Category: News

Announcing the 2017 Fashion for a Passion Presenting Designer Line-up + Emcees

Dallas, TX — Against The Grain Productions is proud to announce the Presenting Designer line-up for its 9th Annual Fashion for a Passion charity event, which takes place Saturday, November 11th, at sixty five hundred located at 6500 Cedar Springs Road in Dallas. Handpicked by the ATG Board, these diverse young Asian American designers represent an exciting mix of influences and design aesthetics.

One of Dallas’ hottest fashion tickets and fall charity events, the evening showcases and celebrates emerging Asian American artists and musical performers. “We’re thrilled to be able to come together as a team and bring this amazing event to the community for the ninth year,” said President/Co-Founder Tammy Nguyen Lee. “To produce an evening like this takes a lot of heart, dedication and passion, and we are proud to collaborate with wonderful talent in front of and behind the scenes to make it happen, including one of very own Artistic Scholarship winners.”

Fashion for a Passion has become significant as a place to discover talent, becoming a launch pad for Asian American designers such as Khanh Nguyen of Nha Khanh, Hanh Dang of Lucy Dang and Jerry Matthews of Nine Muses, who have all gone on to notable fashion careers.

The evening includes a cocktail reception with entertainment, a silent auction/raffle, art exhibit, fashion show with live auction, tasty bites and sips and concludes with a wrap-party for guests to mix and mingle until midnight.

Proceeds from the evening’s ticket sales, silent, art and live auctions as well as support from 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 $50 to $125 and will be on sale at www.AgainstTheGrainProductions.com/events/ffap starting in September. Sponsorships are currently available by emailing fundraising@againstthegrainproductions.com.

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Meet Our 2017 ATG Heritage and Culture Camp Scholarship Contest Winners!

 

The ATG is proud to announce the 2017 Heritage and Culture Camp Scholarship Contest Winners.

Check out the winners.

 

Kaitlyn Fisher, 11, Parker, Colorado 

Against The Grain means to me, people asking questions regarding me being adopted, about my birth mom, and being Micronesian.  My life is not the same as my friends and I often times have to explain how it’s normal having an adoptive mom and a birth mom, and explain how despite I am Micronesian by ethic background, I was born in the United States. So many people think I am “from” somewhere else.

I am explain and teach people about my ethnic background and how I am really American because I was born in the United States, and how it’s okay to have both an adoptive mom and a birth mom.  I can love them both.  Attending Heritage Camp has taught me that I am not the only person adopted and have white parents.  I really am not different because there are many others just like me.

 

Madison Fisher, 11, Parker, Colorado 

Going Against The Grain means to me, doing things that other don’t expect me to do.

As a Micronesian American, I do a lot of sports and things that I don’t see other kids of my background participating in.  I have been swimming on a swim team since I was six years old and surprise people how well and how fast I swim.  Also, this year at school I tried out for Wendy in Peter Pan.  Despite I didn’t get the role, I didn’t let it stop me from trying.

 

Christian Nguyen Ebel, 11, Sulphur Bluff, Texas 

“Against The Grain” means to me, pushing it to the limit and going to the top of the mountain where there is a pot of gold, or falling to the bottom, where there is lava. It means trying your best and not giving up. It is also how you try. You have to put in a lot of effort, otherwise, it doesn’t work. If you fall in the lava, you FAIL, but in failing you learn succeeding. You learn to rethink it, to try again and to do it right. It’s like when you are progressing in life, you are becoming rich, not only in money, but rich in love and connecting with people. When you are not progressing, you are feeling depressed and sad. But you have to try, to keep going, keep moving forward. It’s like try, fail, try, fail, SUCCEED! Don’t be like everyone else, being you is right.

I went “Against The Grain” by taking an educational trip to India last year. I wanted to help the kids in the slums by raising money for them. It took a lot of trying – 3 whole months to make the campaign video. I fixed my mind on it and raised $6,000 for the trip and donated money to Manav Sadhna at the Gandhi Ashram. They serve underprivileged kids in Ahmedabad. I changed India by a small portion. I just wrote a book about my experience in India and will donate proceeds from my book to my friends’ film http://stoppingtrafficfilm.com/ to stop human trafficking.

 

Maeve Doubleday-Bush, 11, Glenwood Springs, Colorado 

Going Against The Grain means to me, that you don’t always have to fit in. You can be different from the others and you don’t have to listen to the mean things that other people are saying about you or your friends. This is not easy, but you need to trust and follow your instincts even if it is tough. You can work it out. Find a way to have fun even if others don’t want to hang out with you. You know you are doing the right thing. It really is their issue not yours.

