June 6, 2012 (San Diego) — Realizing a need to have individualized enrichment programs for students, a San Diego attorney seeks to develop an education center to serve the entire family. Breana Ha, who came to the United States as a young child in 1979 as one of the boat people, said while there are several organizations serving the Vietnamese community in San Diego, there is, however, not one that provides educational services for the entire family. That idea gave birth to the Vietnamese American Center: Education, Recreation and Culture (VACERC).
“I dreamt of creating a place where I can take my entire family and there would be something for everyone to do,” she said. “Often times, parents would send their children to a Vietnamese language school but they themselves would go off somewhere to find something else to do; they’re never together as a family.”
Although the idea derived from the need to serve the Vietnamese-Americans, the center will serve cross-cultural communities focusing on quality, diversity and individuality. Modeled after the Jewish Community Center, Ha envisions the Vietnamese American Center as a place where members of the community could come to take lessons in language, music, drama, choir, dance, martial arts, arts and crafts, sports, computer, ESL, etc. The center would also offer preschool and daycare, after-school tutoring, transportation and recreational activities, such as Ping-Pong, foosball, billiard, chess, bingo, karaoke, and other fun activities for the entire family.
“I would like to dedicate a center catering to the specific needs of the entire family including grandparents, parents and children, of all age levels,” she said. “It would be a place where students could come to mentor and be mentored, and it would be a place where the community could gather for cultural and special events.”
Ha said VACERC would also be a place where exchange of cultures and ideas take place, where the community at large could come and learn more about Vietnamese and other Pan-Asian cultures, and where members of the community could come to celebrate and teach the youths about their cross-cultures. Ha strongly believes that “if the community comes together, we could make this project happen,” she said.
The center is slated for a grand opening in December 2013 in Scripps Ranch. To raise fund for the building as well as develop its programs, VACERC is hosting the 1st Annual “It Takes a Village to Educate a Child” Gala Dinner on Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012, at Balboa Park Club from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. VACERC is looking for sponsors for the gala. For more information or sponsorship opportunities, visit www.vietnameseamericancenter.org.