Author Pati Poblete is Today’s Honoree


On September 21, 2014, Pati Poblete’s beloved son Robby was killed by gun violence in broad daylight at a busy intersection in Vallejo, CA. He was 23 years old. A Better Place is a mother’s story of loss and redemption as she weaves her path through the tragedy.

Poblete takes readers on a raw, heartbreaking journey from the scene of the crime, to a worldwide quest to understand Robby’s unfulfilled plans – all while trying to make sense of what has happened. Through her writing, she reveals how his death has changed her and how she used the horrifying experience to make sure her son’s legacy endures.

A documentary about Poblete’s story is now in the works. You can find a brief promo clip HERE.


Pati Navalta Poblete is a longtime Bay Area journalist, serving as the Community Editor for the Vallejo Times-Herald, News Editor at the Alameda News Group, and Editorial Writer and Columnist for The San Francisco Chronicle, where she was nominated twice for the Pulitzer Prize for her editorial series on the need for foster care reform in California. She later worked as the Asia Regional Director for an international organization that works with national governments and intergovernmental agencies on shaping sustainability policies. She is the author of “The Oracles: My Filipino Grandparents of America” (2006, Heyday Books), and the author of the upcoming book, A Better Place (Nothing But the Truth Publishing), to be released in May 2018.

You can watch her story HERE.

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Short Hair Detention Author Channy Chhi Laux is Today’s Honoree

About The Book:

When the Communist-aligned Khmer Rouge asserted their regime over Cambodia in 1975, they enacted a country-wide genocide that ended in the deaths of nearly two million people. For four years, Channy Chhi Laux lived under that terrifying rule.

Towards the fall of this regime, Laux immigrated to the United States as a refugee. Now Laux shares a harrowing tale of survival in “Short Hair Detention: Memoir of a Thirteen-Year-Old Girl Surviving the Cambodian Genocide.”

“Short Hair Detention” chronicles Laux’s experiences as a survivor of the Khmer Rouge. Complete with emotional narrative from the perspective of a young teenage girl, Laux candidly discusses her life that was dictated by fear throughout the four years she endured the Cambodian genocide.

She sheds light on the emotional toils she suffered—which stemmed from starvation and the separation from her parents—and eventually came to the United States as a refugee. Laux would go on to earn multiple degrees before launching a 30-year career as a software and systems engineer. A story of redemption, Laux’s memoir demonstrates her unwavering perseverance, faith in God, courage to move past her pain and hope that she would be reunited with her family.

“Short Hair Detention shows that an unfortunate beginning does not determine the end of one’s story,” Laux said. “Four years of living in darkness and suffering did not define the remainder of my life. What kept me sane was the love that I had for my mother, and the empowerment that they cannot control me 100%, I am free to think.”

About The Author:

Channy Laux is a survivor of the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia. She was thirteen-years-old when the Khmer Rouge took over the country in 1975. From 1975 to 1979, Channy endured starvation, horrendous working conditions, sickness and repeated separations from her family.

In June of 1979, Channy arrived in Lincoln Nebraska as a refugee. After four years of no school and not knowing a word of English, she attended Lincoln High School; went on to earn BS degrees in Computer Science and Mathematics from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a Master of Science in Applied Mathematics from Santa Clara University. Channy worked in Silicon Valley as an engineer in the Aerospace and Biotech industries for 30 years.

As a strong supporter for women in engineering, Channy has been a board member of INCOSE (International Council on Systems Engineering) and held office as president of INCOSE Bay Area Chapter.

Channy is married to her college sweetheart, they have two children Natasha and Richard. Channy is living in Fremont CA with her husband Kent Laux. She is passionate about food, cooking, dining, and entertaining friends. She is an entrepreneur and owner of Apsara Foods, manufacturing Cambodian food products here in the USA.

