Resilience Project | Session 2 Recap

Resilience Project Workshop – Session 2 Recap by Kathy Tran and Kevin Nguyen

Project Vietnam Foundation held a informational workshop on the topic of bullying this past Saturday at Fountain Valley Regional Hospital. Many curious youths came to learn more about mental health awareness and how to reduce overwhelming emotions that a student may encounter in their day-to-day life during the second session of Project Resilience. With the help of Dr. Thanh Tam Nguyen and Dr. Quynh Kieu, there are ways to combat the negative aspects in life. Their bright personalities surely warmed up the atmosphere of the room!

The participants were shy at first however, introductions allowed them to become accustomed to the people around them. Students, from grades ranging from freshmans in high schools to incoming college students, each gave a reason as to why they were compelled to take part of Saturday’s workshop. To find peace within oneself and the individuals of their environment, some answered. Dr. Thanh Tam Nguyen gave a preface on bullying and its detrimental effects on an individual. She then began to dive into the functions of the components in the brain. It gave more insight as to how our body reacts to certain situations. During the climax of our rollercoaster of emotions, it is advised to control our breathing. The more we breathe using our stomach, the faster we can calm down our brain to avoid outbursts of anger and resentment. In focusing on our breathing to calm our body down, the calm and steady pace puts our parasympathetic nervous system into drive in which our heart rate slows down, pupils constrict, and digestion speeds up. The adrenaline from the fight or flight response from the sympathetic nervous system’s stressful event slowly drains away as we are once again able to regain control of who we are. Our emotions get calmer, our body systems start returning back to normal, slowly, we return back to who we were before the stressful event. It is a calming method that, recommended by both Dr. Thanh Tam Nguyen and Social Worker Mai Khanh Le, put us all in a more rested and serene mood.

After a few minutes of meditating, a video narrated by a victim of bullying drew everyone’s attention. The raw emotions poured out from his story seemed relatable to some students as they watched. Followed by a period of reflection, the students were separated into four random groups to make a skit that all included some type of verbal harassment. It was amazing to see everyone come up with a scenario in ten minutes and act everything out. Each group was significant in their own way. One group touched on cyber bullying which is one of the most common types of bullying in this day and age. With the frequent use of our phones and social media, individuals are more likely to be attacked online rather than in real life. The three other groups both focused on bullying within an educational setting. The underlying causes of bullying are peers and social conformity. In order to fit in a specific clique, students tend to pick on others as a way of saying they are more dominant. We may only focus on school-related bullying, however, anyone can become a victim of harassment.

This session consisted of a presentation by the students themselves. High school students Katelynn Tran from La Quinta High School and Kevin Nguyen from Pacifica High School gave a thorough explanation on the long term detrimental effects of bullying. Find out more about it here:

Although these students came from different schools, different families, and different aspects of life, they share the purpose of serving the community and finding ways to improve society. To end bullying, to end depression, these students attended this session as a way to aid in slowing down or stopping the rates of mental illness that can lead to suicide. And because they showed up, they are Not-I: the core focus group that advocates for the awareness of mental health within the communities around the OC area. Step by step, workshop by workshop, they will all get there. Bringing awareness of the mental health issues that plague society, Not-I will lead Orange County into learning how to reduce the rates of teenage suicide and deal with the mental health issues that many may face in the coming future.

Video Discussion about “To This Day Project” by Shane Koyczan

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Where Has Treating the Bullies Gone Wrong?

Presentation by Kevin Nguyen and Katelynn Tran

Bullying. We all see it. We all experience it. But many of us do not do much about it. The thought of taking a stand against the person or group of people hurting us may be an intimidating action but if we let it persist, who knows what will happen to many who get bullied today.

Depression and anxiety. The leading causes of teenage suicide. Bullying today is not an issue of whether one should or not fight back and tell the teacher but rather, it is one in which can only lead to a terrible ending if not dealt with correctly. Yes, although many can come to an adult for bullying, if one thinks about it, does anything really happen?

The issue at hand with bullying today is that it is being addressed incorrectly. Usually, the targets of bullying are told to just accept it because it is a part of growing up while the bully is just met with a minor punishment and told not to do it again.

