On December 17, 2016, LAOE celebrated the holiday season with 200 guests. It was a festive evening with a great performance from the Lan Xang Troupe. The music and dance reminded the audience how special and unique the Lao culture is. It is truly a treasure LAOE would like to share with everyone.

The Lan Xang Troupe is a great example of the many programs LAOE has created and funded to serve the community. The Cultural Arts program helps preserve the Lao culture and develops the skills of the Lao youth while bridging the gap between the elder generations and the youth. Together, they are able to share the beauty of Lao culture. The evening was extra special as the Grand Victoria Casino made a surprise donation of $500 to support the Lan Xang Troupe. Thank you very much to the Grand Victoria Casino for your generosity and support.

Along with the Cultural Arts program, LAOE continues to support the academic success of our community. This year LAOE was able to assist 15 Lao students achieve a total of $22,100 in scholarship funds through the NISEI Student Relocation Commemorative Fund. We are proud to assist the students with their academic goals and community outreach.

LAOE continues to support the well-being of the community by administering several health programs including Hepatitis and cancer education and awareness programs. This year LAOE was able to roll-out the Home Care Service to support the elderly Lao population. The program is managed directly by the Chinese Mutual Aid Association.

With 2016 being an election year, LAOE was able to rally the community to engage in the voting process, registering new voters, educating the community on the issues and driving voters to the polls. As well as participate in the Advancing Asian American’s Action Day  in Springfield, Illinois.

All the success cannot be achieved without the support of the community, the volunteers, government agencies, individuals and partner organizations. At the event, LAOE was honored to recognize several of the strong supporters that contributed to our success in 2016. LAOE also recognized several board members on their service as their term expired at the end of 2016. Here is a list of the individuals and organizations that were recognized at the event:

Appreciation of Service – LAOE Board Members

  • Jay Rasavongxay
  • Soukanh Thavisouk
  • Norasing Kethdy
  • Chin Keomuongchanh
  • May Saengpraseuth

Volunteer of the Year

  • Chansamone Mounivong

Platinum Partner of the Year

  • Chinese Mutual Aid Association

Lao Youth Leaders of the Year

  • Tiffany Keokanlaya
  • Preston Xayariboun

Person of the Year

  • Cristina Castro

On being recognized as the Person of the Year award, Cristina Castro expressed her gratitude to LAOE, “I am very humbled and honored in receiving the Person of the Year award from LAOE. It was a beautiful surprise. As a public servant I feel it is important to serve our communities in need and to help where I can. I’m proud to have helped award LAOE over $54,000 in Kane County Riverboat Grant funds to help the organization fund important programs and initiatives. I’m looking forward to doing the same as state senator.”

Tiffany Keokanlaya shared her heart-felt sentiment after winning the Lao Youth Leader of the Year award, “So honored and blessed to be given the Lao Youth Leader of the Year Award, along with my fellow friend, Preston. We both have changed so much as better people the past two years. We couldn’t have done this without our loving friends and families who were there motivating us every step of the way. Personally, I would like to formally thank my cousin Kelly Phommachanh who embodies the perfect example of a strong, confident, Lao woman. Can’t wait what the future holds in our journey with my fellow Lao Youth Leaders.”

LAOE is very proud to make an impact on the lives of our community. We are blessed to have the honor to serve and help our friends and community. We are very grateful for the help from many people and organizations. Thank you to everyone for making 2016 a very successful year for the Lao community. We wish you all the very best in 2017. Happy New Years!!