Do the right thing and follow my instincts even when it is truly difficult. I don’t break the rules. I like to follow the rules. If the rules make no sense or seem overly strict, then rather than break the rules I will figure out a way to get them changed or make them work. Sometimes my friends and the other kids will break the rules, it doesn’t mean that I will, even if my friends are upset with me. I won’t bend to peer pressure. I don’t let my friends talk me into doing something I know is not right. Sometimes it means I have to be alone or go play with different people but I know I am doing the right thing.

 

Ian Gahagan, 10, Wales, Wisconsin

What does ‘Against The Grain’ mean to me? To me, against the grain means people should not care what heritage other people are from. It’s what’s inside that counts. If you see someone being racist, ignore them. They don’t know who you really are like the famous saying you can’t judge a book by its cover. That means you don’t know someone ’til you know them as a person, in person.

How do I go ‘Against The Grain’? How I go against the grain, is if I see someone being racist, I would say “How would you feel if someone did that to you and are you really making the right choice?” If it gets physical, use the self-defense we learned at Culture Camp. In all, go against the grain, don’t go with the crowd, but stand up for what is right.

 

Aran Balzer, 11, Aurora, Colorado

What does ‘Against The Grain’ mean to me? It means being different than other people.

How do I go ‘Against The Grain’? I can live my life according to what I think and know is right instead of worrying about what others think of me.

 

Maekhala Balzer, 9, Aurora, Colorado

What does ‘Against The Grain’ mean to me? To make a difference in the world.

How do I go ‘Against The Grain’? I can be myself.

 

Tassanee Balzer, 9, Aurora, Colorado

What does ‘Against The Grain’ mean to me? To be different in a good way

How do I go ‘Against The Grain’? I can make a difference in the world by helping people.

 

Keira Gahagan, 7, Wales, Wisconsin 

What does ‘Against The Grain’ mean to me? If people are doing something that’s not right, don’t do it and tell them they are making the wrong choice and why. If they don’t listen, I would get the adult that’s in charge and tell them that those kids are making the wrong choice.

If kids are doing something unsafe, I would tell them they should stop doing that because they could hurt themselves or trip and fall. If they don’t stop after I ask them twice, I would report it to a teacher because it was the wrong choice and it was unsafe.

How do I go ‘Against The Grain’? If someone is making fun of someone I would say “Hey, I think you’re hurting that person’s feelings. I think you should stop.” One day at school, my friend L. was having trouble pronouncing the words thirty-five. Six people were making fun of her pronouncing those words. I said “I think you are hurting her feelings. I think you should stop. I don’t think she likes it”. They didn’t stop. They kept making fun of how she was pronouncing it. My friend acted like she didn’t care and kept working. I told the teacher a few minutes later that I told them to stop, but they did not. Whenever I was around my friend L., and other kids were around her, I never heard or saw kids make fun of her for the rest of the year.

 

2017 Underprivileged Children and Orphanage Aid Spring Update: Vietnam

ATG began the year of 2017 by selecting 32 orphans from various schools of Hai Chanh District, a very poor town of Quang Tri, a war-torn province in Central Vietnam. Since Tết (Luna New Year)’s approaching, we included in the gift packages Jasmine rice, milk, and some Tet’s special sweet treats (Mứt) to help these children celebrate Tết. Each gift package cost only 405,000VND, but sure brought to these children much happiness.

In March, Mang Phan, a retired teacher and ATG volunteer in Quang Tri, worked with various school districts to select 310 students from 18 different schools for a distribution of gift packages. These students had lost one or both parents and were from “extremely poor” or “poor” classified families. Our volunteer surveyed their needs and decided upon the gift packages, which this time were comprised of school backpacks, a set of clothes for the summer, school supplies, 10kg of Jasmine rice and milk. For the 92 Kindergarten students, we provided each of them with a school backpack and a larger supply of milk instead of rice. Each gift package cost approximately 340,000VND.

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Apply Today for the 2017 ATG Culture/Heritage Camp Scholarship

Heritage Camp
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The 2017 Against The Grain Vietnamese and Thai Heritage Camp Scholarship application process is officially open! Following our support of orphanages and underprivileged children in Asia, Against The Grain also provides scholarships here at home to ten young Asian American adoptees each year to attend culture camps such as Catalyst Foundation’s Vietnamese Culture Camp and Heritage Camps for Adoptive Families SEAPI (Southeast Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Camp). Last year, we raised $1,000, allowing ten youths to spend a few days in the summer connecting with their heritage, bonding with new friends and participating in enriching activities for this year’s Heritage and Culture Camps.
Eligibility: Proof of camp registration with Catalyst Foundation’s Vietnamese Culture Camp and HCAF SEAPI Heritage Camp. Sorry, past recipients are not eligible for this year’s scholarship.
Due Date: Saturday, July 1, 2017
Application: Simply submit the following in an email to outreach@againstthegrainproductions.com.
– Name of Applicant
– Age of Applicant
– City and State
– Photo of Applicant
– Question 1: What does ‘Against The Grain’ mean to me?
– Question 2: How do I go ‘Against The Grain’?

