Amanda Prak Sam is the founder and CEO of H.O.P.E. -Helping Others Pursue Education - and she is a Khmer Rouge genocide survivor. Her Cambodian name is actually Sokanha not Amanda which is a name a friend gave her after coming to the U.S. As a child at a very young age she was exposed to total fear, hunger, immorality and horror that pervaded Cambodia from 1975 to 1979. She was one of the lucky ones who had a second chance at living a good life in a new country.
Her life-long dream is to rebuild a school in a very rural part of Cambodia where she was born and where her father taught before they had to flee due to the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge. In 2019, a new charity, Helping Others Pursue Education, was founded to build schools and to educate the poorest of poor in hopes of breaking the cycle of poverty and abuse. Much progress has been made on the school but there is still much to do. “Make what change you are able to make now, and let the ‘giving spirit’ spread like a virus, infinitely touching the lives of people you may never meet…”
Amanda has owned and operated several hair salons. She lives in Henrico, Virginia with her 2 sons, Matt and Alex. Being active in the local Cambodian community she supports the New Cambodian Food Festival of Richmond. Amanda travels to Cambodia yearly to engage with the rural country side of Cambodia, bringing supplies, to the poorest of poor, visiting with families and children that attend Raing Kessey Primary School.
Cindy is tasked with overseeing the day-to-day administrative and operational functions of the organization. Executing long-term and short-term organizational plans is also a key responsibility.
Most of Cindy’s career has been in operations in the aviation industry. Most recently she served as Vice President of Customer Service for IndiGo, the fastest growing low-cost carrier in the world based in Gurgaon India. Prior to that Cindy worked in various capacities at United Airlines for 30 years.
After returning from 2 years in India, Cindy and her husband Mark are retired and living in Southport NC. They both love to travel and have been to over 80 countries. They have been actively involved with three non-profit organizations in Cambodia where they have visited 30 times. Additionally, they have directly sponsored two children and enriched the lives of many others suffering from extreme poverty.
In her role with HOPE, Jill is responsible for creating and supporting fundraising ideas.
Jill’s career spanned 25 years with United Airlines in various operational and Human Resources leadership roles, allowing her extensive international travel to all corners of the world. Through her travels, Jill had the opportunity to visit Cambodia over twenty times where the culture and people left an indelible impression on her. She has directly sponsored two children with a previous Cambodian non-profit organization, as well helping to enrich the lives of multiple other children with a focus on their educational needs.
Jill and her husband Dan recently retired to Charleston, SC where they enjoy the beautiful city with its rich history, and all things water-related. They travel extensively, having collectively visited over 70 countries across six continents. When not traveling, you can find her gardening or spending quality time with their friends or golden retriever, Ruby.
Barbara is responsible for the short and long-term goals concerning the fundraising efforts of the organization, and to assure implementation of actionable strategies for meeting those goals. In short, she will make sure that fund development is carried out in keeping with the organization’s values, mission, and objectives.
Barbara is a Registered Nurse by trade and has spent her entire career in the health care industry. After many years of caring for patients, Barbara transitioned to consulting, working with an international firm that was dedicated to enhancing both patient and workforce experiences, and improving operational performance in healthcare organizations across the USA, Australia, & Canada.
Barbara and her husband, Daniel, live in central NJ. In 2013, they traveled to Cambodia as a part of a humanitarian mission, where they were deeply touched by the humility and warm hospitality of the Cambodian people. Recently retired, Barbara is passionate to ‘give back’ in purposeful ways to make a difference in the lives of others.
Judy brings a wide array of organizational and logistics knowledge to her position. Her career spanned 30 years with a Fortune 500 company serving in various capacities that touched all aspects of wholesale distribution.
Judy brings a wide array of organizational and logistics knowledge to her position. After a trip to Battambang in 2017, she got involved with H.O.P.E. to help the children and advance the charity’s mission.
She enjoys traveling and has had the opportunity to see many different parts of the world. She also likes most sports, especially basketball and golf. Judy loves hanging out with family and friends.
Tori is responsible for tracking all monetary activity. She also prepares and files the necessary tax documentation for the organization.
Tori is a CPA in the state of Virginia and currently works at Dominion Energy in their Corporate Accounting Department. She coordinates the month end accounting close company-wide, performs the accounting for the internal Service Company, and works extensively on integration projects and accounting system upgrades. Tori specializes in both Federal Energy Regulation Commission (FERC) and Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) accounting and reporting, as well as SAP accounting systems.
Tori was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, where she currently lives. She is a proud Randolph Macon College Yellow Jacket and earned her Master’s Degree in Finance at Virginia Commonwealth University. Tori is a member of the Junior League of Richmond, where she volunteers regularly in her community. She also loves to play tennis and read.
Aiyana is assigned to the fundraising committee for H.O.P.E. In her role, Aiyana is responsible, with the assistance of the Chief Fundraising Officer to come up with ideas to raise money for the organization.
Aiyana currently sits on the Asian American Society of Central Virginia committee board as a volunteer coordinator, and the Cambodian Food Festival (Camfest) committee board as a facilitator.
Aiyana was born in Vietnam during the war, where she was lucky in two ways – being one of the lucky few that survived the Orphan Airlift crash and being adopted and raised by her loving family in California. Aiyana eventually moved to Virginia and lives with her dog Jewelz. Aiyana currently operates a successful online boutique. In her spare time she enjoys cooking, working out, and spending time with family.