BPSOS has worked to bridge the digital divide by providing broadband access, training, education, and support for 7,000 vulnerable and underserved Vietnamese immigrants and refugees in Louisville, Kentucky
BPSOS partnered with a faith-based organization to establish two computer centers in Louiseville, Kentucky. These computer centers provided open lab access for online research, job preparation, health care navigation, self-education, and general media and digitial literacy purposes.
BPSOS also provided training in basic and advanced computer concepts, ESL, citizenship preparation, computer literacy courses, tutoring to youth, resources to increase parent involvement in children’s education, digital literacy training for senior citizens, and online job searches and applications.
A total of 22 different training classes on topics including basic computer skills, computer literacy, online test-taking, and ESL were also organized by BPSOS. After years of building capacity for the local community, in 2014, BPSOS-Louisville tranferred its services to local faith-based and community organizations.
ACCOMPLISHMENTS OVER THE COURSE OF TWO YEARS
The number of open lab access provided to the community.
The number of times the computer centers were accessed by community members.
The number of times community members participated in the 22 different training classes offered by BPSOS.
FROM BPSOS VOLUNTEER TO FIRST VIETNAMESE-AMERICAN CONGRESSMAN:
ANH "JOSEPH" CAO
In December of 2008, Anh “Joseph” Cao became the first Vietnamese-American to be elected to the U.S. Congress, representing the 2nd Congressional District of Louisiana.
His dual commitment to building a strong America and to defending the rights of millions of Vietnamese left behind under the Communist regime exemplifies the bridging roles of Vietnamese Americans.
As the Communist troops advanced towards Saigon in April of 1975, Joseph, age eight, his brother, age four, and his sister, age fourteen, were placed by their mother onto a U.S-bound plane.
She stayed behind to raise five children while her husband spent seven years in “re-education” camps where he was tortured repeatedly. In the US, Joseph was separated from his siblings and was raised by an uncle.
After completing his B.S. in Physics from Baylor University in 1990, Joseph entered the Society of Jesus hoping to bring social justice to the poor. During his time with the Jesuits he was sent to work with Vietnamese refugees in the camps of Hong Kong in the summer of 1994. He was also sent to live and work with the poor in Mexico where he learned the importance of social and political activism.
After completing his M.A. in Philosophy from Fordham University in 1995, he was sent by the Society of Jesus to teach Philosophy at Loyola University in New Orleans where he taught Moral Philosophy for one year. In the summer of 1996 Joseph left the Society of Jesus and returned to secular life. He left New Orleans and moved to Falls Church, Virginia, where he volunteered with BPSOS, working to protect the last boat people stranded in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong and to secure the resettlement of “re-education” camp survivors. In the fall of 1997, Joseph returned to New Orleans to attend law school and joined the Board of Directors of BPSOS. In New Orleans, he met and married Hieu Phuong Hoang, a doctor of pharmacy, with whom he had two daughters.
His election to the U.S. Congress in 2008 continues to inspire many young Vietnamese Americans to seek public office. Joseph continues to travel the country, encouraging Vietnamese refugees and immigrants to participate in the American mainstream politics.