Meet The Team

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Amanda
Sengdara

Secretary

"As a first generation Lao-American, I have always coveted my Lao culture.   I am incredibly thankful for my family and peers that encourage me to celebrate our heritage.

 

Without them, I would not have the sense of identity or confidence that I have now. With organizations like LAO UNY, we have a greater opportunity to ensure that our culture is not dismissed.

 

Through education and shared experiences, we are able to prosper and instill the Lao culture. I look forward to serving on the board again this year to aid in establishing a greater impact on our community. "

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Kelly
Bornt

Marketing

Chair

"By trade, I am a Social Media Manager with an extensive background in marketing. I’m a native of Upstate NY and I spent 12 years living and working in Laos, where I still co-own a business in Vientiane. I explored all parts of the country, and much of this was done by sharing food, stories and daily life with local Lao people. Now, that I have returned to NY but also in the role of a mom of two 1/2 Lao kids, I think it is extremely important to share knowledge and resources for future generations of Lao-Americans. Simply said, at the end of the day my motivation is for not only my kids but all “Dek Lao” to stay proud of their Lao roots. I look forward to using my work experience in marketing to grow and promote LAOUNY." 

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Jennifer
Hoang

Treasurer

"I've always had an affinity for financial management. As a current business owner I hope to fulfill my role as LAO UNY'S new Treasurer bringing those skill sets to the team. I am looking forward to leading in the provision of the organization's fiscal health & growth in this next term."

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Manila
Southammavong

Vice Chair

"Lao American representation is vital to solidifying our existence here in America. Being able to safely celebrate our heritage allows us the comfort to explore our space within the larger community. As a father, I believe it is my duty to help my children and our younger generation develop their own sense of identity so we can all experience the benefits of a more enriched community." 

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Oudomphone Breeda
Phoummany

Chairman

"Growing up is hard enough as it is.  Growing up Lao-American with limited access to education or knowledge on the motherland of Laos, presented a unique set of challenges for myself which left many questions unanswered throughout adulthood.  A lifelong pursuit to fully understand my own representation within the community and it's cultural history is the single most motivating factor for having dedicated so many years of my life to community advocacy.

 

Through fortunate circumstances I have had the opportunity to make connections with diaspora contributors across the nation who have inspired me to tell my own story with pride and confidence.  

 

LAO UNY was founded with hopes of creating a greater sense of community, by bridging the gap.  With the intent of connecting Lao Americans to their roots and story.  By connecting Lao to other Lao.  Closing the gap of understanding between youths and their elders.  Narrowing the gap between themselves and their communities by providing the space for them to cherish their identities and indulge in the beauty of their heritage while learning how to share it with pride with the rest of the world."

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WHO WE ARE

Committed to Making a Difference

We are are formally organized Not for Profit 501(c)7 classified Social Club who's members are individuals that work together to develop our communities.  Through advocacy and volunteering we work to enhance and ensure the enrichment of it's community members lives by hosting experiential events highlighting cultural heritage and traditions of Lao Americans (Lao Am) in Upstate New York.

We are a non partisan, non denominational organization that wants to promote inclusivity to foster the continued growth of our community.  Our focus is to provide a space to learn, live, engage, and celebrate the beauty and heritage of the Lao cultural identity.

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Our Story

LIVE. LAO. ENGAGE. SHARE

In 2017, a group of friends got together and decided to help raise money for Legacies of War (www. Legaciesofwar.org)  and The Friend's Children's Hospital in Luang Prabang, Laos.  (www.fwab.org).

We were a team of 6 supported by a team of volunteers and our community.  The response we received was overwhelming.   We sold out our event in less than 1 week after posting links for online ticket purchases and raised a record amount of funds from our community to donate to not 1, but 2 charitable organizations which linked us ( Lao Am community, family,  and friends) to our ancestral homeland. 

All of this passion & support showed us that we needed a platform for the local Lao Am Community to connect, celebrate,  and highlight cultural heritage.  This platform is unique from current organizations because we are not a religious based society.   We hope to promote Inclusivity within our diverse community.   We welcome & embrace Lao Am to join us regardless of religious background,  or the diversity of their heritage, and encourage engagement with us regardless of age or sexual orientation. 

Join us while we embark on a journey to take our group from an idea to a formal not for profit entity.  Our long term goal is to create a physical space for the community to access and use to achieve our mission.  2019 will be the year we begin to formalize the development of LAO UNY and welcome you to be a part of it.  Your support & encouragement is crucial to our success.   

Special Thanks

To the Founding members & To our Community

Thank you to our founding members who helped us to get to where we are.  You helped to raise up the initiative to connect to our roots and embodied the spirit the LAO UNY give back. You ignited a movement of positivity that the new board will continue to build on moving forward!

A special thanks goes out to the Founding team members and all of the hard work they put into their grass roots effort in developing,  coordinating, and putting on our Inaugural LAO UNY event 'A Winter Gala'.  It was high pressure and put together in less than 3 months.   Your commitment & dedication are truly appreciated.  

 

We are forever grateful & You guys are rock solid! 

Melissa Chanthalangsy 
Krista Chounlapane 
Jaqueline Phichith
Christian Phichith
Jennifer Hoang
Paul Stanhope
Oudomphone Breeda Phoummany