Strengthening Families 2016 Unsung Hero Tam Nguyen
2016 Unsung Hero: Tam Nguyen, Burien
February 21, 2016
Honoree: Tam Nguyen, Burien
Nominator: Paula Steinke
Tam is a mother of two boys who has seen first-hand the impact of early learning on child development as she observed her younger son, who had more early learning opportunities, experience a smoother transition into kindergarten. For the past two years, Tam has engaged Vietnamese families in her community with information, resources, and social connections that help them support young children's development. As an "Early Learning Connector" working part-time for the White Center Community Development Association, Tam facilitates a Kaleidoscope Play & Learn group, and leads parent & caregiver discussion groups about how to support children's learning through daily activities at home. Her work is changing community norms about child development, school readiness, and parenting.
Tam worked with an aunt who expressed concern about her four-year-old nephew who was inactive and often tired. Encouraged by Tam, she brought her nephew to the neighborhood Play & Learn group where she met other families from her culture, observed other children, and saw her nephew play with other children. Tam taught the child how to hold a pencil and showed him how to trace letters, and showed the aunt how to help her nephew to continue these learning activities at home. Tam shared information about brain development, emphasizing the importance of relationships and experiences on young children’s growth and capacity to learn. Her nephew loves attending the groups and is gaining social, physical, cognitive and language skills that will prepare him to enter kindergarten ready to succeed.