Going Against The Grain: Hoang-Kim Cung


Hoang-Kim Cung is a reporter and fill-in anchor at WTKR News 3, a CBS affiliate in the Virginia Beach area. She is a former Miss Nebraska USA and was the first Vietnamese-American woman to compete at Miss USA in 2015. When she’s not reporting in the newsroom, she’s working on her fashion & lifestyle blog colorandchic.com. She believes in helping men and women find clothes they feel confident and powerful in and living an elevated, positive lifestyle. At WTKR News 3, Hoang-Kim has been able to affect change through her stories. She also had the honor of flying in an F/A 18 Hornet with the U.S. Navy Blue Angels. She is also passionate about raising money for wounded South Vietnamese Veterans living in communist Vietnam.

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Orphanage and Underprivileged Children Aid Update: Thailand

Thanks to our aid advisor to Thailand, Lisa Tran, and our ambassador Yui Yud, ATG was able to make a small disbursement of $550 in aid over the Christmas holidays to The Mercy Center, which is located in central Bangkok, Thailand in an area called Klong Toey, an area which is synonymous to the large slum community that lives here. According to a report done by Borgen magazine in 2014, the area is “one of the country’s 5,500 slum communities, covers an area of around a square mile and is home to around 100,000 people.” (http://www.borgenmagazine.com/bangkoks-klong-toey-slum/)

“Around 20 percent of Bangkok’s residents live in illegal squatter settlements all around the city. Dating back from the 1950s, Klong Toey is one of the country’s oldest and most well-known slums. Many inhabitants of Klong Toey originate from the country’s poorer northeast who have been attracted by the work opportunities of the district’s river port, Bangkok’s largest wet market, the business district as well as the oil refineries in nearby districts. Aside from poverty, drug addiction is a very pressing problem among the slum’s youth. Methamphetamine and crystal methamphetamine are the two most common hard drugs. Furthermore, basic amenities such as water and electricity are always in short supply.

In Klong Toey, an average household earns only around half of the national average and only around one-third of the income an average Bangkok household. Moreover, the living condition within the slum is also truly appalling. Against the backdrop of the intense and humid tropical heat of over-urbanized Bangkok accompanied with the putrefying odor of the city’s sewage system, the residents of Klong Toey experience murders, abuse, petty and serious crimes, drug addictions, unmanaged waste, unemployment and grinding poverty on a regular basis. Garbage and undrained sewage clogging litter the slum community and elderly and people with disabilities sitting in front of their makeshift tin shack houses.

As many inhabitants lack the skills and the recognized qualifications necessary to achieve social mobility, breaking away from the vicious cycle of poverty is incredibly difficult. To make matters worse, in Thailand—one of the global centers of human trafficking and sex trade—many residents of Klong Toey find their livelihood in the informal sector, some of which are illicit.

In Thailand, it is estimated that a third of the country’s working age population work in the informal sector, an umbrella category that includes everything from black market illegal businesses to selling garlands and street food.This means that a large part of country’s working population do not have any retirement plans, health insurance or any other social benefits. It is also estimated that 2.5 million children in Thailand are absent from school. Certainly social welfare and human development concerns are among the some of the most pressing issues of the country. Nevertheless, with Thailand’s “larger” political and economic problems, these “smaller” issues are hardly discussed and many urbanites are unaware of their existence.”

Read more: http://www.timetravelturtle.com/2013/01/klong-toey-slum-bangkok-helping-hands/

The Mercy Center’s Mission:

We work to help the children and communities of the many slums of Bangkok. Together with our neighbors in the slums we create simple-but-progressive solutions that touch the lives of thousands of the poor every day. We build and operate schools, improve family health and welfare, protect street children’s rights, combat the AIDS crisis, respond to daily emergencies, and offer shelter to orphans, to street children, and to children and adults with AIDS – always together, hand in hand and heart to heart with the people we serve.

