Tooch Van, a Cambodian-American resident of Lowell, shared the following poem:
I am Tooch Van, an educator, a storyteller, a community activist, a husband and a daddy (Papa) of two boys: Winston and Franklin Van.
I came from Cambodia to study in America at Middlesex Community College, Trinity College, Princeton and Tufts University. Now I live and work in Lowell, Massachusetts.
I like to spend time with my family/friends, reading and traveling, exercising both mind & body, as well as embracing lifelong learning opportunities.
I am a community activist who cares about issues that affect the community, particularly the Cambodian- American Community in Lowell. I consider myself to be an educator who keeps working on the issues that the community is facing and take pride in celebrating the community’s accomplishments.
I am a Papa whose hobby is bragging about my sons’ accomplishments & curiosities, even though their accomplishments & curiosities are not yet artistic since they are just one and four.
I am one of the lucky men who made the right decision to marry to my wife. Our married life may have highs and lows but my wife is my soul-mate.
I am one who seizes the opportunity. If I do not find an opportunity, I try to create one.
I am spiritually grounded, but am embracing good principles of all kind of religions around the world: Buddhism, Muslims and Catholicism, Judaism and others.
I am learning to work and to live rightly in the United States and am learning to be a better listener.
I am a bird who was growing up with a broken nest but am learning to strive for the dignity and integrity of life, and giving back is one of the key principles of my life.