Truly a Magical Success: GLEF’s 2012 Auction

Photo courtesy of Sandra K. Banister
Thank you to all those who volunteered for and attended GLEF’s 2012 Auction Gala

Golden Leaf Education Foundation’s 2012 Auction Gala, A Magical Night in Cambodia, proved truly magical. Thanks to the many volunteers and the generosity of our wonderful guests and donors, we raised approximately $61 thousand. This is enough to start construction on our second school, Koh Broteal Elementary School. A small, dilapidated building located in the rural village of Koh Broteal of Pursat Province serves as the school and can only hold 68 students. The children attend school for half the day for the first two grades before they are forced to go to another school miles away. Due to these capacity issues and their inability to travel miles to the next nearest school, many drop out. The village was infiltrated by the Khmer Rouge in the 70s, and many people, including children, died in the killing fields close to where  the school stands today.

More than 200 guests attended the auction and enjoyed food provided by Mekong Bistro and wine from Eola Hills Wine Cellars while browsing an array of silent auction items from generous donors around the Northwest.

We awarded several student groups the special “Golden Leaf Education Foundation Outstanding Service Award” for their hard work in independently raising funds for Golden Leaf Education Foundation. Milwaukie High School Interact Club, Sherwood High School Interact Club, Lincoln High School Key Club and Lincoln High School Interact Club representatives were each presented a framed certificate as a sign of our appreciation for their support.

During the event, MC Ms. Oregon Libby Crawford engaged the crowd, wearing a special Cambodian dress hand made by Chan Phirath-Farley. Speakers Mr. Al Jubitz, President of Jubitz Family Foundation and peace advocate, H.E. Heng Hem, Cambodian Ambassador to the United States and Mr. Joseph Yun, Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, inspired the crowd with words of wisdom and sincerity. The auction and paddle raise were ran by Mr. Brian Bice, a professional auctioneer who specializes in philanthropic events. Guests watched a touching presentation created by GLEF board members Stephen Bachara and Mony Mao that profiled the next three schools GLEF plans to rebuild.

Bonnearin Sin and her dance troupe wowed the crowd with a very special performance of Aspara Dance, a traditional Cambodian classical dance.

GLEF would like to thank all those who attended, donated to or volunteered for the event. It’s your contributions that make what we do possible. It’s your continued support that will build more schools in memory of genocide victims and in honor of survivors.

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Attend GLEF’s Third Annual Auction Gala ‘A Magical Night in Cambodia’ on August 4, 2012

Buy your ticket to our third annual auction gala, “A Magical Night in Cambodia”. On Saturday, August 4 at the Scottish Rite Center, guests can bid on fabulous oral and silent auction items, enjoy delicious, traditional Cambodian food and  experience unique, cultural entertainment, all while helping children in need. Guests also have the option of purchasing a partnership package this year. Come join in an evening of goodwill, culture and community!

Last year’s auction helped raise funds that put the finishing touches on GLEF’s first school. The Ang School in Battambang Cambodia, unveiled in November of 2011, is now a fully functioning five-classroom building with bathrooms that serves roughly 425 elementary-aged children. The funds raised in 2011 exceeded expectation, but we still need to raise more funds to complete our next schools.

This year, Cambodian Ambassador to the United States H.E. Heng Hem will be at our event. This is the second time The Ambassador has come to Portland for the GLEF Auction. Other special attendees include Ms. Oregon 2012 Libby Crawford, who will be the Master of Ceremonies and Al Jubitz, President of the Jubitz Family Foundation and peace advocate who will make an appearance. Concert Rock Violinist Aaron Meyer will also delight audiences with his performance, and Bonnearin Sin will perform a classical Aspara dance. Silent and oral auction items provide fun and unique experiences, including a ride on a Dragon Boat, a three-night stay at a Lincoln City Beach house and a special ride on a Columbia River Christmas Boat for six–to name a few. Don’t miss out on this year’s magical event!

What: “A Magical Night in Cambodia”

When: Saturday, August 4, 2012  5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Where: Scottish Rite Center, 709 Southwest 15th Avenue  Portland, OR 97205

Download Promotional Photos for “A Magical Night in Cambodia”. Just click on small photo, wait for large photo to appear, then download the high resolution image (300 dpi, approx. 3″ x 5″ photos.)

