Lao Heritage Foundation(LHF) was first founded in Washington D.C. in 2003. The core
purpose is to preserve and maintain the lifelong culture and traditions of Laos
through arts, music and performances. The Seattle branch emerged after the
mother organization two years later.
This past August, the Lao Heritage Foundation-Seattle Chapter completed its third Summer Camp program. There were more than 40 attendants, most of them young school children. Chittaphone Outtama Khampradith of the LHF Seattle Chapter the Summer Camp project with VOA in a two-part interviews. "The two-week Summer Day Camp took place at Wat Mixay, the Lao Temple in Seattle, where Lao culture and traditions were taught through arts, music and performances," Chittaphone explained.
Chittaphone also mentioned that the Lao temple and the Laotian-American community in the area contributed a lot to help make the summer program possible. Chittaphone, a founder of the Kinaly Dance Troup, joined the Lao Heritage Foundation to branch out the new chapter in the Seattle Metropolitan area. "Our regular music and dance program are scheduled for every Sun. We have now rented a professional dance studio for the children to practice, both music and dances," Chittaphone said.
Eric Vonsady, one of the young Laotian American parents who sent two of his girls to join the Summer Camp, told VOA why he enrolled his children at Summer Camp, "I came to the United at very young age, I don't speak Lao that well and know very little about Laos, therefore, I want my children who were born here in the States to learn the history of the country where their parents came from; learn about culture, traditions and learn how to speak Lao. And those girls are very happy and excited to be around with other Laotians in this two-week program."
"Even though working for a non-profit organization is a hard job and there's a time that you feel like giving up, but this is not really what I want to do. I forget everything and all the hardship once I get into the studio and see all those young faces, who look up at me and want so much to learn and to explore about Lao culture, traditions and all. I will continue to work hard and keep up the long-term commitment to preserve the harmonious Lao culture and traditions through arts, music & performances," Chittaphone concluded.