First off, for an adult to disregard a child’s problems will almost definitely install within them a sense of worthlessness. They are told that the bad things happening to them are just a normal part of life but does their parents really know the substantial effects that it has on the developing child’s mind? Yes, although many parents have gone through bullying throughout their adolescent years, the idea of bullying has shifted dramatically. Back then, there was only one form of bullying: confrontational bullying where the bully would intimidate and/or scare the target right in front of them. The target of bullying knows clearly who the person bullying them is and can actually do something about it whereas nowadays, the field of bullying has expanded vastly with the introduction of the internet.

Cyberbullying. A new form of bullying that has hit the recent decade where a person now no longer has to be physically present  to bully someone. If one comes to think about it, bullying can be seen as a sport where the “superiors” pick on those who are inferior, those who are different, those who are lacking. The field of bullying has now expanded beyond what was once there. Instead of having to face the person that one is causing harm to, with the increasing accessibility of technology, they can enter the online world anonymously and discredit and dehumanize those who they want to bully. Not only that but this time, the playing field has grown tremendously. Whereas in the past, bullying situations would only be school or community wide, now, with the easy access to technology, the effects of bullying can be seen everywhere. A person who insults and demoralizes a victim here can be aided by those in another country all across the world. With the easy access of the internet, bullying can now reach new heights as more and more people can come in and attack the victim. The numbers of bullies and bystanders have grown tremendously with the introduction of technology when the number of targets of bullying stays the same.

Punishments. Whenever a person is met with bullying issues, they are usually encouraged to go and tell an adult. They are told to find help in an older person so that the bully stops targeting them. But as depicted in many Hollywood movies, and even in real life, the outcome is usually less than expected. In fact, it is the opposite of what the victim wanted. Although the bully will get “punished” for bullying, it will only drive that child to obtain more vengeance and power over the child that told on them. Simply punishing a child for bullying another kid is not always the case towards stopping this behavior altogether. Yes, although punishments do discourage people from doing unattractive actions, punishing a kid for bullying will not address the root cause of bullying. Many adults do not take the time out to find out what is going on with the bully and instead, take the easier route of fixing the problem on the surface and then letting the child go without having him learn anything.

The field for bullying has expanded vastly. So for an adult to say that bullying is a natural part of life is misinformed about the latest effects that it has on children because more and more victims of bullying are falling further and further into depressions and anxiety. Rather, to solve the problem of bullying, one should place a bully, the victim, and a few students in a room together, with an adult for supervision, to encourage discussion between the multiple parties as to why it is they do what they do. To create conversation, to create support, to create understanding. Placing them in a group will allow for everyone to understand both themselves and others on a deeper level. Not only will it help the victim confront the bully but it may even help them understand the actions of the bully themselves in which they may be able to help. It is time to change what many see as the issue of bullying and lets focus on fixing this idea of dealing with bullying!

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Resilience Project | Session 3

This coming Saturday, July 28, 2018, Session 3 will at the Fountain Vally Regional Hospital at the Saltzer Conference Room, 17100 Euclid St, Fountain Valley, CA 92708 from 9:30 am – 12:00 pm. Thank you to Dr. Thanh Tam in leading a successful group on the topic of Bullying. Also big thanks to participants Anthony Nguyen and Katelynn Tran for an amazing presentation on the topic of bullying. We also welcome the VAHSA (Vietnamese American High School Alliance) who came to present and work on a Resilience video with us and the personal sharing by Mark Samala. What an amazing session.

We will be hosting session 3 this coming weekend with the topics of;

  • Management of Angers, Stress and Time
  • Talk About Mindfulness
  • Learn how to communicate with Parents and Friends
  • Assertiveness
  • Self-Regulation Skills and Self-Harming Alternatives

Make sure if you have any ideas or feedback on how it can be better. Please email us at

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Resilience Project | Session 2

Resilience Project – Session 2

This coming Saturday, July 21, 2018, Session 2 will at the Fountain Vally Regional Hospital at the Saltzer Conference Room, 17100 Euclid St, Fountain Valley, CA 92708 from 9:30 am – 12:00 pm.

