Abandoned Little Angels second annual golf tournament at Wildcat was a rousing success. Over 75 golfers, board members and volunteers gathered at the course on March 24th for a day of friendly fun. A great time was had by all in the support of a great cause! This year, the golf tournament jump started our mission to raise $50,000 to assist in rebuilding Hoa Hong Center in Saigon.
The Hoa Hong Center has been in use for almost 20 years as a night time refuge for homeless street children. For close to 40 years the building has served as a school during the day. The after school and night program is the mission of Sister Thao. She has been fundamental in helping the most marginalized orphans and street children. Currently 18 orphaned children live in the center with an additional 60 street children coming to the center in the evening for meals, education, and emotional support. We will use the funds to rebuild and renovate this dilapidated, 1200 square foot building. The goal is to make a four story building so the children who live there will have a proper bedrooms and bathrooms with the first floor serving as an activity center in the evening for the children who are not residents.
Mr. Alex Chenne, father of our executive director, Frances Chenne, was a native of Saigon. He was a highly regarded member of the Asian community in Houston for 40 years. Mr. Chenne's support of service to others and education was abundantly evident in his long life. As a successful businessman in Vietnam he believed in sharing his good fortune through philanthropy. In addition to donating money, he gave much of his time and business acumen to fundraising for various causes, most notably for the building of a local hospital in Saigon.
Arriving in the USA after the fall of Saigon, Mr. Chenne retired as a businessman. He began a second long career of service with Catholic Charities and later with Asian American Family Services. While working for Catholic Charities, he helped untold numbers of families from Vietnam resettled in the US after 1975. He provided translation and counseling services to help these sometimes-traumatized families navigate and assimilate in their new homeland. For AAFS, he provided translation services for Asian families and youths in need of services such as mental health. He also helped start several service organizations in the Houston Asian Community that provide relief, support and charity up to this very day.
Mr. Chenne considered himself a lifelong learner. He believed that strong family and good education are important to a good life. He also realized that not everyone had the good fortune of a supportive family life and he wanted others to have the opportunity for a decent, dignified life regardless of their circumstances.
Mr. Chenne’s memory was honored with a donation to ALA in his name to help rebuild the Hoa Hoang Center. The donation is a fitting tribute to a man who dedicated a great deal of his life helping others less fortunate than himself.