As reported by Yui Yud: “After a number of phone calls with the staff at the Mercy Center, I found them to be very dedicated in their mission to help promote education to unfortunate children. They have set up their main office/home in the center of the Klong Toey slums which provides a home to around 200 children aged 3-18. This center also has a significant education center, with many classrooms, an art room, computer room, nursing station and a cafeteria. The education facility is provided for the children that live in the home, as well as other slum kids in the area whom are unable to afford outside education. Apart from the center at this location, they have up to 23 centers around the country which provide basic education for up to 3000 children between the age of 2-6. Many of the children whom come to their schools are not orphans, but families whom can’t afford education. Another interesting program they have is called Construction Camp. The concept is like a mobile school van which visits children at construction sites. Generally, these are migrant families from Cambodia and Myanmar whom come to find more income and bring their children along. Rather than having the children run around the construction sites all day, these vans visit the sites with teachers and provide the kids with some learning tools for the day. There are currently 9 camps at the moment.”

 

 

 

 

 

There are also many other programs that are run by the Mercy Center:

  • Janusz Korczak School of S.E. Asia – a non-formal school for street children
  • Legal Aid Centre for poor children
  • A community drop-in center for the elderly, the handicapped, adults living with HIV, children in trouble or afraid, anyone in need.
  • School Sponsorships. Over 500 primary and secondary school sponsorships for the poorest neighborhood children in Bangkok
  • Hospice Team for home visits to children and adults living with HIV
  • And many others (visit: http://www.mercycentre.org/en/home/programs-at-a-glance)

Thank you to Lisa, Yui and to you for your generous donations so we can continue this important work. Please continue to donate to our cause here. 

Celebrating Asian American Talent for a Cause at ATG’s 8th Annual Fashion for a Passion

Photo | Dr. Jarvis Jacobs
Photo | Dr. Jarvis Jacobs

Nov. 7, 2016 (DALLAS) – Fashion for a Passion presented by Audi Dallas gave guests from all over the Dallas community a fresh take on Asian American fashion, music and art at its 8th annual event on Oct. 29 at new venue sixty five hundred. Through sponsorships, ticket sales, live and silent auctions, a raffle and additional donations, more than 350 glamorous guests gathered together to raise more than $26,000 net, all of which benefit the mission of Against The Grain Productions, a Dallas-based non-profit, with its supported orphanages and underprivileged children in Asia, scholarship fund and community outreach programs for 2017.

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Join the 2017 ATG Tribe – Applications due Fri Dec 9th

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Professional. Committed. Passionate. Great Time Management. Excellent follow through. Mature. Resourceful. Creative. ATG Attitude. #beCAUSE

Are you looking to make a difference? Want to get more involved with the community? Want to make amazing friends, have life changing experiences and feed your soul? As we gear up for an important year ahead and a return to our production roots with a new documentary, ATG is currently recruiting skilled, enthusiastic, dedicated, disciplined and experienced leaders who have the necessary time to join our 2017 ATG Tribe!

APPLICATIONS ARE DUE FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9!

DOWNLOAD THE 2017 ATG TRIBE APPLICATION

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Meet Our 2016 Fashion for a Passion Performers

Dallas-based nonprofit Against The Grain Productions is proud to announce the lineup of performers for their eighth annual Fashion for a Passion charity event on Saturday, Oct. 29, at sixty five hundred near Love Field Airport. This year’s show will feature a wide variety of Asian American talent, including two youth acts, an emerging local singer and the return of last year’s popular violin sensation Yut and The Hot Four.

“Every year, our lineup of talented performers just gets better and better,” said Against The Grain President Tammy Nguyen Lee. “We are excited to change it up with the addition of seven-year-old hip hop dancer Ayden Nguyen and the musical stylings of adorable pop singers The Sun and Stars, one of whom is the daughter of Chef Uno Immanivong of Chino Chinatown, who will be catering our event with delicious vegan-friendly fare.”

This year’s Fashion for a Passion emcees include veteran Ben Smithee (CEO of The Smithee Group) and Dr. Diana Tran-Yu (former Ms. Asia Houston), both past panelists for ATG’s other signature event Groundbreakers Speak: A Conversation with Asian American Movers and Shakers. The evening includes a fashion show with live auction, raffle, art exhibit, tasty bites and sips and will again conclude with an extended wrap party for guests, artists and volunteers to mix and mingle until midnight.

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 $65 to $125 and are on sale at www.AgainstTheGrainProductions.com/events/ffap until Oct. 28.

