Ocean Beach family gives back to local school

Posted at 6:45 PM, Feb 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-15 21:45:02-05

Teachers at Ocean Beach School are able to buy supplies for their classrooms thanks to one generous family.

“My dad told me, my mom told me, if we have the ability to help out people, then it's our duty to help out,” said Steven Yeng.

Yeng remembers his first year at Ocean Beach School as a third grader not knowing a word in English.

"After five years of refugee camps in Thailand, I end up in Ocean Beach. We don't know how, but it was a blessing in disguise,” said Yeng. "I just remember that everyone was very accepting. I made friends right away."

He credits his third grade teacher, Cyndie Volpone for paving the way for him to feel at home. 

“She had me teach the students how to use the chopstick. She made me feel right at home. She went above and beyond any teacher that I ever had,” added Yeng.

Over the years, the Yeng family has given back to OB School. They'd bring the teachers and students donuts from the family's donut shop down the street. And they'd hold two events a year for the school which raised about $1,000 each.

But this year, the Yeng family went big. Recently, they gave the school principal and Miss Cyndie a check for $10,000. 

Volpone came up with the idea to split it among all 20 teachers here - giving each one $500. Volpone plans to use the money to buy planners and dictionaries for her fourth grade class.

"That way they can buy whatever they need. Anything they need for the class,” said Yeng. “Miss Cyndie changed my world, where now I have four businesses in Ocean Beach.”

That includes the donut shop and three OB Noodle Houses. Humble, Yeng didn't want to make a big deal out of it. But the word got out about the donation when someone posted the good news on Facebook. Yeng says the news was especially gratifying for his dad who was suddenly hospitalized 10 days ago for a rare heart condition. 

"I shared with my dad. It made him happy that we're following his footsteps. This is the beginning, we want to do this every single year,” said Yeng.

Yeng’s parents recently opened up two schools in their native country of Cambodia.