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A Peek into the People of Lao Assistance Center of Minnesota: A Photo Essay

This year, the Lao Assistance Center of Minnesota (LACM) celebrates their 30th anniversary. Since 1983, LACM has been helping Minnesota’s Lao community with various services such as housing, health awareness, youth advancement, elder empowerment, and cultural engagement. Their mission is “to enhance the quality of life of Minnesota Lao families”.

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The Lao Assistance Center of Minnesota is located within the Harrison Neighborhood Recreation Center in North Minneapolis.

This short photo essay was shot over the course of a few days at LACM. It is a small glance into what LACM does and the faces that work the machine. In all, LACM is made up of multiple full-time staffers, several part-time consultants, and three interns. They work to better the lives of the Lao community in Minnesota.

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Sunny chats with a Minnesota State representative at a Minneapolis mayoral candidate forum.

First off is Sunny Chanthanouvong, the center’s executive director.  Sunny recently received the Virginia McKnight Binger Human Services Award from the McKnight Foundation. I have found that his enthusiastic greeting, “Hiiiiiii!!” to be his most iconic phrase. Sunny is constantly helping many people, interacting with folks that walk-in on a daily basis. It is quite rare to see an executive director taking on such a direct role with clients.

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Linda Homsombath deals with housing and employment services. She is the backbone of the office and is always friendly, helping almost everyone daily with one item or another. Linda enjoys watching Netflix on her lunch break and is also currently a student. The best attribute about Linda is that she has the most insight into everything that goes on at LACM.

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Ms. Chongchith Saengsudham is in charge of health services. Specifically, she is working on women’s health at the moment. Last week, Ms. Chongchith helped several women in the community receive mammograms. Her office space is adorned with dozens of Lao decorative pieces from framed photographs of late Lao kings to Buddhist amulets.

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Phitsavath Nantharath is one of several interns at LACM. She is currently finishing her last semester at the University of Minnesota, studying Business Marketing and Human Resource. Fun fact: her given name is Thitsavath, but upon immigrating to America, her father mistakenly gave her the name Phitsavath.

 

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The office has multiple interesting Lao decorative items that awe newcomers each time.

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Week two of the Lao Leadership Institute.

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Noi and Yommala’s first day at LACM as Americorps interns.

More information on the Lao Assistance Center of Minnesota can be found at their website: http://www.laocenter.org or like their Facebook page here.

-Phasy
a.phasy@gmail.com

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