How we have become an organization!
CDSD exists to collectively help each other grow and improve the quality of life in our communities by promoting our diverse arts and culture through artistic means. We have served more than two hundred boys and girls; about forty youths annually school-age, at-risk Cambodian children of low-income families in San Diego.
Mrs. Kanika Suon, who is our current president, was a counselor in a teen pregnancy prevention program in 1999, called the Dream Catchers. She created a Cambodian dance group activity and called it the Cambodian Dancers of San Diego to keep at-risk youth productive after school. At the end of the Dream Catchers program, CDSD was continued independently by volunteers, and became a non-profit 501 (c)3 corporation in December, 2000.
Our year-round and curriculum-based teaching of Cambodian dances and our public performances are our attraction motivating youth to enroll in other programs. CDSD has been invited to perform for special occasions for the San Diego Performing Arts League’s “Bravo San Diego” at the Westgate Hotel; the Plastic Surgeon’s Conference at Mingei Museum, the annual fundraising gala for Union of Pan Asian Communities and other events such as a recent Dragon Boat Racing, USC Asian Month Awareness, and Cambodian New Year celebration at the Colina Del Sol park, San Diego as well as at the Buddhist temple at Fontana city.
CDSD has also been proud of our own annual dance show, “APSARA” and “Celebrating Khmer New Year”, our special 5th and 6th anniversary performance that have impressed our audience with its professionalism and its beauty. Accompanied by “Pinn Peat”, a traditional Cambodian orchestra, the performance gave our audience an exceptional level of entertainment and whetted their interest for our next performance.
Recently, CDSD has been invited by the San Diego Repertory Theatre as consultant on Cambodian culture and dances, and to teach its professional dancers at the Lyceum Theater. CDSD’s reputation has been gaining continuously within the San Diego communities. This year also, we have the privilege to receive supports from the New American Immigrant Museum of San Diego.
The organization, “Social Development & Advocates” (SDA) has developed from our successful “Cambodian Dancers of San Diego” (CDSD) program. At the end of the Dream Catchers program, CDSD was continued by volunteers, and by the youths themselves to carry on health-risk prevention programs during evenings and weekends. SDA functions in two areas: social, health, and education programs; and culture preservation programs. Thus, SDA offers Cambodian traditional dance training, social mentoring, academic monitoring, HIV & hepatitis prevention, and smoking prevention, as well as school readiness for children under five. Every program was created in response to the expressed needs of families and young people. Many other Cambodian associations and other local social, health and school agencies have collaborated with SDA because of the success of our dance program and its annual performances.