtime and new guests alike a memorable experience and intimate glimpse into how the organization has affected change for over a decade.  Through sponsorships, ticket sales, live and silent auctions, a raffle and additional donations, more than 350 glamorous guests gathered together to raise more than $40,000 net to benefit ATG’s giving budget in 2019, which includes supporting orphanages and underprivileged children in Asia, a scholarship fund, media projects and community outreach programs. Over the past decade, ATG has given more than a quarter of a million dollars to help these causes.

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Announcing the 10th Fashion for a Passion Artist Line-up

Dallas-based non-profit ATG Against The Grain Productions is proud to announce its 10th Fashion for a Passion line-up of Exhibiting Artists. The roster of Asian American artists practice a variety of media and includes a mix of emerging talent and established legends. Fashion for a Passion, which serves the organization’s mission to support and provide a platform for emerging Asian American artists, will take place Saturday, September 22, at sixty five hundred near Love Field Airport.

Guests of Fashion for a Passion will have the opportunity to bid on each artist’s work through a silent auction. Proceeds from the silent auction and tickets to the event will benefit ATG’s supported orphanages and underprivileged children in Asia, artistic and leadership scholarship fund and community outreach programs.

This year’s Fashion for a Passion emcees include veteran Ben Smithee (CEO of The Smithee Group), Hillary Kennedy (Emmy Award winning Host and style blogger) and Allyn Hoang (Emmy Award winning Journalist).

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Meet Our 10th Fashion for a Passion Performers

Dallas-based nonprofit Against The Grain Productions is proud to announce the line-up of entertainers for their 10th (and final) Fashion for a Passion charity event, which will hosted on Saturday, September 22, at sixty five hundred near Love Field Airport. This year’s charity event will feature the talents of three strong American musical performers who are past audience stand-out favorites.

This year’s Fashion for a Passion emcees include veteran Ben Smithee (CEO of The Smithee Group), Hillary Kennedy (Emmy Award winning Host and style blogger) and Allyn Hoang (Emmy Award winning Journalist). The evening includes a fashion show with live auction, raffle, art exhibit, tasty bites by Chef Uno of Chino Chinatown & Red Stix and sips by Roxor Gin.

Proceeds from the evening’s ticket sales, art and lives auctions as well as generous sponsors benefit ATG’s supported orphanages and underprivileged children in Asia, scholarships for student artists and leaders and community outreach programs in the U.S. to inspire, educate and entertain the community.

General Admission and VIP Reserved Tickets range from $75 to $150 and are on sale at www.AgainstTheGrainProductions.com/events/ffap.

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Meet our 2018 ATG Scholarship Winners

 

Through our Scholarship Program, ATG proudly awards Artistic, Groundbreaker Leadership, #LiveLikeLyly and most recently the Lily Pabilona Emerging Entrepreneur scholarships to a select group of amazing Asian American high school seniors, college undergraduate and graduate school students who are shining examples of what it means to go Against The Grain. Since 2011, we have awarded more than $60,000 in scholarships. Our selection committee reviews a combination of criteria: GPA, extracurricular activities, portfolio, essay and letters of recommendation. Finalists are given a phone interview before deciding who will be our actual winners.  We are truly proud of this exceptional group and look forward to all that we know they will accomplish for their vocation and for the Asian American community in the future.

Meet Our 2018 Scholarship Winners:

  • Dan Ta – Groundbreaker Leadership Scholarship
  • Jana “Sze Ching” Choi – Artistic Scholarship
  • Isaiah Wu – Artistic Scholarship
  • Aaron Geldert – Pat & Bruce McRae Artistic Scholarship
  • Isabella Li Kostrzewa – #LiveLikeLyly Memorial Scholarship
  • Jasmine Cho – Lily Pabilona Emerging Entrepreneur Scholarship

Read more

Meet Our 2018 Scholarship Finalists

Through our Scholarship Program, ATG proudly awards Artistic, Groundbreaker Leadership, #LiveLikeLyly and most recently the Lily Pabilona Emerging Entrepreneur scholarships to a select group of amazing Asian American high school seniors, college undergraduate and graduate school students who are shining examples of what it means to go Against The Grain. Since 2011, we have awarded more than $60,000 in scholarships. Our selection committee reviews a combination of criteria: GPA, extracurricular activities, portfolio, essay and letters of recommendation. Finalists are given a phone interview before deciding who will be our actual winners. Winners will be announced in our 2018 August e-Newsletter, so stay tuned…

Meet Our 2018 Scholarship Finalists:

  • Dan Ta
  • Amy Jiravisitcal
  • Derek Chung
  • Jana “Sze Ching” Choi
  • Isabella Li Kostrzewa
  • Jasmine Cho
  • Joseph Zhang
  • Ashley Zhu
  • Isaiah Wu
  • Aaron Geldert

Read more

Postcards from 2018 SEAPI Camp

In mid July, our ATG Tribe flew to Estes Park, Colorado to present at Southeast Asian/Pacific Islander Heritage Camp as a part of Heritage Camps for Adoptive Families. We are proud and honored to help adoptee youth spend a few days in the summer connecting with their heritage, bonding with new friends and participating in enriching activities.