Recap on last session, we discuss about “Ending The Silence” presented by the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI), The Adverse Children Experience (ACE) quiz and its meaning, Child Abuse Awareness and evaluation of the first session (group discussion).

This Saturday, our goal is to become more interactive with the workshop training and carve an understanding in “Resilience” and the “#Not-I” campaign that strengthen the youth through adversity. 

Click To RSVP For This Session

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Topic – The Difficult Child

Topic: The Difficult Child  | Register To Learn More

A difficult child or highly sensitive child is one of the 15 to 20% of children born with a nervous system that is highly aware and quick to react to everything. This makes them quick to grasp subtle changes, prefer to reflect deeply before acting, and generally behave conscientiously. They are also easily overwhelmed by high levels of stimulation, sudden changes, and the emotional distress of others.

Because children are a blend of a number of temperament traits, some are fairly difficult–active, emotionally intense, demanding, and persistent–while others are calm, turned inward, and almost too easy to raise except when they are expected to join a group of children they do not know. But outspoken and fussy or reserved and obedient, all are sensitive to their emotional and physical environment.

Most parents experience frustration from time to time when it comes to managing their child’s behavior, but fewer know the heartache of dealing with this type of extreme outburst. For many parents, the first response is to lash out at the child, raise our voices and deliver swift punishment. This may stop the immediate behavior, but it probably won’t address any underlying issues that may have caused the behavior in the first place. Extreme behavior can be a sign that the child has a mental health need.

The difficult child needs more time to adapt to changes (e.g. meeting new people or facing new situations) and seems less “flexible” to changes. Their behaviors in respond to changes may include crying or throwing tantrums. The difficult child also has a less pleasant mood and more likely to be distracted. If a difficult child is forced to adapt to a new change, sometimes the child may show oppositional or aggressive behaviors.

Understanding and managing your own inner reactions will help you figure out what to do.

To learn useful strategies to approach the difficult child and Maintain family harmony,  Please come to the parent support group to listen and share …

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What is an ACE Quiz???

What is an ACE Quiz? — And Learn What It Does And Doesn’t Mean

An ACE score is a tally of different types of abuse, neglect, and other hallmarks of a rough childhood. According to the Adverse Childhood Experiences study, the rougher your childhood, the higher your score is likely to be and the higher your risk for later health problems. You can take the test below:

So, you’ve got your score. Now what?

First, remember that the ACE score isn’t a crystal ball; it’s just meant as guidance. It tells you about one type of risk factor among many. It doesn’t directly take into account your diet or genes, or whether you smoke or drink excessively — to name just a few of the other major influences on health.

To learn more, check the CDC’s ACE Study website. You’ll find, among other things, a list of studies that explore the ways adverse childhood experiences have been linked to a variety of adult conditions, ranging from increased headaches to depression to heart disease.

Remember this, too: ACE scores don’t tally the positive experiences in early life that can help build resilience and protect a child from the effects of trauma. Having a grandparent who loves you, a teacher who understands and believes in you, or a trusted friend you can confide in may mitigate the long-term effects of early trauma, psychologists say.

“There are people with high ACE scores who do remarkably well,” says Jack Shonkoff, a pediatrician and director of the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University.

Resilience, he says, builds throughout life, and close relationships are key. Recent research also suggests that for adults, “trauma informed” therapy — which can center on art, yoga or mindfulness training — can help.


Three Types of ACEs

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

ACEs Increase Health Risks

There are many things which can mitigate adverse childhood experiences. The most powerful buffer against toxic stress and adverse childhood experiences is the presence of one caring, safe adult.

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Ending The Silence


Ending The Silence | A Mental Health Education Program for High School Students 

Presented by NAMI (National Alliance of Mental Illness)


Ending the Silence is a 50-minute program designed for high school audiences and is typically presented in the freshman/sophomore health classes during the mental health portion of the curriculum. This transformational program is devoted to giving students an opportunity to learn about mental illness through an informative PowerPoint, short videos, and personal testimony. Through the presentation, students learn symptoms and indicators of mental illness, and are given ideas about how to help themselves, friends, or family members who may be in need of support.


