I hope you’ve survived Gray Thursday, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday.
Today is “Giving Tuesday.”
As a writer of fiction, I believe that the best stories happen all around us—waiting to be told: Real people, with real hopes, dreams, and challenges.
As a former member of the Board of Directors and volunteer for Sacramento’s chapter, I believe in Habitat for Humanity. Simply stated, Sac-Habitat improves our community, one family at a time.I’m promoting my first short story collection, “Matters Familiar,” this holiday season. I thought, Why not help a family in need in a meaningful, lasting way at the same time?
MY PLEDGE: For every eBook or paperback copy of “Matters Familiar” sold during the holidays, I’ll donate $1 to Sacramento Habitat for Humanity, for a new home for a qualifying family. (For every individual e-story sold, I’ll donate 10 cents of the 99-cent purchase price.)
MY GOAL: To raise $75,000 to sponsor a complete build in 2013, on behalf of “Fans of E. G. Fabricant.”
Over the next three weeks, I’ll introduce you to families Sac-Habitat has partnered with to realize their American Dreams over the last 18 months.—EGF
(You can see more photos of the Nguyen family on my Facebook page.)
Khanh Nguyen, his wife Tammy, and his two daughters, Giang and Jenny, are originally from Vietnam.
Khanh’s father was a high-ranking official with the South Vietnamese forces during the Vietnam War. When the war ended, he was imprisoned by the Communist government for his political views and his association with the United States. Khanh’s father spent 10 years in a Vietnamese jail as a political prisoner until he was finally released and offered citizenship in the United States.
Khanh attended University in Vietnam but, because of his father’s history, he and his family were targeted as anti-regime and forbidden from taking government employment. Khanh was able to make a successful living working as a Sales Manager for Proctor and Gamble, but though he and his family had a comfortable life and owned their own home, Khan worried about what the future held for his children.
Three years ago, the Nguyen family—sponsored by Khan’s father—moved to the United States. Khanh reflected on his decision to uproot his family:
When we moved, we gave up everything and had to start from scratch. We had never had to think about renting or living in an apartment before, but it’s something that became a reality when we moved here.
Khanh currently works at McDonald’s along with his oldest daughter, Giang. His wife Tammy works at a nail salon. When asked why they would leave their comfortable life in Vietnam to start over here in the United States, Khanh said simply:
My children are my future. In Vietnam, they wouldn’t have had the opportunity they will have here. This country, this home, this is a foundation for growth.
The Nguyen family lived in a cramped, two-bedroom apartment. Khanh learned about Sacramento Habitat for Humanity by reading an article entitled “Volunteer Vacation” in his English-as-a-Second-Language class. At first, he didn’t think that an organization like this could actually exist but a Google search told him differently. After the family was initially denied approval bu Sac-Habitat due to their income level, Giang decided to help her family with the mortgage once they move in. With Giang’s income added to their total, the Nguyens were able to qualify for the program.
All four members of the Nguyen family participating in the required 500 hours of sweat equity, including their youngest daughter Jenny, who is still in high school. Jenny reflected that, though putting in sweat equity is “hard work,” she enjoyed being able to contribute to making their “American dream come true.”
The Nguyen family is a truly amazing example of the incredibly hard-working and dedicated families that Sac-Habitat’s program is serving. Khanh said it best:
Sac-Habitat doesn’t just bring homes for people; it gives people the opportunity to work for their dreams and to become responsible for them. It makes people understand humanity.
The Nguyen family moved into their brand-new, LEED Platinum-Certified three-bedroom home on 32nd Street on June 23, 2012.
Won’t you join me? Click here.