Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Joyful July 🌺

“Friendship is born at the moment when one person says to another, "What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” This quote from C.S. Lewis’ The Four Loves illustrates well what was birthed over the past month at Tea Talk with the great contributions of a volunteer group from New York, USA.

This group of NYU students and staff came to Tea Talk to serve – and serve they did.  They did everything from sharing in several different workshops related to smart parenting, personal and cultural identity, and writing therapy to singing, dancing, and doing fun science activities as part of a Kids Club.

Still further, they helped in facilitating every Let’s Chat and Let’s Share for the month of July, and went on several outings around the city (Museum of Ethnology, Temple of Literature, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, and more) with friends from both. They invited their new Vietnamese friends over to their apartments for dinners and their new Vietnamese friends did the same.
This was all in addition and a complement to the primary program they helped to pioneer at Tea Talk: The Cultural Exchange Program, where for two full, intensive weeks they were engaged with students in sharing about such topics as Family Life, Photography, Art in America, Music & Dance in America, School in America, and Food in America. They did this, though, from a uniquely multi-cultural perspective, as 5 of the team members were born in different countries. 

Thus, the beauty of the quote above, lived out on a day-to-day basis at Tea Talk. The students who signed up for the Cultural Exchange Program expected to learn many new and different things about foreign cultures from the New York Team, while also seeing it as an opportunity to improve their English. However, something much greater happened. They discovered that while they and the New York team did of course have special and unique differences, what was more stimulating and energizing was that even though they came from different sides of the planet, they actually had a lot in common – similar dreams and goals, similar fears and troubles, similar hopes for a better future. As different as their cultures were, they found that at their core, there were similar longings inside. And as much as they improved their English, what was better was that they learned to communicate openly about those longings and struggles. Both the New York Team and the Cultural Exchange participants truly found Tea Talk to be a place where they could “express their soul.”

We are excited about the relationships built over the past month with these friends and and the awareness it has helped to bring to other ongoing activities at Tea Talk.  And given the success of how the New York Team and Tea Talk staff were able to work together to make this happen, we are hopeful that Tea Talk will be able to help organize a program like this again!

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The Ong Family landed safe and sound in USA. Michael and Jacqueline, who are enrolling daughter Grace at Calvin College in Michigan, are themselves staying in Minnesota this academic year. 
As mentioned in our June Newsletter, during this period, Ms. Luong, the Communications Officer will be managing the chat on Michael's Vietnam WhatsApp number. For matters related to Tea Talk, please contact Ms. Luong to be directed to the person in charge.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

See you again...

"Goodbyes are not forever. Goodbyes are not the end.
They simply mean I'll miss you until we meet again..."

Dear Tea Talk friends,
Our dear founder Michael Ong officially left Vietnam for a long leave of sabbatical until June 2018. He and his wife will be enrolling their daughter Grace at Calvin College in Michigan, USA, and then moving to Minnesota where they will be based for a year of debriefing, writing, and planning after 16 years of dedication to Vietnam.
During this period, Ms. Luong, the Communications Officer will be managing the chat on his Vietnam WhatsApp number. For matters related to Tea Talk, please contact Ms. Luong to be directed to the person in charge.

As the last love message before his long leave, Michael offered his precious time to be the guest speaker at Let's Share. On this night, he again shared simply, yet ever powerfully, about the story of how Tea Talk began, with all of the ups and downs along the way. His engaging sharing reminded us all of the heartbeat of Tea Talk and even Let’s Share, inviting us all to continue to be part of the story as we share our hearts, learn from, and support one another.

Thumbs Up!!! πŸ‘ πŸ‘πŸ‘ 

It is obviously our pleasure to run our Tea Talk Vietnam fanpage and post daily updates about our cafe and social services. Your likes, shares, and comments have greatly contributed to our work for the community in Hanoi. Without your ongoing trust, encouragement over the past 5 years, Tea Talk would simply not be what it is today. Thank you so much for 10.000 likes and more in the days ahead. We always welcome you to join us to sit long, talk much and laugh often!

Monday, June 19, 2017

May, A New Chapter

Summer has come to every corner in Hanoi. If you are in the area of Tran Duy Hung street, don't forget to drop by Tea Talk for a cup of coffee and share with us your summer stories.

The Ong family has begun their transition for their move to America. Michael and Jacqueline are going to the US this summer to enroll daughter Grace at Calvin College in Michigan, and then move to Minnesota where they will be based for a year of debriefing, writing, and planning after 16 years of dedication to Vietnam.
This transition also means that Michael officially stepped down from all management work at Tea Talk. Our Social Enterprise is now managed by a new Board of Directors that includes Mrs Thuy Trang (Executive Director), Mrs Thu Ha (Business Director) and Ms Thu Huong (Communications & Operations Director).

The Ong Family has been in Hanoi for 16 years
Inspired by the visit and activities of our friends from Australia, Saturday Fun started in the middle of April 2017 as our latest program for kids from 3-10 years old. The purpose is to provide a place for kids and their parents to play together through a variety of kids crafts. Through these activities, parents and kids can have fun and understand more about each other. With different topics each week, kids will learn how to use different materials properly and creatively. Tea Talk's family room has gradually become a regular place for our young friends to socialize and experience new things. 