Tickets are:
$35 Students & Seniors • $50 General Admission • $95 VIP
VIPs receive: reserved seating, wine and a special Cambodian gift

Can’t attend but would like to contribute?

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The Âng School: GLEF’s First of Many Schools

On a humid afternoon in November of 2011, 40 humanitarians from the United States, England and Canada gathered with a group of nearly a thousand Cambodian dignitaries, families, students, elders and local residents under the shade of a large tent or a few trees in the providence of Battambang. All came to celebrate the same dream come true: the unveiling of Golden Leaf Education Foundation’s first school, The Âng School.

Once a dilapidated building ready to collapse at the next inevitable flood, The Ang School is now a fully renovated five classroom building that serves 425 elementary-aged children. The children also received new uniforms, desks, bikes and school supplies courtesy of GLEF, our partners Cambodian-American Community of Oregon and Joy for Tomorrow, and our gracious donors.

The project was completed in a year, but required a lot of hard work and collaboration between GLEF volunteers and Cambodian residents. GLEF worked with general contractor Yan Yat to build the school and worked closely with the school’s principal to ensure needs were met. During construction, GLEF Project Manager for the Ang School, Battambang Rotary President, Saroeun Nouv, reported to GLEF Building Committee Chair, Mony Mao and to the GLEF Executive Board with photos and written updates. The entire project was also supported by Battambang locals. Now, GLEF is ready to start building more schools. The third annual auction gala, “A Magical Night in Cambodia”, will be held Saturday, August 4 at the Scottish Rite Center in SW Portland. Proceeds will go toward the next project.

GLEF would like to thank all those who donated their time and money to fulfill our mission to empower humanity by enhancing educational opportunities internationally in memory of genocide victims and in honor of survivors—golden leaves. If you are interested in aiding in the education of children in need, check out our support page.

Photos of the old Ang School and its new exterior © 2009, 2011 GLEF Volunteer Chanly Bob. Construction photo © GLEF 2011 by GLEF Project Manager for the Ang School, Saroeun Nouv. Interior photo of new Ang School by GLEF Volunteer Sandy Banister of Focal Dreams.
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GLEF at Wordstock Oct 8-9, 2011

GLEF is excited to be a part of Wordstock on Saturday, Oct. 8-9 thanks to its Founder, Kilong Ung, author of  “Golden Leaf: A Khmer Rouge Genocide Survivor”. Wordstock is the “largest celebration of literature and literacy in the Pacific Northwest, and is one of the largest festivals of its kind in the nation.”

Last year Kilong Ung was a keynote speaker at the event. GLEF commends Kilong, a first time author for this achievement. This past Tuesday, Oct. 4, Kilong participated in the Wordstock 2011 theme “American Stories” at Multnomah County Central Library. One of three Portland, Oregon based festival authors, Kilong presented his viewpoint during “Portland Stories.”

At Wordstock, visitors can meet some of GLEF’s board members and volunteers and learn about its current projects, such as its current desk campaign for the new Taing Krosaing High School.

“Golden Leaf: A Khmer Rouge Genocide Survivor” will be for sale at the GLEF booth in which 50 percent of sales will benefit its mission to empower humanity by enhancing educational opportunities internationally, in memory of genocide victims, and in honor of survivors—golden leaves.


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Support GLEF’s “Col. Tan Marathon” and Get a FREE T(r)ee-Shirt!

GLEF is honored to have the opportunity to collaborate with one its friends and volunteers in the “Colonel Tan Marathon Fundraiser”. To help celebrate this, GLEF has created its first “T(r)ee-Shirt and would like to give some away! (The T(r)-ee-Shirt design was inspired by GLEF’s Founder, Kilong Ung and his GLEF tree analogy, “Against all odds, I survived, laid down roots and became a tree.” Kilong poetically refers to all that help GLEF as trees, and together as a forest, it builds schools from the wood each yields.) From now until Sunday, Oct. 9, 2o11 when Col. Sonny Tan embarks on his first marathon endeavor, GLEF donors supporting this special fundraiser with $50 or more receive a FREE T(r)ee-Shirt! (For online donations, please use form to the right.)

If you’ll be in Portland, Oregon on Oct. 9, please join us by wearing your new T(r)ee-Shirt to the Portland Marathon! GLEF is organizing Col. Tan Cheering Squads now. Contact GLEF at or call (503) 208-5323 (LEAF) to be a part of this fun and spirited occasion and help cheer on one of our heroes—Col. Sonny Tan!

