By: Ryan Tejero
It is considered to be the most vibrant and active Filipino American organization in Iowa. With its noble mission to integrate American heritage and culture while maintaining, preserving and promoting Filipino heritage, the Filipino American Society (FAS) in Iowa has stood upon the ideals of bringing into its organizational structure and membership both Filipinos and Americans.
FAS adheres to the undying Filipino emblem of Bayanihan Spirit. Its membership is a community of committed and passionate individuals that are true in exemplifying the values of cooperation, camaraderie and the unselfish caring for others while working for the common good. It is this esprit de corps that elevates volunteering of one’s self, time and resources to the highest and most admirable levels. This is the trademark of FAS that puts it above the rest.
FAS was created in 2013 for the purpose of promoting unity, fostering cooperation, advancing mutual respect among the members of the Filipino American community and their families by generating and involving in projects that nurture cultural diversities and increased understanding of Filipino values. FAS was also organized to establish partnership and initiate collaboration with other organizations for public work and community outreach; assist newly-arrived immigrants in obtaining education and employment as well as linking them with community resources to them in their settlement and adjustment concerns; encourage youth active participation in community activities and develop leadership, and help victims of calamities and disasters in the Philippines through local and international relief foundations.
For the first time this year, FAS unveils one of its high-impact projects that benefit the youth who are both academically-gifted and have exhibited outstanding leadership in the community. FAS recognizes the power of the younger generation to uplift our community’s future. The FAS Scholarship Project is unique in the sense that it is open to the young students here in the United States. Applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements: must be age 24 or younger; is an active Filipino American Society Associate Member; must either be a US citizen or legal resident of the United States; and must be enrolled in or is accepted to a college, university or vocational school in the United States for the 2019-2020 school year. Monetary award will be given to successful recipients. The scholarship application process is now closed, and successful recipients will be announced before July 31, 2019. For the year 2019, FAS has the following activities already lined up. Summer will heat up more with the 5th Annual Picnic & Pig Roast on July 27, 2019 from 1-5 P.M. at the Raccoon River Park – Shelters A, B, & C. There will be a minimal cost of $5 person or $10 per family. FAS Associates are free. In October, a star-studded 5th Annual Filipino Fiesta of Iowa is scheduled on October 5, 2019. In November, the 4th Annual Honoring the Veterans is already scheduled. Everyone is invited to join in celebrating the milestones of the true American heroes on Veteran’s Day. The event is scheduled to run from 11am to 3pm and is open to the public. The venue is sponsored by the Plumbers & Steamfitters Local 33, and is located at 2501 Bell Avenue in Des Moines, IA 50321. To end the year of 2019, FAS will gather everyone in the community in their most festive 6th Annual Christmas Party which is scheduled on December 14, 2019, from 5-10 PM at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites, 8789 Plum Drive, Urbandale, IA 50322.
For more details of the events and projects of FAS, visit their website at www.fasiowa.com. Learn more and get involved!
Luisita Thompson, Founder of the Filipino American Society in Iowa
(From L): Steve Eckert, Scholarship Co-Chairman, Luisita Thompson, FAS Founder and Donors, Mr. and Mrs. Wagenaar
Officers of the Filipino American Society in Iowa: Luisita Dona Thompson, Founder/Executive Chairman, Lawrence McBurney, Co-Chairman, Carmelita Heyne, Board of Directors, Mercy Meador, Board of Directors, Lanie Cross, President/ Board of Director, Bobbie Vida VanRoekel, Vice-President, Melissa Eckert, Secretary Ernesto Puzon III, Treasurer, Annalyn Vida, Outreach Program Director, Emily Keddie, Public Relations Officer, Divina Gerdeman, Public Relations Officer, Richard Meador, Sgt. At Arms, Thomas Benoit, Sgt. At Arms, Steve Eckert, Scholarship Chairman, Paul Smith, Scholarship Co-Chairman, Kristine Estayo, Scholarship Committee Member.