Merced Lao Family Community, Inc.


Lao arts and culture

Established in 1981, Merced Lao Family Community, Inc. serves Southeast Asian immigrants and their familes in Merced County.  Through its programs, Merced Lao Family Community, Inc. (MLFC) strives to assist this unique community in acquiring a balance between traditional Southeast Asian culture and modern American life. MLFC's mission is to encourage self-respect and self-sufficiency for all ethnic groups in Merced County; to maintain pride in cultural histories and to offer positive support and hope for the future by leading the populace into becoming well-informed, healthy, productive, self-sufficient, and contributing members of our Central Valley community.

In 2014, 2013, 2011 and 2010, MLFC received grants from ACTA's Living Cultures Grants Program to support instruction in traditional Hmong dance and qeej music. The qeej (pronounced "gheng"), a traditional bamboo reed instrument, is a crucial element to key life cycle events such as marriage negotiations, funeral rituals, and New Year ceremonies.  Instruction was provided to the Hmong Cultural Youth Group, ages eight to eighteen, in an effort to create pride among the younger American-raised generations.  Traditional arts activities developed self-esteem, bridged cultural gaps, and built upon leadership skills.

As a grantee of ACTA's Community Leadership Project in 2013 and 2010, MLFC received core operating support and capacity building training.

Images

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Dance lesson at Merced Lao Family Community center. (Photo: Houa Vang)
MLFC's Hmong Cultural Youth Group (Photo: Houa Vang)
MLFC's Hmong Cultural Youth Group performing at Southeast Asian Mental Health Recognition Day. (Photo: Houa Vang)
MLFC's youth dance troupe performing at Southeast Asian Mental Health Recognition Day. (Photo: Houa Vang)
Students of the Merced Lao Family Community’s qeej (pronounced “gheng”) class (Photo: Merced Lao Family)
Students of the Merced Lao Family Community’s qeej (pronounced “gheng”) class (Photo: Merced Lao Family)

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