Now on to the heart of the story.

On October 9, 2011, 52-year-old retired U.S. Army Colonel Simsundareth (Sonny) Tan will join his military colleagues and run 26.2 miles in the Portland Marathon, (Sun. Oct. 9, 2011)  but for more than just the physical challenge.

Col. Tan, a Cambodian refugee, will dedicate his run to those who lost their lives in the 9/11 attacks, the fallen heroes of the US Army, the Oregon National Guard, Royal Cambodian Army, the Khmer Republic Armed Forces (KRAF), Royal Cambodian Armed Force (RCAF), and those who continue to fight today. He will also run in honor of the victims and survivors of the Khmer Rouge genocide, including their friends and families.

As an extension of his effort, Col. Tan is asking that donations be made to Golden Leaf Education Foundation (GLEF), which is a 501 (c3) non-profit, supported by his community, the Cambodian-American Community of Oregon (CACO), and founded by his friend Kilong Ung, author of “Golden Leaf, A Khmer Rouge Genocide Survivor”. Ung’s inspiring story of survival was told through his memoir from which GLEF stemmed.

The mission of GLEF is to empower humanity through enhancing educational opportunities internationally, in memory of genocide victims and in honor of survivors. GLEF’s current projects are in Cambodia.

Many in Col. Tan’s community are survivors. Koann Tan, Col. Tan’s wife, is a Cambodian genocide survivor from the same province as Ung. This makes his dedication even more personal. “I want to be an ambassador of my community,” said Col Tan.

Colonel Tan is a decorated soldier and currently employed with General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT) as an operations and training advisor to Commander, 41 Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT). He was deployed with 41 IBCT, Oregon Army National Guard in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) 2006-2007, and assumed duties as the Senior Military Advisor and Commander of the Regional Corps Advisory Group-North (RCAG-N) to the 209th Afghanistan National Army (ANA) Corps, Mazar-e-Sharif and Regional Corps Advisory Group-South (RCAG-S) to 205th ANA Corps, Kandahar. He was born in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and came to the United States in 1975. After completion of the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program at Oregon State University in 1983, he was commissioned as a Lieutenant of Field Artillery. He is a community leader, civic volunteer, and a father of two young men. His youngest son Andy is in high school, and his eldest, Sidney is at the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York.

To support Col. Tan’s Marathon Fundraising effort to GLEF, please contribute by:

  1. Donating to Golden Leaf Education Foundation by entering your donation amount to the right (top part of this web site.)
  2. Calling GLEF at (503) 208-5323 (LEAF) to make a donation by credit card.
  3. Donating by check by mailing it to GLEF at 3439 NE Sandy Blvd. #412, Portland, Oregon 97232. Please make check payable to Golden Leaf Education Foundation, memo: “Col. Tan. Marathon”.
  4. Supporting the Col. Tan Marathon Fundraiser by joining one of our volunteer Cheering Squads on Sun. Oct. 9, 2011. To sign up for a Col. Tan Cheering Squad, email or call (503) 208-5323 (LEAF). We hope to hear from you!

All donations are 100%* tax-deductible and earmarked towards educational opportunities in Cambodia.

*To donors receiving a free T(r)ee-Shirt, the value of the shirt is deducted from donation.

GLEF welcomes your questions or comments. Please contact: Marri-Beth Serritella, GLEF secretary at: • 503-208-5323 (LEAF).


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Âng School Construction Update Aug 2011

About this time last year, GLEF first dream became a reality.  After raising enough funds at its first auction gala, plans to build the Âng School a new five-room building with bathrooms were put into action. In February 2011, GLEF’s first school building project broke ground. Pictured here (inset) is a reminder of the worn, wooden structure that this new building will replace. Since this photo has been taken in August 2011, the roof is being completed as well as the installations of the doors and windows.

GLEF thanks all the supporters and donors for this project. Hundreds of people have come together, donating their time, money, talents and skills to make this dream a reality. Coming up—dozens of GLEF supporters are looking forward to traveling to Cambodia and visiting the Âng School for its opening ceremony this November.

To view photos from this project, please visit GLEF’s Facebook page.

