As a college student, Mrs. Sawyer and her family left Saigon, Vietnam, via the American Embassy rooftop in 1975, a few hours after the fall of Saigon. In addition to helping the start-up of several innovative companies (People Express Airlines, Scanning America), while raising her three children, Mrs. Sawyer partnered with her husband in their humanitarian work bringing educational and medical projects to Vietnam. Every year, Mrs. Sawyer travels to the highlands of Vietnam for economic development and art and cultural preservation projects among Vietnamese ethnic minorities.
As Executive Director, Mrs. Sawyer oversees the agency’s mission to provide critical assistance to SE Asian refugees, immigrants and low-income families so that they can thrive and contribute, while helping to preserve their cultural heritage in Central Massachusetts. Since 2015, her agency has also provided assistance to refugees from Iran, Iraq and Syria. During her directorship, SEACMA received over 10 awards and recognitions.
BOA D. NEWGATE
Youth Effect Program Manager
Mr. Newgate initiated the Vietnamese Language program at SEACMA and co-founded SEACMA’s Lion Dance program, WYND, which has been instrumental in helping keep kids off the street while encouraging them to embrace their cultural heritage. Mr. Newgate is a much-loved mentor and friend for many at-risk youth in Worcester. He is also well respected by older members of the Asian community in Worcester for his dedication to helping refugees, immigrants and low-income residents to successfully integrate and thrive, and to providing a safe place for youth to grow holistically.
Direct and referral Services & Office manager
Mrs. Nguyen has dedicated over ten years of community assistance through the Southeast Asian Coalition. She continues to support hundreds of immigrants & refugees in getting access to housing, health care, employment, education, and more. Tracy has a bachelors degree in information technology and is certified as a diabetes coach, ServSafe certification, and community health worker with a focus on mental health.
Youth Program Coordinator & Education Liaison
“Lina grounds us in the goodness of humanity. On a gloomy day, when the lightning storm feels never ending, Lina is the person drenched in the downpour cheering for you. And she does this whole heartedly without you asking for it, she is just so deeply invested in the success and joy of those around her. She shows up everyday for her youth in this manner with much patience and grace.
Youth work and loving people comes naturally for someone like Lina who never skips a heartbeat to be there for people. As the Youth Program Coordinator at the Southeast Asian Coalition she is transforming the landscape of Worcester and next generation of Asian American youth.”
-City of Worcester Division of Youth Opportunities”
Director of Projects
Thu Nguyen is a queer Vietnamese American refugee who grew up in Main South, Worcester, MA. Invested in the notion of social justice, they commit their time and efforts in community (re)building, advocacy and enjoying sunsets while investigating and navigating the intersectionality of identity, systems, and openings for collective care and healing. They spent the last ten years working on college access programs and economic justice for low income urban youth of color, supported organizing for various grassroot community led campaigns, and taught youth how to make documentaries in Worcester and in a juvenile detention center in New Orleans. In 2017, Thu returned to Worcester in hopes of giving back to their much loved home city and community in order to work towards co-creating loving, sacred, and intergenerational healing spaces here. Currently, serving as SEACMA’s Director of Projects, Thu is absolutely honored and grateful to be in a role that supports her community and tends to her Vietnamese and Worcester roots.
uncle Quyen Truong, uncle Tu & aunt Son Ho
SEACMA is extremely grateful for the dedication of our volunteers. They support our Direct & Referral Services with check-ins and translations, teach healthy dietary habits through the curation of traditional foods, ensure our office space is neat and clean, and keep our Cultural Urban Garden Project flourishing. They are the backbone of our organization with warm energy that radiates onto everyone around them.