GRAND RAPIDS, MI. -- Gov. Rick Snyder and 100 area high school and college students will join the celebration of Asian achievement and culture at the West Michigan Asian Gala March 8 at the Goei Center.
The event, in its third year, both celebrates Asian Americans in West Michigan and addresses their unmet needs in the areas of education, health care and career opportunities. Last year's gala raised $10,000 for education and health programs to help under-served Asian Americans.
A new focus for this year's event is on the community's future leaders -- 100 area high school and college students will attend, including students from Grand Rapids Public Schools, Cooley Law School, Michigan State University College of Human Medicine,
Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids Community
College, Aquinas College and the Herman Miller Academy.
Students will mingle and sit with area professionals and corporate sponsors. They have a lot to offer each other, says Bing Goei, co-president of the West Michigan Asian American Association, sponsor of the event, and a longtime supporter of community diversity. "To the students we're saying, ?Continue your education, fulfill your professional dreams in West
Michigan,'" says Goei, CEO of Eastern Floral. "And as business owners, we need to realize that these young people aren't just our future leaders -- they influence us now. It's good for us to get to know them, to learn from them. We can inspire each other."
Keynote speaker for the event is Gov. Rick Snyder, expected to speak about the contributions immigrants have made and continue to make to Michigan's economy, and the need to retain young talent in the state. Honored at the event will be attorney Susan Im, who specializes in immigration law at her practice, ImLaw, and the Herman Miller Academy program that prepares
high school students for the future workplace. Last year's event drew 350 people and raised $10,000 to support local health and education programs. Proceeds from this year's gala will fund education and literacy programs.
Goei has rallied much of the community to the cause, including several major sponsors. "West Michigan is a vibrant and diverse region," says Mark Murray, president of Meijer, Inc., an event
sponsor. "Meijer is honored to support this Gala. We're
excited about an evening with so many current and
The gala's focus on students shows the area's commitment to grow and keep exceptional young talent here, says Joy Fossel, a partner at Varnum, Riddering, Schmidt and Howlett and the firm's Diversity and Inclusion Counsel. "It's a two-way street," Fossel says. "Students get a chance to come mingle with the power players in the community and make connections to help them in the future, and business leaders get a chance to meet the rising stars. We have some amazing young talent in this
community and it behooves us to keep them here."
-- West Michigan Asian Gala, sponsored by the
West Michigan Asian American Association
-- Goei Center, 818 Butterworth St. SW, Grand
-- Social hour and hors d'oeuvres 5:30 to 7 p.m.,
followed by keynote address by Gov. Rick Snyder
-- Tickets are sold out.
-- For more information, contact Bing Goei at 644-
5767 or firstname.lastname@example.org