The program is delivered by a trained two-person team, including an individual who relates to the student population by sharing their own journey with a diagnosable mental health condition.

Students are given a resource card with valuable phone numbers and websites for mental health agencies and youth support services along with a list of symptoms/warning signs of mental illness. At the conclusion of the presentation, postcards are mailed home to parents informing them of the program. Students are also given information regarding additional programs and services they can utilize for support.

A primary goal of this program is to create a generation of students that are well-positioned to eradicate the stigma associated with mental illness through education and advocacy.

Read student testimonials about the effectiveness of Ending The Silence here: Ending the Silence Student Testimonials

What are Mental Health Conditions?

  • Mental health conditions ARE:
    • Medical illnesses, like physical illnesses.
    • Something that changes how people think, feel and act.
    • Common and treatable.
  • Mental health conditions ARE NOT:
    • Anyone’s fault or something to be ashamed of.
    • Limiting – you can achieve your goals!


  1. 1 in 5 YOUTH in the U.S. are experiencing or will experience a mental health condition at some point in their lives.
  2. 50% OF YOUTH AGES 8-15 with a mental health condition don’t receive treatment.
  3. STIGMA is the biggest reason people don’t seek help.

Truly, the meaning of stigma boils down to discrimination and hate. People with mental illness feel diminished, devalued and fearful because of the negative attitude society holds toward them.

As a result, people struggling with mental health challenges may not get the help they need for fear they’ll be discriminated against.

Know The Warning Signs

Trying to tell the difference between what expected behaviors are and what might be the signs of a mental illness isn’t always easy. There’s no easy test that can let someone know if there is mental illness or if actions and thoughts might be typical behaviors of a person or the result of a physical illness.

Each illness has its own symptoms, but common signs of mental illness in adults and adolescents can include the following:

  • Excessive worrying or fear
  • Feeling excessively sad or low
  • Confused thinking or problems concentrating and learning
  • Extreme mood changes, including uncontrollable “highs” or feelings of euphoria
  • Prolonged or strong feelings of irritability or anger
  • Avoiding friends and social activities
  • Difficulties understanding or relating to other people
  • Changes in sleeping habits or feeling tired and low energy
  • Changes in eating habits such as increased hunger or lack of appetite
  • Changes in sex drive
  • Difficulty perceiving reality (delusions or hallucinations, in which a person experiences and senses things that don’t exist in objective reality)
  • Inability to perceive changes in one’s own feelings, behavior or personality (”lack of insight” or anosognosia)
  • Abuse of substances like alcohol or drugs
  • Multiple physical ailments without obvious causes (such as headaches, stomach aches, vague and ongoing “aches and pains”)
  • Thinking about suicide
  • Inability to carry out daily activities or handle daily problems and stress
  • An intense fear of weight gain or concern with appearance

Mental health conditions can also begin to develop in young children. Because they’re still learning how to identify and talk about thoughts and emotions, their most obvious symptoms are behavioral. Symptoms in children may include the following:

  • Changes in school performance
  • Excessive worry or anxiety, for instance fighting to avoid bed or school
  • Hyperactive behavior
  • Frequent nightmares
  • Frequent disobedience or aggression
  • Frequent temper tantrums

What Should You Do?

  • Talk to a trusted adult (more than one if necessary).
  • Talk to a friend.
  • Write a note and give it to someone who cares about you.


Servicing Orange County, CA residents only

Local Number 714-991-6412

9 a.m. – 3 a.m. (Mon.- Fri.)

10 a.m. – 3 a.m. (Sat.- Sun.)

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Resilience Project Begins Tomorrow

Resilience Project Begins Tomorrow @ Orange Coast Memorial Health and Wellness Pavilion

Orange County, Southern California, is considered a hub for people of Vietnam heritage internationally, and Little Saigon ranks as one of the special attractions which put Westminster city on the map. Yet some of the families locally have not adapted harmoniously and the high rate of teen suicide testifies to the stresses on the Asian American young people.
Our focus group on June 24th highlighted the need for positive coping skills and enhanced family communications. PVNF is moving to introduce Project Resilience to develop protective factors and peer support within the new group called the “#Not-I” youth.

