Most people can only dream of having a career where their passions and strengths intersect, and where their values are exemplified across every dimension of their lives. To truly be mission-driven takes extraordinary dedication, tenacity and sacrifice. Meet Thuba Nguyễn, our latest Member Spotlight, whose lived experiences and tireless drive to make a difference inspires our Coco community every day.
A Vietnamese refugee, Thuba spent time in a Philippines camp as an infant, with her father, before immigrating to the United States. Her path has been shaped by the providers – particularly the teachers – whose patience, compassion, and expertise motivated her to beat the odds and then, give back.
Inspired by her educators, Thuba earned her bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. “As an ESL student, my teachers encouraged me to embrace my culture and be proud of the journey I was on. They taught me that diversity is a strength to be nurtured and to never compromise because of my race, economic status or gender,” said Thuba.
Thuba is a workforce curriculum coordinator for Child Care Aware of MN and an educator at the University of Minnesota Child Development Center. She, and her team, use intentionality to uncover the inter-connective mapping of the brain in young children and to learn how it affects the development of their executive functions. Just this year, Thuba founded the Children of the Collective Arts Academy to empower children from marginalized communities to express themselves through the arts, literature, drama, and music.
Thuba says, “I believe when given a space for creative exploration, children can heal from their trauma and learn from their experiences.” Which brings us to her next achievement (yes, there’s more).
My Daddy Tells Me is Thuba’s first children’s book and it highlights the power, and positive impact, of a strong father/daughter bond. In the story, Mai’s father showers her with affection and admiration. The book emphasizes the importance of fathers giving their daughters the encouragement and confidence that will ultimately shape their self image. Her daddy’s affirmations counter pervasive and damaging cultural myths about gender, color, cultural practices and traditional family dynamics.
Art imitates life.
Thank you, Thuba (and Dad), for all you do for our communities.