Here are some of their memories about this wonderful trip:

“Stronger side by side was the theme of the camp this year. We represented that theme weaving in the food, dances, culture and traditions at Southeast Asian Pacific Islander Heritage (SEAPI) Camp. The parents and students all thoroughly enjoyed ATG’s cooking workshops taught by Carol, Hue and Jennifer. It was a hands-on approach that unified and differentiated the significant beef dishes of each country where campers are most represented at the camp – Bo Luc Lac from Vietnam, Bistec Tagalog from the Philippines and Nam Tok from Thailand. They also presented the class with alternatives to address food allergies and dietary restrictions. ATG team members Jimmy, Lisa and Hue also taught the “Honoring Your Child’s Vietnamese Culture.” With Hue’s adoption background, she was speaking to the parents from personal experience. Hue brought up things that she felt students wished they could tell their parents, from a place of cultural understanding and vulnerability. After coming seven years, she has been watching students grow from young campers to counselors and presenters of workshops themselves. It was fulfilling to see them pay it forward. ~ Hue Pederson (Co-Director of Community Outreach)

“Attending SEAPI Heritage Camp with my husband and three young children for the first time was a privilege and blessing. My husband, Jimmy, and I helped facilitate the cooking workshops as well as Co-presented on the topic of ‘Honoring My Child’s Vietnamese Heritage.’ Through those experiences, we were able to connect with adoptive parents who are invested in ensuring that their adoptive and biological children have an understanding and appreciation of their birth cultures. As the Co-Director of Community Outreach and Country Advisor to Thailand for ATG, this experience impacted me greatly and reignited my passion for serving an organization where one of its goals is to provide aid to orphanages in Southeast Asia. My husband and I are already committed to volunteer at next year’s camp!” ~ Lisa Tran (Co-Director of Community Outreach, Advisor – Thailand

“This was my 1st Heritage Camp and I enjoyed meeting people from many diverse perspectives — adoptees, siblings, parents, community volunteers and alumni (to name a few).  At some point, all our backgrounds blended into one another, allowing us to soak in the beautiful environment and the company of those around us.”  ~ Jimmy Tran (former Director of Community Outreach)

“It was so wonderful to have the ATG tribe back at SEAPI Camp. A diverse group of Asian Americans fit perfectly with this year’s camp theme, “Stronger Side By Side.” Over a span of four days, the tribe presented 10 workshops including cooking, dancing, Vietnamese culture and parenting. Thank you to Carol Nguyen, Hue Pedersen, Jimmy & Lisa Tran, Jennifer Devay and Bryan Florece. You are all the role models our kids need to help build their self esteem and educate them on their heritage.” ~ Jared Rehberg (Advisor and Vietnamese Adoptee)

ATG also gave two Heritage Camp Scholarships to Mai Miller and Alex Jantzen.

 

You can help us continue this important work by donating to help offset the costs of our team’s travel and expenses.

 

Meet Our 2018 ATG Heritage and Culture Camp Scholarship Contest Winners!

SEAPI Heritage Camp: (L to R)  Mai Miller, Carol Nguyen, Alex Jantzen, Jennifer Devany and Hue Pederson

 

ATG is Proud to Announce our 2018 ATG Heritage and Culture Camp Scholarship Contest Winners!

Alex Thanh Jantzen, 11

Overland Park, Kansas

What does ‘Against The Grain’ mean to me?

It has several meanings. One of them is standing up for what you believe in – no matters what the others may think. Also, standing up for what is right. When you sand or saw wood, you can go against the grain. It’s OK to be different from others.

 

How do I go ‘Against The Grain’?

In my family, I stand out because I look different. Some kids who don’t know my family don’t realize that my sister and I are actual siblings – because I’m adopted.  Not following the crowd when they laugh at another kid is another example of going against the grain. Standing for what’s right.

 

 

Mai Miller, 17

Longmont, Colorado

 What does ‘Against The Grain’ mean to me?

To me, ‘Against The Grain’ means not letting others stop you from being yourself. This includes standing up for what you believe in and not being afraid to be different.

 

How do I go ‘Against The Grain’?
I go ‘Against The Grain’ by embracing my Vietnamese heritage. I am very proud to have been adopted from Vietnam and am always eager to share Vietnamese culture with others. Additionally,  I go ‘Against The Grain’ by not letting the opinions of others affect what I enjoy doing. I feel comfortable with being myself and will continue to be who I am without worrying about following trends.

 

 

 

Samuel Dieu Schlumpf Butler, 10

Chicago, Illinois

What does ‘Against The Grain’ mean to me?

What “against the grain” means to me is feeling and being free to love myself without any urge to follow the crowd ; a feeling of freedom and happiness of who and what I am inside and to express the true “me.” It means that I am the only person that I truly want to be.

How do I go ‘Against The Grain’?

I can be, and am going against the grain by being myself and being happy and proud of what I think of myself instead of what others think of me. I can be who I want to and stick to it by being happy of myself. Then, I will make long lasting friendships with people who respect and appreciate who I am.

For example, a kid who used to think that I was “nerdy” and “weird” ended up actually rethinking and wanting to be my friend after I started dressing goofy because it tends to make me happy and comfortable throughout the day. The next day, he walked up to me and asked if I wanted to play with him and his friends at recess. I was amazed at what being myself could change other’s perspectives and feelings about me and how wonderful it felt to be myself. In conclusion, these long lasting friends over time can help others find themselves as well. So I guess I can say that being against the grain has changed my life and how I view myself.