Saturday Fun's little participants

This month, together with Let's Share, the newest weekly session, Let's Chat, was launched. Now, every Tuesday and Thursday, friends can visit Tea Talk to not only improve their English, but what's more, grow in areas of critical thinking and life skills. Let's Chat started off with the topic of "What is Success?" in relation to how our Tea Talk founder, Michael Ong, views success at Tea Talk and in life. The next topic was a two-parter, spreading out over two weeks, where Let's Chat teacher and facilitator Presley McFadden took the students into "Adventures in Dating", and explored conflict management within his own relationship with wife Mary in their dating days. The topics have been relevant and fun, and have given opportunity for students to practice some of the basic elements of speaking and pronunciation. We look forward to more fun times of chatting (Tuesdays) and sharing (Thursdays) each week!

"Let's Talk PLUS" provided a special Team Bonding event for the first time, with select students from throughout the Let's Talk generations. It was conducted by CoRE together with Mrs Gwen Johnson. This event was such a great opportunity for LetsTalkers to improve relationships with each another as well as build an effective support network in mental health care. The team bonding was even more significant since it was one of the last activities Gwen hosted in Vietnam before leaving in June for her home country. Thank you Gwen so much for your continuous support towards our work over the past 3 years. You will be missed!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Be Glad in April ( :

- Now it's May! But wait, how was your April? Was it fun?
- Yes, we were so glad to continue serving our community!

To celebrate our fifth anniversary this year, on a beautiful Sunday morning on 9th April, we organized a special event “Let’s Celebrate Family” to welcome many parents and children in the area of Hanoi. Along with musical performances on stage, we conducted different outdoor games to help strengthen the bonds between family members. While parents were busy attending workshops on parenting skills, their children were happy to join creative and playful activities like making small gifts, decorating cookies, face-painting or board games. We indeed couldn’t accomplish our mission without the great support from our volunteers, partners and all the attendants who spent their precious time to join our fifth anniversary. Together, we created a harmonious space that helped family members get closer.

πŸ”ŠSATURDAY FUN has officially launched! πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰
Saturday Fun is our weekly activity that aims to provide a place for creative play for children from ages 4 to 11 years. By joining our fun activities such as arts & crafts, decorating cookies or making handmade toys from recycled materials, we hope they can grow both physically and mentally.

In April, LET'S SHARE enjoyed a series of discussions related to Easter, as even the recent film "Beauty and the Beast" was revealed (by guest speaker Beka Reise) as a story that displays how true love sacrifices for someone who has done wrong, and restores that person, making them new. Indeed, the month kickstarted with REI-Vietnam staff Ginny Teel and Rebecca Hedges offering "Easter and Spring: A Time for New Beginnings". And as Let's Share enters it's second year, we know WHAT we do at Let's Share and HOW we go about doing it, but the question of WHY was explored in another session called "Life Planning: Vision and Values" led by Raymond Tan and Lawrence Liew. Let's Share continues to exist to give young Vietnamese friends an opportunity to truly express their souls while learning and sharing about new and relevant topics in life.  We saw this happen again with the final Let's Share of April entitled "Desert Storm: A Liberation Story", where a military veteran shared about his experience in war trying to help free a country, but how nowadays he's working to help people find personal freedom. Of course, we had fun playing some games and trivia, and winning some prizes along the way! 

Following the success of our events under Let's Talk PLUS in March, in April, 13 - 14th, Ms. Jean Lim (MA Counseling), Director of PowerVision EAP Inc. from the Philippines, together with CoRE, conducted a training workshop on Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT). SFBT is an approach to psychotherapy that, as the name implies, focuses on solutions rather than problems. This focus makes it shorter than other forms of therapy. Through the therapeutic conversations, the therapist and client collaborate to envision what the client wants and to discover solutions from the client’s strengths and experiences. This training workshop attracted social workers, psychologists and students. All found it helpful and easy to apply to their work.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Let's Run For Tea Talk and CoRE!

Hello everyone!

Our dear friend Owen Soon from Singapore would be doing an Ironman 70.3 triathlon race in Danang in May 2017 to raise SGD$ 10,000 for Tea Talk and CoRE.

So Let's Run for Tea Talk and CoRE! ALL funds raise would go to support our counselling services and other community outreach programs. The hope is that more people who are in need of help will benefit from these services.

To donate and update his fund raising journey, please click this link. Thank you so much for your donations! Each dollar will go a long way to help someone in need!
Read more about Ironman 70.3 Vietnam here!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Let's Celebrate Family

Tea Talk, in conjunction with its 5th Anniversary is organizing a community event "Let's Celebrate Family".  Do come out and join us.  You can also support us by purchasing a ticket and donate it to low income families.  Each ticket is 120k Vnd, or SG$8 or US$6.

Let’s Celebrate Family.
This community event will bring people together, a chance for individual, couples, young families to build, strengthen, and tighten family bonds with their loved ones.
Participants will enjoy a dynamic fun-filled atmosphere with activity corners on topics like parenting skills, family conflict resolution and skills to build your relationships. There are many interactive games for children and the whole family.

Tickets are available atTea Talk Vietnam, No. 16 Lane 100 Tran Duy Hung, Hanoi
Or call: +84 4 6269 6466/ 01254598261

To donate tickets for low-income families or volunteer for the program please
For more information, please visit:

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Tea Talk's new location

Tea Talk's new location:

House no: 16, Lane 100 Tran Duy Hung. Cau Giay. Ha Noi.
Read more about it here: