Mr. Vy Pham, the founder of VSS put up his own house as collateral which later transitioned to the Vietnamese Social Services of Minnesota in May, 1987. During its 31 year history, VSS has helped thousands of refugees and immigrants overcome formidable language and cultural barriers to successful adjustment to life in their new country. VSS has received broad recognition for its programs for refugees and immigrants. In 1992, President George HW Bush designated VSS the 956th Point of Light of the Nation. VSS was a recipient of the Minnesota Peace Prize in 1995. In 1997, the Council on Asian-Pacific Minnesotans selected VSS to receive the Asian Leadership Award. The National Alliance of Vietnamese American Service Agencies chose VSS to receive the “Most Valuable Member Agency Award”.
VSS’ overall organizational goal is to further strengthen its capacity to meet the existing and emerging needs of the Vietnamese community and newer refugee groups. VSS adopted a new strategic plan. The planning process resulted in some new directions for the agency, and a new mission statement: “To maintain the identity of Minnesota’s Vietnamese community while addressing the basic economic, education, and health needs of refugees and immigrants statewide.” The plan is a road-map not only for the continued social, cultural, and economic strengthening of the Vietnamese community, but also for the utilization of VSS’s experience and expertise to meet the needs of newer refugee groups. Over the years, we have evolved to follow what is most relevant to our broader communities which include Karen/Karenni from Burma and East Africans from Somalia and Ethiopia. Through these inter-organization collaborations, organizations and VSS with similar mission creating a concerted effort to align the larger population of similar needs promote community engagement.
VSS is often the first place that our community members call on when there is a problem. With or without funding, we do our best to help anyone who rings VSS. Cultural organizations play an especially important role in serving as agencies of first resort, providing a host of services, responding to immediate problems, being a friend and personal resource to families, serving as advocates for families, and being a bridge to the dominant community. At VSS, we have a strong commitment to co-create programming with our community. Often this means having a community dialogue through multiple means over a longer period of time to co-create programming. It may take longer and require more resources but what emerges is more robust programming that directly addresses our communities' needs. VSS has a solid history of building, administering and partnering to co-create programming with our community.
VSS is committed to uplifting the identity of refugee and immigrant Minnesotans while partnering with you who have been a part of our solutions, responding to the complex issues and needs of refugee and immigrant Minnesotans. The coming years and many more years to come, We invite you to continue to walk with VSS. Our shared-paths will take us to places where everyone will thrive with strength, voices, and wisdom.
Is to help shape a better future by fostering trusting relationships through partnerships, preserving our heritage, discovering new knowledge and sharing our resources for unity. We hope to uplift Minnesota immigrant communities together.