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50% of Book Sales Support GLEF

When purchased here through the Golden Leaf Education Foundation website, GLEF retains 50 percent of each sale of “Golden Leaf: A Khmer Rouge Genocide Survivor” by Kilong Ung to further its mission to enhance educational opportunities internationally for children in need, in memory of genocide victims and to honor survivors, Golden Leaves. To purchase a copy of “Golden Leaf: A Khmer Rouge Genocide Survivor” and at the same time support Golden Leaf Education Foundation, go to the STORE or by clicking here or on the menu above. To order 12 or more copies, please call GLEF at 503-208-5323 (LEAF).

Golden Leaf Education Foundation (GLEF) was inspired by a dream of Kilong Ung, author of “Golden Leaf: A Khmer Rouge Genocide Survivor.”  Upon completing his memoir, Mr. Ung wished to use proceeds of his book to build a school in Cambodia. In less than a year, the GLEF was formed by friends and colleagues of Mr. Ung and funds were raised to build the first Golden Leaf school in the Ang Village in the Battambang province of Cambodia. The opening ceremony of the first Golden Leaf school is scheduled for early November 2011. Mr. Ung’s dream is now shared by the board and volunteers of GLEF as it works on future projects. GLEF thanks Mr. Ung for his continued generosity in supporting its mission.

Summary of “Golden Leaf: A Khmer Rouge Genocide Survivor”
This book is about the incredible journey of an ambassador for peace, from the Khmer Rouge killing fields to the Rotary Club of Portland and the fellowship of the Royal Rosarians, through minefields, rockets, bullets, refugee camps, and Reed College. It is the memoir of a Khmer Rouge genocide survivor who gives new meaning to the term:

“golden leaf”: golden leaf (gōl’dən lēf) n., pl. golden leaves (gōl’dən lēvz) 1. a survivor of a heinous act against humanity, especially genocide. 2. Golden Leaf (pl. Golden Leaves): a. A person who survived the Khmer Rouge genocide: “Golden Leaf, A Khmer Rouge Genocide Survivor” (Kilong Ung). 3. one who survives against extreme odds.

As recounted in his memoir, Kilong Ung was a leaf at the mercy of the wind. The wind carried him from one remote part of the world to another. It blew him through turbulence and catastrophic weather. It took him to a Khmer Rouge labor camp and lingered for an eternity. It dehydrated him and nearly starved him to death. Ung helplessly watched the most devilish mother of all winds ruthlessly crush his tree into lifeless pulp. Like an almighty Olympian god, when the wind wanted to toy with him, it blew him through minefields, rockets, and bullets. While two million leaves disintegrated, Ung persevered. Through an extraordinary journey, he discovered himself. He is fortunate, and he doesn’t easily perish. He was a golden leaf. Against all odds, he survived, laid down roots, and became a tree.

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“On the Wings of a Dream” Auction Gala a Success!

“On the Wings of a Dream”, GLEF’s second annual auction gala and cultural show took place Saturday, July 30, 2011. It was a spirited evening celebrating Cambodia’s rich culture, cuisine, music, dance and more. The event, held at Scottish Rite Center in Portland, Oregon, grossed $21,706  in which net proceeds (presented mid-September 2011) will go toward GLEF’s mission to enhance educational opportunities internationally to children in need, in memory of genocide victims, and to honor survivors, Golden Leaves.

Emceed by KATU Chief Meteorologist Dave Salesky and 2010-11 Miss Oregon Stephenie D. Steers, the event began with a silent auction and Cambodian fashion show by Phirath Farley Fashion and Vanny Design, followed by a live auction lead by former Center-Forward for the Portland Trail Blazers and Founder of local non-profit GrassHarper, Michael Harper. Guests enjoyed authentic Cambodian cuisine by Good Call Restaurant and Chhunny Sok and traditional music of the tro (string instrument) played by Vuthy Sek (one of only a handful of musicians surviving the Cambodian genocide). The cultural show includes a special performance by Concert Rock Violinist Aaron Meyer joined by student Kilin Ung, along with his father, Kilong Ung, whose memoir, “Golden Leaf: A Khmer Rouge Genocide Survivor” inspired the start of GLEF. The Classical Ballet Academy directed by Sarah Rigles also performed with local talent Satheara Sin, Todd Tschida, accompanied by Cambodian youth dancers. Wrapping up the event was a stunning performance by Cambodian classical dancers Bonnearin Sin and Sida Vong performing “Mani Mekhala”—the Goddess of the Water.

