My name is Mai Kou Yang and I was born on Sept. 14, 1988 in Stockton. I am the third of five children. I have an older sister and brother, two younger brothers and plenty of relatives. My parents got married in Thailand at a young age. My parents, along with my two older siblings, came to the United States during the summer of 1988 and resided in Stockton. From Stockton, my parents decided to move their family to Fresno for a year. They then relocated to a small town in Northern California called Oroville. My family ended up living in Oroville for 18 years.
My childhood was filled with so much adventure and outdoor fun. I remember my family would always take pictures during our family outings. My family enjoyed hiking. We have taken hikes north of Table Mountain Trailhead, Feather River Trail, Oroville Dam that had spectacular views, trails by the Loafer Creek and Bidwell Canyon. We lived a few blocks away from Bedrock Park and my parents would take us every weekend to swim in the lake and enjoy a hike on the trail. In Oroville there was an annual salmon festival that took place once a year that my siblings and I enjoyed attending. It was considered one of the biggest events in town. There are so many people from all over who attend this event for the great food, entertainment and the amazing atmosphere.
In grade school I entertained myself with some of my favorite activities and games such as, MASH (a storytelling game that predicts one’s future), Pogs, Nintendo games, Nano pet, Skip-it, Chutes and Ladders, Koosh ball, Frisbee and Furby. I enjoyed my life as a kid and I kept myself busy with things that kids do.
During high school, I was very involved in school clubs and had several jobs. I worked as a sales representative for Avon and was a cashier at Jack in the Box. I remember an incident that took place during the time of my orientation at Avon. About 45 minutes into my orientation, we heard gunshots going off outside the building. The sound horrified me and I quickly dove underneath the table. We soon realized that a bullet had gone through the window (the same room I had my orientation) making a bullet mark on the glass window. Quickly after the incident, I left the job. In 2006, I graduated from Oroville High School. From high school I went to city college and graduated in 2009. My family and I relocated back to Fresno in 2009.
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I was a full-time student at Fresno State in 2009. During college, I volunteered at different companies. From my time volunteering I finally landed a job at the Boys and Girls Club in Fresno. At that time, I was working two jobs (one part-time and the other full-time as an unpaid intern) while finishing up my college courses. I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in recreation administration and was fortunate to find employment right after college.
I was fortunate to have met my wonderful husband, Pheng Xiong, in college and we tied the knot in 2014. My husband and I love partaking in activities together such as camping, food tasting tours, going to the beach and traveling. I work for the City of Clovis as a Recreation Specialist for the Clovis Senior Activity Center. I am responsible to create fun-filled activities for our local seniors within the community to enjoy and participate in.