Tag Archives: Savannah Pham
On Saturday, December 3rd, Quan, Alex, Jullianne, and I volunteered at the Valley Children’s Hospital located in Madera. Previously at our coronation in May, we collected donations for the hospital by auctioning off different items as well as holding a raffle for guests in attendance. When we arrived, we donated the $1300 we had raised, which hospital staff were greatly appreciative of.
We then had the opportunity to play with children in the hospital’s playroom. Since the holiday season was quickly approaching, we decided to teach the children how to make a piece of Christmas art. Children came in and out of the playroom when they had the chance, and we were able to make crafts with the children who wanted to spend some time with us. The craft we helped them make was a Christmas tree ornament that they could hang in their rooms or on a Christmas tree. The ornaments were made from three popsicle sticks. From there, the children were able to choose from additional decorations including a wide array of colorful string, construction paper, jingle bells, and pom poms.
Ultimately, this was a great experience for us to give back to the community during the holiday season and to bring smiles to these children’s faces.
If you would like more information about donating, volunteering, or visiting at Valley Children’s Hospital, please visit: https://www.valleychildrens.org
Photo Credits: Tuan Anh Nguyen
On Sunday October 23rd, Quan, Alex, Jullianne, and I volunteered in San Jose for the MAYS (Mid-Autumn Youth Summit) workshop, held by the Vietnamese-American Youth Association. This workshop was hosted for high school students, mainly those in their local high school Vietnamese Student Associations who were rising leaders. To start off the day after introducing ourselves, we asked the students to introduce themselves and their schools so we could learn more about them. Then, Quan and I led an icebreaker to encourage active listening; as active listening is an integral part of communicating effectively as a leader. For this icebreaker, the students had to pair off and share either their happiest moment or something they looked forward to. After both students had the chance to share their stories, they were asked to repeat the other student’s story back to them to gauge how well each person had listened.
After the icebreaker, we split into smaller groups and the four of us facilitated a teambuilding activity. The idea for this activity came from the same activity we had done during our court retreat, so Alex and Jullianne chose to have the high school students do it since it had been fun and educational for us. For the activity, one of the students in the group had to instruct the other group members (who were blindfolded and instructed not to speak) how to construct Lego pieces into a certain formation. The students did an excellent job and once we debriefed, we discussed the importance of communication, listening, teamwork, and the importance of modeling these skills as leaders in their schools. Overall, we had a great time working with these students and getting to know the future leaders of our Vietnamese community here in the Bay Area.
If you are interested in participating in MAYS next year, you can read all about the summit at: https://www.facebook.com/VietAYA/
On Saturday, August 6th, Quan, Alex, and I had the pleasure of volunteering our time at Veggielution, located in San Jose. Veggielution is a six-acre community farm that provides a unique opportunity for volunteers like ourselves to learn about growing food. As a community farm, the organization distributes its crops at low costs or free to the community. Veggielution is very conscious about its impact on the community and distributes its crops through a myriad of ways such as their Farm Stand, volunteer give-aways, and soup kitchen donations.
That morning Quan, Alex, and I started off with a new volunteer orientation where one of the interns showed us Veggielution (which includes a kitchen where they hosted cooking lessons, a youth garden, a hen house, and an orchard). The three of us were then assigned to work at the fruit orchard with other volunteers. They were in the process of re-mulching the trees, so we had the opportunity to learn about proper nutrition for soil in order to get the best results. This process of mulching includes cutting up donated cardboard and placing them around the bases of the trees at a certain distance. Then, we shoveled piles of woodchips and raked them on top of the cardboard. Volunteering with Veggielution was a wonderful opportunity for us to learn about how our food is grown while giving back to the community.
On pageant day, my alarm went off at 6 a.m. I awoke slightly disoriented, having tossed and turned throughout the night. I went to my hair and makeup appointment and my artist did an incredible job. However, she had not taken into account the length of my hair, so she didn’t end up finishing until 9:40. I was so worried about arriving late and losing points. By the time my sister dropped me off at the theater, I ran over to where the other girls were standing. “You made it just in time!” they shouted. I looked at my phone. 10 a.m. I had gotten so lucky and finally let myself breathe.
Now it was time to get everything organized. We were quickly instructed to get into our white ao dai and before I knew it, we had completed a run through of the entire show. We were then given time to relax in our dressing rooms before the show started. I was so happy to be in the dressing room with half the girls because they were so energetic. We were dancing and singing around the room, calming all of our nerves.
When the time came to announce Top 8, everything flew by. Before I knew it, it was time to announce Top 5 and I was nervous once again, trying my hardest to not let it show in my smile. My heart sank a little when there was only one card left and I hadn’t been called, but I was excited for the other girls and couldn’t wait to hear what they had to say. “Contestant #11!” I stepped forward with surprise, smiling hard and thanking my lucky stars that I had somehow made it to Top 5. I couldn’t believe it, but I was thrilled. Once again, I was the first to answer the question. I was still nervous, but this time I discussed my passion for addressing mental health issues within the Asian Pacific Islander community and was pleased with my answer. Once I finished, it was so nice to relax and listen to what the other girls had to say.
Once it was time for crowning; all I could do was smile. I had no expectations whatsoever because I was happy to have experienced and grown so much along this journey and couldn’t believe the pageant was coming to an end. As they began announcing Court, I was so overjoyed for each girl who won a title as they had practiced so hard the past two months and truly shone that day; I was so proud of their accomplishments.
“1st princess is…Savannah Pham!” I heard my family, who had traveled all the way up from Southern California, cheering for me and I stepped forward in awe with a huge smile on my face. I couldn’t believe it! I had started this journey thinking, “I’m not pageant material,” and had never done anything like this, so being able to earn a title meant so much to me.
One of the main reasons I joined MVNCI was because I appreciated the emphasis on community service. The philanthropy platform is more than just something to make a contestant look impressive. Each and every one of us truly had a platform we were passionate about. As a Court, we have decided to center our service projects on the topics we are passionate about. I am looking forward to spreading awareness of mental illnesses and treatments within the community in order to decrease stigma.
I am so thankful for all of the support I have received from my family and friends as well as the MVNCI Staff. It’s an absolute honor to have been crowned 1st Princess and I can’t wait to serve the Vietnamese community and see what we accomplish as Court!