Smiles For Hope 2018 Gala Raises Over $100K

Bich Van and Sean Buhr opened the night with a powerful song "When We Believe" during the Smiles For Hope 2018 Gala at the Mexican Heritage Plaza in San Jose, Ca.

🎼“We were moving mountains
Long before we knew we could…
There can be miracles
When you believe
Though hope is frail
Its hard to kill
Who knows what miracles
You can achieve
When you believe somehow you will

You will when you believe”🎼

Miracle is the best word to summarize 2018 for Project Vietnam Foundation’s surgery team. We set out with a mission to bring a new smile and renew hope to impoverished children with cleft lip and palate deformities. These children struggle daily to feed, speak, and be a part of society. Project Vietnam Foundation’s surgery team, our donors, and volunteers are willing to move mountains to help these children. With each of our efforts adding like drops of water to form a tidal wave of love and cut through even the most stone hard obstacles.

Dr. Quynh Kieu, President and Founder of Project Vietnam Foundation delivered a powerful keynote speech about our missions in Vietnam

A big THANK YOU to our friends, family, donors, and volunteers for your support of Project Vietnam Foundation’s Smiles for Hope Program. We had many obstacles that we had to overcome. It first started with our March 2018 mission when we had trouble with last minute paperwork at our first host hospital. With just 24 hours notice, we were left with no hospital to assess our patients or perform surgery. We did not let this stop us from serving our patients who had come from all the corners of Vietnam so their child can get life changing surgery. We set up tents and use whatever we have as tables and chairs to see our patients in a hot, crowded church courtyard. Then just like rain after long drought, we got our first miracle when Dr. Kieu reached out to the local medical communities for help. Within 24 hours notice, Rehabilitation and Occupation Hospital in Saigon offered to host our surgery team. For the next 5 days, we performed cleft lip and palate surgery for 63 children. One special case we did was for Siu H’Le, who’s health problems and complicated facial deformities proved to be a challenge for the medical community and she was denied treatment 5 times. But our surgery team worked tirelessly to overcome these challenges and performed surgery on her with miraculous results.

Our 2018 Smiles for Hope gala was also another miracle for the surgery team. Due to unknown reasons, we started off with painfully slow ticket sales. Up to 3 weeks before the gala, we only have 70 tickets reserved and thought we had to cancel. But in when our hope is frail, our friends, family, supporters, and donors stepped in and we had a sold out event. The event itself was filled with obstacles that we had to overcome. We worked for weeks before the gala to make videos to show our guest the results of the surgery team and the other teams in Project Vietnam Foundation such as cardiology, public health, clean water, breath for new born, autism outreach, and medical education and training. Unfortunately our projector system did not work and we were not able to show these videos during the gala. This projection fiasco resulted in us moving the program around and we had a 20 minute delay with the schedule and catering. The team did our best to work with what we have as the show must go on. Despite our rough start, our gala guest saw beyond our imperfections and wholeheartedly supported us financially and emotionally.

With 310 tickets reserved, we had 260 guest attending, 10 core gala committee members, 30 volunteers, 6 performers, and one sweet MC, together we raised $105,245. After accounting for $25,499 in expenses, we raised $79,646 for Project Vietnam Foundation’s Surgery Team. This is above and beyond our goal of raising $40K- $50K to fund 80-100 children for smile surgery! All funds left over from the surgery team will be used to support Project Vietnam Foundation’s cardiology, public health, clean water, autism outreach, breaths for newborn, and medical education and training team.

A special thank you to all, especially to the following individuals and groups:
Gala committee: Myhanh Nguyen, Thang Nguyen, Ashley Le, David Tran, Christine Pham, Vanna Le, Dan Tran, Thuong Dao, Catherine Pham, Mark Samala, Dr. Quynh Kieu
Performers: Bich Van, Sean Buhr, Victoria Thuy Vi, Trong Huy, Manh Thang, Ngoc Lan Ta
MC: Quyen Quyen
Stage Manager: Peter T. Nguyen
Audio and lights: Peter Luu
DJ: Geri De Jesus
Cameraman: Dong Le
Linens: Queen Bridal
Catering: BLOOM Catering USAFashion show: Miss Vietnam CA 2018 Pham Thu Thao and her court. Also Kieu Nhu Kelly V collection with Mrs Vietnam USA court.
Auction item donors: Than Tin Diamonds, Miss VN CA Pham Thu Thao
Raffle donor: Thach Le, Thuy Nguyen
Photographers: Robert Tran, Tuy Duong

Catering: BLOOM USA (Please note, BLOOM- Because Love Overcome One’s Misfortune is managed by Aid to Children Without Parents, a nonprofits which supports impoverished children through education, training, and healthcare. So by attending our gala, our guests are supporting 2 charities at once!)

Dessert Donors: Van Hai Nguyen, Vanessa Van Trang Nguyen and Kim Thi Ngan Nguyen

Table sponsors: Diem Minh Ha, Blue Dragon Taekwondo, Leslie Pham, Kimberly Scheiferatein, Huyen Mai, Lion Pharmacy,Linh Nhi Tran

Auction bid winners: Diem Minh Ha, Steve Loi, Phu Gia Ho, Ashley Le, Vanna Le, Phuong Tran, Neil Le

Raffle Prize Winner: Thu Hang Nguyen

A gracious thank you to our friends who donated through their company for corporate matching:  Vic, Ken, Dieu, Tuy, Quynh

Also a special thanks to our friends and family who could not make it to our gala but still donated generously: Saigon Kitchen, Carol and Rich Langevin, Nhu T Nguyen, Monica Pham, Heather tran, and many, many more!

Please forgive us or let us know if we left out anyone, as there are many many names to thank! Also please forgive us for any mishaps during the gala as we tried our very best to give all our guests an enjoyable and meaningful event.
👏Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! 👏

Make a pledge to continue giving miracles to children in need of a rekindled hope from someone who cares

Take a pledge today or give the gift of a one-time donation and help provide new smiles for children around the who are in need in Vietnam.

More children than ever before are waiting for the surgery that will repair their cleft lips and cleft palates and give them an opportunity for a normal life. By choosing to join us through donations, you’ll play a key role in providing hundreds of surgeries and healthcare access to thousands who are in need of our love.

It takes only about 45 minutes to an hour to repair a simple cleft lip or cleft palate. But the difference it makes lasts a lifetime. That new smile allows a child to go to school, make friends, and grow up strong and healthy!

Thank you to our Sponsors

Lee's Sandwiches
Saigon Kitchen