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ChildrenStudents rise up as community leaders to help unhoused residents in Milpitas

Students rise up as community leaders to help unhoused residents in Milpitas

At the beginning of 2021, Thac Nguyen, owner of Blue Dragon Taekwondo Academy (1485 N. Milpitas Blvd.), started a new leadership program for his students called Team Transformation. 

The program, which currently has members between ages 11 and 17, is all about giving students a chance to rise up as community leaders in the course of carrying out philanthropic projects. 

Said Jade Dang, Nguyen’s wife, in an email to The Beat, “I myself had been participating with groups [that help the unhoused] such as Hope for the Unhoused and LoretoQD’s Brigade since late last year, so naturally I leveraged Team Transformation to help take care of the needy in our community.”

As Team Transformation got underway, one of its first projects was raising money to buy tents, tarps, and sleeping bags for unhoused community members impacted by recent rainstorms. Said Dang, “We worked with LoretoQD’s Brigade and Hope For The Unhoused to identify the items that the unhoused residents needed most.” 

The fundraiser set up by Team Transformation can be accessed here

In the span of just a week and a half, the kids raised $2,670, part of which they used to buy 60 sleeping bags, 10 4-person tents, 10 2-person tents, and 20 tarps, which they presented at State Assemblymember Alex Lee’s Volunteer Event on Saturday, February 20.

Up next for Team Transformation will be a project with Hope for the Unhoused wherein they create move-in welcome baskets for residents moving into the Santa Clara County-launched Project Homekey site located at 1000 Hillview Ct. The money leftover from the current fundraiser will go toward cleaning supplies and personal care items. In the meantime, Michael Ngo, an adult black-belt holder at Blue Dragon and the Vice President at Glide/Write (304 Turquoise St.), was able to get his employer Francis Burga onboard to sponsor the creation of 2,300 Milpitas-made masks, to be handed out to unhoused community members and volunteers in need.


Eric Shapiro
Eric Shapiro
Eric Shapiro is a writer & filmmaker. As a screenwriter, he’s won a Fade In Award and written numerous feature films in development by companies including WWE, Mandalay Sports Media, Game1, and Select Films. He is also the resident script doctor for Rebel Six Films (producers of A&E’s “Hoarders”). As a journalist, Eric’s won a California Journalism Award and is co-owner and editor of The Milpitas Beat, a Silicon Valley newspaper with tens of thousands of monthly readers that has won the Golden Quill Award as well as the John Swett Award for Media Excellence. As a filmmaker, Eric’s directed award-winning feature films that have premiered at the Fantasia Film Festival, Fantastic Fest, and Shriekfest, and been endorsed by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). Eric’s apocalyptic novella “It’s Only Temporary” appears next to Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” on Nightmare Magazine’s list of the 100 Best Horror Novels of All Time. He lives in Northern California with his wife, Rhoda, and their two sons.


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