Asian Americans from the Holland area will speak on the challenges and successes they experienced in their school and work experiences on Thursday, Feb. 16, from 4 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. at the Harbor Lights Middle School library as part of the series "Becoming A Culturally-Responsive Educational Community."

The series is sponsored by Hope College's CrossRoads Project, West Ottawa Schools, and the National Educational Diversity Program of the Japanese American National Museum, which is funded by Toyota. Harbor Lights is located at 1024 N. 136th Ave.

The public is invited. Admission is free.

The following panelists will share their experiences and ideas on how
educational communities can become more culturally responsive, especially to the diverse Asian American communities in the area:

Robyn Afrik was born in Seoul, Korea, and adopted by a family in Holland. She graduated from Holland Christian High School and graduated with a business degree from Cornerstone University. She is preparing to begin attending the Master of Social Work program at Grand Valley State University. She works full-time as Ottawa County, Michigan Works Job Connections NAFTA-TAA Specialist. She and her husband have three children: Tabahn, eight; Ayisha, five; and Tai, two. They have lived and traveled in Senegal, West Africa, and Korea.

Pastor Socheth Na was born in the province of Kandal in Cambodia. He fled Cambodia on foot during the war and arrived in the United States in September l981. He studied to be a pastor at the Reformed Bible College from 1987 to1991. Since 1991 he has served as the pastor of the Cambodian Fellowship in Holland. He and his wife, Lynn, have two children: Stephan, 20; and Daniel, 16.

Bin Lim was born in Jakarta, Indonesia. After graduating from high school in 1961, he studied in Germany and came to the USA in 1973. He married Lisa in 1971 and they have four children ranging from 33 years old to 23 years old, all of whom graduated from college. They have one grandson and are expecting their first granddaughter in April. Bin worked for 25 years in the office furniture business and then joined his wife to operate a small grocery business for 12 years, from 1983 through 1995. Bin and Lisa are now enjoying their retirement.

Phi Tran grew up in Vietnam until the age of 10. Prior to arriving in Holland, he lived in several refugee camps in Malaysia and the Philippines. Phi spoke no English when he arrived in Michigan almost 20 years ago. He attended Holland Public Schools and graduated from Hope College in 1998. He also received his teaching certificate from Aquinas College. Currently, he holds a social work position with Community Mental Health of Ottawa County. He is an active member of the Vietnamese Community of Holland and has served as a volunteer for the Boys and Girls Club of Holland and the Children's After School Achievement (CASA) program based at Hope College.