Valley woman now leads charity that once helped her

FRESNO, Calif.

On a sunny Thrusday afternoon in May this center of learning received a gift of a small sculpture depicting the heroism of Hmong support for American soldiers during the Vietnam War has a new home at "Stone Soup". It was the model for its life size twin at Fresno's Courthouse Park.

It was welcomed by children, families, and the young woman who will become this Southeast Asian non-profit organization's 2nd director. After 17 years Kathy Garabed, 'Stone Soup's, founder, is stepping down. "We were successful at making her a voracious reader." Stone soup will be led by a young woman who arrived in Fresno at the age of six. Kathy Garabed said, "She is perfectly suited for this. She has a wonderful vision for the future, a vision about empowerment and self sufficiency for her own community. And a lot of very high skills for making that happen."

She is MaiKa Yang a graduate of U.C. Davis who never really left 'stone soup, "It was so significant for me as a young person." She learned English here excelled in school returned often to volunteer and after graduating from college came home to work at 'Stone Soup', "To give opportunities to young people to really continue cultivating leaders in our community."

Yang envisions young Southeast Asian leaders, fostered by Stone Soup, paving new ground to strengthen all who live in Fresno. "And really giving voice to their assets, the many, many great talents and skills that they can offer to make Fresno a really strong community."

On July first of this year MaiKa Yang will take on the leadership of Stone Soup where, as a child, she learned to have one hand in the past and one hand in the future. A lesson she is expects to pass along to the newest generations of the South East Asian citizens of Fresno.

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