Humans of Khmer America

Soraksa Norng

My name is Soraksa Norng. I am 30-years-old and I live in Long Beach, California. To my Khmer family I am known as Raksa; to everyone else I am Soraksa or Roxy. I definitely grew up in a Khmer community. I was born and raised, and still live in Cambodia Town. It was a little different since I grew up in a Christian/Lutheran family. Instead of going to Wat my family and I went to church every Sunday but my parents made sure that we kept the Khmer culture in our family. Every chance my parents had they would educate us about the Khmer culture; we had numerous amounts of books growing up and many of those were about Cambodia.

In 2012 I graduated from Cal State Dominguez Hills with a Bachelor’s of Science in Child Development and last year I graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a Master’s of Arts in Education with an Emphasis in Early Childhood Education. For the past six years I have been a preschool teacher and loved every moment of it. I have also been a behavior therapist working with children with autism. Last month I received a call from my dream company, Children’s Home Society (CHS), and I was offered and accepted a position as a Program Specialist/Case Manager; working in the Alternative Payment Program. This program helps eligible families pay for all or part of child care expenses while parents work, seek work, attend school, seek permanent housing, are deemed incapacitated and/or at risk by a legally qualified professional, and/or are receiving child protective services. Having said that, not everyone knows about CHS and all the great resources they offer families. I hope that people will read this and inform others about CHS. I am also taking different online classes at Brandman University to sit for my state license to be a Board Certified Behavior Analyst; this goal is coming along slowly but surely.

Knowing my parents’ native culture is very important to me; it’s basically why I am the person I am today. My parents are my role models, no questions asked. I am so proud to say that my father was the inaugural post to start the HOKA project. My mother is the reason why I love working with children; she’s still a preschool teacher at Precious Lamb Preschool in Long Beach and I know she loves every moment of it. My parents are genocide survivors even though they lost three very young sons and my mother lost her entire family in the war; my parents went through hell and back so that my three siblings and I could have the life we have now. Growing up, I did not always do so well in school, especially in math, but my dad was always there for me helping me with my homework and finding new ways to help me understand.

My favorite hobbies are reading, knitting, and watching funny videos on Youtube, especially Hella Chluy videos! I have seen all of them more than ten times and I still laugh like it’s my first time; I love them! What I like about Khmerican is that I can update myself about what is going on in the Khmer community and I love reading stories about other people. I am very fortunate to say that I have been to Cambodia three times; each experience is, of course, different from the one before. The most memorable moment was the first time I went, I was 10 years old and was able to walk up the original stairs of Angkor Wat. Being so young I did not understand how dangerous it was but now looking back I can say I did it.

Ten years from now I will be 40 years old! I hope to be married and raising a family and just enjoy life. Career wise I hope to still be at CHS in a management position and hopefully be a part-time professor at a community college teaching Child Development classes.


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