During the event, the 2011 “Golden Leaf Education Foundation Outstanding Service Award” was presented to Raine Carnegie of Revelstoke, British Columbia, an inspirational 13-year-old who has organized and promoted “Shoes for Swaziland”, which collected over 7,000 pairs of shoes, and “Trick or Eat/Halloween for Hunger”, which collected thousands of pounds of food for the Community Connections Food Bank. Raine was also an ambitious fundraiser for GLEF’s first desk campaign, which in less than one month, resulted in 130 new desks for Taing Krosaing Junior High School.

Congratulations to Peggy Bartelt who won the GLEF “On the Wings of a Dream” raffle for two free roundtrip tickets courtesy of AirTran Airways!

GLEF thanks over 100 volunteers led by Event Chair, Connie Shipley that made this event a reality. Special thanks to all the guests, sponsors and supporters for their generosity in supporting GLEF’s mission.

To view photos from the event and for project updates, please visit GLEF’s Facebook page. GLEF’s 2011 project goals will be presented in the fall of 2011—please stay tuned!

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Âng School Construction Updates

As Golden Leaf Education Foundation nears its auction gala this Saturday, July 30, 2011, we reflect a year back when building a school was just a dream.

GLEF’s dream is becoming a reality. Last week, we received our weekly update from our project manager in Battambang, Cambodia. She sent a positive review and photos of the Âng School roof construction. If you would like to see more construction photos, please visit GLEF’s public Facebook page. (You do not need to be a Facebook user to view this page.)

Thank you to GLEF’s generous donors and volunteers. Without you, we would not be here, and the children and faculty of the Âng School would continue to endure a very worn, wooden building that is full of holes. Their school would continue to flood during monsoon seasons. With you, this new school building will have five furnished classrooms, two brand new, brick out-house type bathrooms and will much better sustain monsoons!

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Winner of Two Round-Trip Airfare Tickets to be Selected at “On the Wings of a Dream” Sat July 30, 2011!

Net proceeds from this raffle will go toward Golden Leaf Education Foundation’s (GLEF) mission to enhance educational opportunities internationally for children in need, in memory of genocide victims and in honor of survivors—”golden leaves.”

GLEF leverages Cambodia’s history of genocide to foster peace and goodwill through renovating existing schools, building new schools, and providing educational support such as school supplies, supplements to teacher salaries and providing student uniforms.

Purchase Raffle Tickets Now for a Chance to Win!
Only 150 Tickets to be Sold!

$10 per Raffle Ticket
$25 for Three Tickets

To Purchase Raffle Tickets:

  1. Call GLEF at 503-208-5323 (LEAF) and purchase your raffle ticket(s) on the phone. (Visa and MasterCard accepted. Ticket stub(s) mailed to you.)
  2. Purchase raffle tickets in person at GLEF’s auction gala + cultural show on Sat July 30, 2011.
  3. If you ARE going to the event and want reserve raffle ticket(s) beforehand, please email telling how many raffle tickets you would like to purchase. Your raffle ticket(s) will be charged to your Visa or MasterCard on the night of the event.
  4. If you ARE NOT attending the event, please email and tell us your name, address, phone number and the number of raffle tickets you want to purchase. Mail your check with memo: “2011 Airfare Raffle” to: Golden Leaf Education Foundation (GLEF), 3439 NE Sandy Blvd. #412, Portland, Oregon, 97232. Checks MUST be received no later than Friday, July 29, 2011.

Prize: Two round-trip coach tickets (total value $1,000; $500 per passenger) valid for travel in the continental United States (including San Juan, Puerto Rico.) Airline: AirTran Airways (closest Pacific NW airport is Sea-Tac in Washington.) Instructions, restrictions and blackout dates are labeled on the back of the certificates. Drawing to be held at Golden Leaf Education Foundation’s auction gala, “On the Wings of a Dream” in Portland, Oregon, July 30, 2011. You do not have to be present to win. All travel must be completed by June 30, 2012. To View AirTran Airways Route Map:

Please note raffle tickets are a separate purchase from tickets to the auction gala. Raffle tickets cannot be purchased online, but only by calling or emailing GLEF, or in person at the GLEF July 30, 2011 event. (See the four ways to purchase raffle tickets above.)

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