This summer PVNF is launching a campaign to build resilience and promote coping skills in young people of Vietnamese heritage, in order to stop the rising tide of Depression and Suicide in teenagers and students.

The upcoming workshop consist of 5 sessions of workshop to help young people reach goals efficiently and be supportive to others. The next session is this Saturday, June 14th at 9:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M. This session is limited to 30 individuals between the age range of 16-25 years old., please ask them RSVP ASAP.

Register For Training Group – 30 Registrants Only

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The Asian Curfew

Restricted by Curfew! Asian Curfew!! 

by Maikhanh Tran

I know many people can relate to having a curfew, but my dad takes it to another level. Growing up in an Asian household and being an only child, my dad has always been super strict and traditional. Even though my mom is my best friend and is always on my side, whenever I mention staying out late, she would say the default, “ask your dad”. Although I don’t have a set curfew, my dad expects me to be home around 10 pm, otherwise I can prepare to walk into my house to a frowning face, followed by a lecture for the next 2 hours.

In high school, there were many times when I got in trouble for coming home around 11:30 pm, which isn’t even late considering many other kids have later or no curfew. I’ve even gotten yelled at for staying out with my own cousins, so could you imagine how my dad reacted when I was with my friends? He always called me around 9:30 pm and asked where I was. These calls would continue multiple times throughout the hour, and I would pick them up depending on how brave I felt that night.  

The lectures were so intense and it would result in both my dad and I yelling back and forth at each other, and I would end up in tears out of frustration. He didn’t understand. I told him that it was ridiculous and that it got to the point where I was scared to go home late by a few minutes out of fear that he would act out. I have to include that my dad drinks a lot, which also escalates the whole situation because I am talking to someone who is drunk and cannot really comprehend what I’m saying clearly. I always reminded my dad that I am a good student and it’s only fair that I get to spend time with my friends now and then to keep my own sanity. He responded by saying that he trusts me and that I can have fun, but there should be a limit. Whatever can be done during the day, should be done during daytime hours instead of at night.

I hoped that as a college student, my dad wouldn’t expect me to be home at a certain time anymore. He has gotten less strict throughout the years, but he still calls me around a certain time and asks when I’ll be going home. As a 23 year old, I am embarrassed to tell new friends that I have to leave hangouts early due to my curfew. All my other friends have learned to work around my schedule and only make plans with me during the day. Even my cousins younger than me could stay out until 3 or 4 am. Their parents aren’t as traditional as mine and all they ask is to know where my cousins are and what time they’ll be coming home. Why can’t my dad be as understanding? It really starts with how parents handle the situation and that they are open to changing more traditional ways so that their children feel comfortable in talking to them about anything. Having strict parents often leads to sneaky kids, and many of them might not have dealt with having a curfew the same way as I did and might have rebelled back.

I do understand his perspective as an Asian parent. My dad is extremely overprotective and thinks it’s dangerous for a girl to be out late. I know he just wants to make sure I’m safe, but he also needs to trust that I’m old enough to be looking out for myself. Even now, I am still trying to figure out how to talk to my dad about extending the curfew or not having one at all anymore.

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Getting Involved in Resilience Project

Getting Involved in Resilience Project

by Vivan LeDuc | UC Berkley Student

When I was growing up, writing became my only solace during times of struggle. When the pressure of being the perfect student—perfect child—proved too much to handle, there was nothing that a pen, paper, and willing mind couldn’t fix.  All obstacles considered, I was still one of the lucky ones—I had a healthy of coping. We all know that others are not as fortunate to possess ways to cultivate mental wellness.

This is primarily why getting involved within the community, with projects such as Project Resilience, is beneficial and necessary for the well being of not only our communities, but ourselves as well. In addition to gaining significant team-building strategies, we will also learn to recognize the signs of mental illness and be given the adequate tools to project our inner strength. It is not until we are actively involved that we can learn to help ourselves.

And it is not until we learn how to help ourselves that we can learn to help those whom we love.


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