Midwest Inspiration on the West Coast

Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics (LEAP) Leadership In Action Intern, Mayta Lor, was placed at LEAP. She worked on numerous projects, events, and assessments at the organization.  She is a recent graduate from the University of Wisconsin, Madison with a double major in Southeast Asian Studies and History.  Below she tells LEAP who she would like to have present at her Leadership In Action graduation and why.


The person who I would like to attend my LEAP Graduation Ceremony is my good friend, Tou Vang. He is a current student at the University of Wisconsin – Madison and someone who I truly look up to. As an active member both on campus and in the community, Tou Vang has participated and coordinated numerous educational workshop events to bring visibility to the social issues affecting the Asian American community, such as gender inequality, sexuality surrounding the LGBT community, and educational attainment. 

In addition to his work on campus, Tou regularly gives back to the community by volunteering. For example, last summer he spent much of his time helping to pilot the first ever Hmong youth summer program in the city of Madison, WI. This program aims to preserve the Hmong language and culture among youths. In his role as the assistant camp coordinator, he contributed to the program by recruiting a large portion of the volunteers and staff to run the program and organizing a fundraising gala. He also volunteered his time in coordinating the registration for the Midwest Filipino American Summit, a conference that works to empower and foster unity among individual Filipino Americans.

With everything that Tou has done this year and in the past years, he is someone who truly inspires me to be an active leader in my community. He allows me to be passionate about what I care about and he supports my goals. I would love to have a person who I admire to be there the day that I graduate from the program.



Thanks to Southwest Airlines, Mr. Tou Vang was able to attend the graduation on August 8, 2014.  It was also his first time to Los Angeles and his first time to Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles.  During the graduation, Tou’s true character showed as he volunteered to help LEAP staff set up for the graduation.  LEAP was happy to meet someone close to Mayta and have the opportunity to get to know her better before she heads back to the Midwest.

About Leadership In Action

Leadership in Action (LIA) is LEAP’s eight-week paid summer internship program designed to develop emerging young leaders by providing college students with practical leadership skills and the opportunity to work hands-on in the Asian and Pacific Islander (API) community in Southern California. For more information, visit: www.leap.org/empower_lia.

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