The 8th Annual Fashion for a Passion Musical Talent Line-Up:

Ayden NguyenAyden Nguyen

Ayden Nguyen is a seven-year-old dancer, actor and model from Garland, Texas. From a very young age, Ayden has always been a natural performer, entertainer and lover of dance. Those characteristics have launched him onto a path that leads directly into the entertainment industry. He enjoys all aspects of performing and juggles a pretty hectic schedule of school, photo shoots, casting calls and auditions, rehearsals, soccer and dance training. He has been in several print ad campaigns for department stores such as Belk, JCPenney and Neiman Marcus. He has also been featured in various industry videos for Chuck E. Cheese and Hasbro. His main passion is dance, hip-hop specifically, and he has trained with some of the best choreographers in the world – even having the opportunity to dance on stage with Justin Bieber.

Ultimately, he’s just a little boy with very big dreams.  Follow Ayden on his journey, to make his dreams come true.

Instagram | @ayden_nguyen
Facebook | aydentnguyen
YouTube | AydensDanceChannel
About 6 year old Ayden Nguyen (Jan 2016)


a2367410437_10Mijee Park

Mijee Park is a Korean American singer-songwriter based out of Richardson, Texas. With a mother who played piano and a father who played guitar, it only made sense for Mijee to pick up and learn from her parents. As a little girl, she sang and jammed out with her parents, started writing her own music and performing at her church choir. At 15, Mijee started working with producer Sang Ham at UG Productions, eventually performing alongside artists such as Joseph Vincent and Decipher. Outside of music, she is working on a nursing degree at the University of Texas at Austin.


The Sun and Stars

The Sun and Stars

This young band was created when two best friends Ryan Fox and Emma Immanivong came together to share their love for music. Inspired by the movie “Pitch Perfect”, the girls started harmonizing and mashing up popular songs. This led them to write their own music and discover their own distinct style. Through the encouragement of friends and family, they are now performing at various events and mainstream venues. Check out their performance here: http://youtu.be/V1VKSPfDYuE .

#sunandstarsband #youngandtalented #kidscandoanything


Jessica KimJessica Kim

Jessica Kim is a registered nurse living in Dallas, Texas, who is currently pursuing her Masters in Nursing. She is passionate about promoting health and wellness and enjoys working out and singing in her free time. This is the first year she has actively pursued her singing career and is excited to be a part of the ATG family! Feel free to follow and support her on Instagram | Jellykimbeans.

Yut - Photo

Yut Chia

Yut Chia is a Colombian violinist of Chinese descent, who came to New York City at the age of three in pursuit of the American Dream. As a young child, he was inspired by classical music that he heard and had always wanted to play the violin. However, despite a lifelong interest in the violin, he did not have the opportunity to start playing till the age of 12.

Chia began his classical training and eventually attended Queens College with full scholarship, under mentorship from renowned professors including Daniel Philips (The Orion String Quartet). His hard work and talent paid off. Chia started to make a name for himself through playing in the subways. He gained recognition as an up and coming violinist to watch through numerous major media outlets including The New York Daily News, The New York Times and the front page of aol.com.

As leader and founder,  Chia was inspired to form Yut and the Hot Four because he wanted to entertain people and to reach new audiences.

About ATG Against The Grain Productions, Inc.

ATG Against The Grain Productions, a Dallas-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, promotes Asian American cultural awareness through compelling media projects and raises funds for international orphanages and underprivileged children. In addition to hosting outreach events, it also awards annual scholarships to exemplary Asian American student artists and leaders. ATG produced the feature documentary, Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam, which has screened at more than a dozen film festivals nationwide and received the Audience Choice Award for Best Feature Film at the Vietnamese International Film Festival and the Documentary Audience Choice Award from the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival. For more information, visit www.AgainstTheGrainProductions.com or www.TheBabylift.com.

#ATGProds   #FFAP2016   #beCAUSE

www.AgainstTheGrainProductions.com/Events/FFAP

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Going Against The Grain: Chef Uno Immanivong

chef-uno

Chef Uno is the owner of Chino Chinatown in Trinity Groves. She was on “ABC’s The Taste” competing on Anthony Bourdain’s team and a regular on EyeOpener TV sharing her unique recipes. She started her culinary career when she founded Foodie Couture, a cooking entertainment and catering company.

Ultimately Uno’s food journey was inspired by her mother who catered to make ends meet. Uno observed the art of creating every dish, along with the happiness that resulted from each bite. The kitchen is where Uno spent most of her childhood, learning and understanding Southeastern Asia ingredients while cooking with her mom. Chino Chinatown’s menu is a result of Chef Uno’s passion for cooking and her Latin twist on classic Asian dishes.

Talent runs deep in this family, too. Join us at Fashion for a Passion as Chef Uno’s daughter Emma joins our performer lineup with her group The Sun and Stars!

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