Kim Ho highlights her appreciation for her Vietnamese heritage

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At the end of the Vietnam War, Kim Ho’s parents left their battle-weary country for a new and very different life in Arizona. Settling in the West Valley, they raised a family and found success despite a number of challenges.

“They both did not speak English, and I think for a lot of immigrant kids, that’s a very similar story. Often as a small kid, you are translating for your parents, whether it be at a fast food place or with another professional vendor or business. And so they both learned really on the job.”

At the time, the state’s Asian population was relatively small. It was difficult for Ho’s mother to find familiar items such as groceries and cooking ingredients. Besides Ho, there were only two Vietnamese students attending with her at Peoria High School.

“I was not surrounded by a lot of other people that looked like me, and like a lot of kids, I really just wanted to blend in and not be sort of taken out of the crowd,” Ho said.

As Ho grew older, she came to appreciate the difficulties her parents had faced and all that they had accomplished, becoming proud of her Vietnamese heritage in the process.

“It’s such an empathy builder,” Ho said. “I really see and value all different types of opinions and voices and backgrounds and cultures and see how much that can bring in to any organization: family table, business table, board table. I think it’s really created who I am in a very confident and strong way.”

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