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Author Marty Cole is Today’s Honoree

About The Book:

Using his own experiences, author Marty Cole shares his journey of healing, forgiving, and loving after suffering trauma and illness in his book “My Amazing Transformation of Love, Courage, and Wisdom.”

At six years old, Cole entered military school, and from age six to eleven, he was verbally, physically, emotionally, mentally, and psychologically abused. Sometimes, he was beaten so badly, he bled. When Cole returned home at age fifteen, it was tough to adjust to home life after nine years away. He asked his father if he could get his own apartment and he obliged.

Finally, Cole started living, enjoying the sexual freedom of the late 1960s and early 1970s to the fullest. However, when he was sixteen and eighteen years of age, two different men raped him. Later, Cole was diagnosed with cancer. He sought counseling, and what he learned is that he needed to forgive – and that love heals all people, places, and things if one believes it will.

“I want to inspire, encourage, motivate, and empower other people with my love, courage, and wisdom,” said Cole. “Love is the only answer to everything.”

Whether one has suffered abuse, is trying to help someone who has, or is battling a serious disease or illness, the reader will be inspired by “My Amazing Transformation of Love, Courage, and Wisdom.”

About the Author:

Marty Cole, a three-time cancer survivor, has lived a life filled with adventures and challenges. He was a community group leader for eleven years and has been a teacher for several years at California State University, Fullerton – Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the Ruby Gerontology Center in Fullerton, California. Cole lives according to his motto: “Spread love and gratitude every day to yourself and others.

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Author and Canadian Olympian Jeremiah Brown is Today’s Honoree

About The Book:

Improbable, heart-wrenching, and uplifting, Jeremiah Brown’s journey from novice rower to Olympic silver medallist in under four years is a story about chasing a goal with everything you’ve got.

After nearly being incarcerated at age seventeen and becoming a father at nineteen, Jeremiah Brown manages to grow up into a responsible young adult. But while juggling the demands of a long-term relationship, fatherhood, mortgage payments, and a nine-to-five banking career, he feels something is missing. A new goal captures his imagination: What would it take to become an Olympian?

Guided by a polarizing coach, Brown and his teammates plumb the depths of physical and mental exertion in pursuit of a singular goal. The 4 Year Olympian is a story of courage, perseverance, and overcoming self-doubt, told from the perspective of an unlikely competitor.

About The Author:

Jeremiah Brown won an Olympic silver medal as a member of the Canadian men’s eight rowing team at the London 2012 Olympic Games. A former commercial banker with a big dream, he is one of few Olympians ever to have started learning his sport only four years before winning a medal at the Olympics. He currently works at the Canadian Olympic Committee as National Manager of Game Plan, an athlete wellness and transition program supporting 3000 Olympic, Paralympic, and national team athletes across more than 54 sports. Jeremiah is a Canadian sport system expert, keynote speaker, dad, and drummer who has played with award-winning artists. He lives in Peterborough, Canada.

The 2012 Canadian Men’s Eight: Brian Price, Will Crothers, Jeremiah Brown, Andrew Byrnes, Malcolm Howard, Conlin McCabe, Rob Gibson, Doug Csima, Gabe Bergen.

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Arms Around You Founder Avon Curtis is Today’s Honoree

Arms Around You (AAY) is a non-profit re-entry resource program that serves formerly incarcerated individuals coming out of correctional facilities by assisting with transitional needs. AAY is an organization that provides innovative, personal evelopment driven reentry assistance and resources designed to increase public safety and reduce recidivism. AAY joined the King County Department of Corrections Resource Fair in it’s first of many community partner events to increase awareness of the services provided by the young non-profit. The Resource fair took place on Saturday April 14, 2018 from 2-4pm at Kent Lutheran Church, 336 2nd Ave S, Kent, WA 98032.

