ICAN was founded in 2000 by Ven. Thich Phap Chon, Ivy Vuong and Quyen Vuong with the vision of helping children succeed in school and become compassionate leaders in life.
Like many other refugees who were uprooted from their birth place in Vietnam, the founders longed to lend a hand to families, friends, neighbors and fellow countrymen whom they left behind. They wanted to give children and families in Vietnam the skills and opportunities to build their own future, much like the way the founders were given skills and opportunities to succeed in America.
When it comes to helping victims of natural disasters, Thay Phap Chon likes to take the road less traveled. As ICAN’s spiritual leader, Thay instills and nurtures in ICAN, its volunteers and supporters the sense of compassion - compassion for others and for oneself - which is the foundation of all of ICAN’s programs and approaches.
As a single mother raising two children, Ivy wants all children to have more love, more laughter and more opportunities in their life.
Having been in the refugee camp as an unaccompanied minor, Quyen promised herself that she would go back to help the refugees, especially the children, so they can be in charge of their own future.
The first project provided scholarships to over 300 orphans and poor children living in Van Hanh Village, a poor area on the outskirt of Saigon. ICAN soon took on other projects such as building a new place for Tue Tinh Duong Free Clinic in Hue, helping victims of natural disasters, placing CPAP machines at hospitals to save lives of premature newborns, providing free cataract surgery for the elderly and bicycles for poor students.
In 2004, ICAN piloted the Happy 5 (Nuoi Day Tre Vui Manh) Vietnamese parenting workshop in San Jose, raising awareness about child and brain development in the first 5 years and providing parents and grandparents with more applicable positive parenting skills. Happy 5 is now our flagship program in the US.
In addition to Happy 5, we have other programs such as Arts Enrichment, SEEDS Language Development, Triple P parenting workshops, weekly radio program, community forum etc. to help strengthen family foundation and community support network. We also successfully educated and engaged the Vietnamese American community in responding to Census 2010 and Covered California / Affordable Care Act.
In 2014, our Board of Directors reiterated ICAN’s commitment to building a strong Vietnamese American community and supporting Vietnamese Americans in making a difference in their lives, families and communities. This opens a new chapter for ICAN with new energy, new ideas, new inspirations as well as challenges.
Thank you for your trust, support and contribution. We are grateful to have you by our side - as we embark on new endeavors.