AAY founder and CEO Avon Curtis, is a long-time advocate of the rights of incarcerated individuals. With over 15 years’ experience in the field of project and case management, the Seattle native has firsthand knowledge of the obstacles individuals with criminal records face in many areas of life that hinder their ability to successfully reintegrate back into society including issues relating to employment, education, housing, and eligibility for many social service benefits. “I believe everybody deserves a second chance in life,” explains Curtis, “And sometimes being met with complications when trying to re-enter into general population can be disheartening, so at Arms Around You we make sure that our participants know we care about helping them succeed so we take a hands on approach to helping reduce recidivism by investing in the personal development of each individual in the program.”

The resource fair is the first of many upcoming community events that will allow the non-profit to work with community partners to grow its network of community support and resources in the hopes of improving public safety and outcomes for people reentering their communities.

For more information visit Arms Around You at


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Balance Coach Jasmin Terrany is Today’s Honoree

Jasmin Terrany grew up in a home that her friends lovingly called “Willy Wonka’s Factory.” Her mother decorated every inch of the home, from the mailbox to the kitchen cabinets, in hearts and pastel colors. The unique and playful decor reflected her mother’s dedication to live from love, and to enjoy life to the fullest.

While she was grateful for her upbringing, Jasmin realized as a young adult that because of her happy and loving surroundings, she didn’t know what to do with her pain. In a world where so many had a reason to suffer, she felt guilty when she struggled. This led to challenges with dating, body-image, food, exercise, and career.

Committed to living an extraordinary life, Jasmin began attending her own weekly therapy appointments. She confronted her feelings and was able to heal. Therapy helped Jasmin release body image issues and taught her how to manifest a loving marriage. As she mastered her own inner experience, she realized she was destined to help others do the same.

As a result, Jasmin got two masters degrees from Columbia University to become a therapist, starting her own private practice in 2007. Due to her mother’s guidance, Jasmin has been meditating since childhood; so rather than practice traditional psychotherapy, she created Life Therapy™, a combination of Psychotherapy & Coaching + Mindfulness & Meditation.

Life threw Jasmin a curveball as a tragedy occurred in January 2015, when her mother was killed in a car accident.

She spent the next year trying to manage her devastated father, raise a one-year-old son, maintain a healthy marriage and run her private practice. As the first anniversary of her mother’s death arrived, Jasmin went into labor three weeks early with her second child. In a matter of hours, the day that should have brought grief and pain became one of the most divine.

Her daughter was born on the anniversary of her mother’s death.

This moment brought her life greater peace and purpose. Inspired by her own healing journey, Jasmin wrote her book, Extraordinary Mommy: A Loving Guide to the Most Important Job There Is. In this book, she reflects on her loving childhood, through her journey into motherhood. Through entertaining stories, and cliff-notes style she summarizes the ten practices that matter most for any mother.

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Author B.K. Mhatre is Today’s Honoree

About The Book:

According to the Department of Homeland Security, an average of over one million individuals legally travel to the United States in search of a new and permanent home. While striving for the American dream, those born and raised stateside do not share the same experiences – or challenges – that immigrants do. B.K. Mhatre portrays America through the eyes of an immigrant in the fiction book “Manhattan Alien.”

“Manhattan Alien” follows the relocation story of Raju, a young Indian doctor looking to earn his share in a homeland. He is greeted with a culture shock that makes it difficult for him to navigate American society and build the life he has always dreamed.

Raju struggles to grasp the intricacies of his new country as he navigates an unfamiliar language, unexpected opportunities and a budding romance. Will Raju be able to discover who he is as well as build a new life for himself?

“Whether you are coming to America for the first time or a natural citizen, there is insight to be gleaned from Manhattan Alien,” Mhatre said. “Those immigrating to America will find comfort and guidance in coping with the inevitable culture shock. Readers fortunate enough to have been born on U.S. soil will hopefully gain a different perspective on the unique obstacles faced by those arriving to a new home.”

About The Author:

After visiting the United States for the first time, B.K. Mhatre wrote a series of emails to friends and family about his experiences in America. This inspired the author to pen a fictionalized account of his immigrant’s life in “Manhattan Alien.”

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