Laura Som (left) at The MAYE Center

Laura Som (left) at The MAYE Center

 

Laura Som

MAYE Center Director. 
Self-Healing and Health Promotion Instructor. 

som@theMAYEcenter.org

Long Beach is my community. In 1992, when I was about 10 years old, I immigrated to Long Beach California from the refugee camps in Cambodia and remained a resident ever since. I was first enrolled in the last quarter of the 4th grade like a normal kid because of my age. No one, including myself, knew I was inflicted with PTSD and that my memories were suppressed due to extreme trauma. I didn’t even know my name.

I went to Poly High School and it is here that I began to take a stand that no one would ever understand. I knew something had happened to me that resulted in my circumstances. Despite all academic examinations that say I’m below average or normal, the micro-aggression and discrimination in Long Beach I knew those circumstances will not continue to limit my life, intelligence and has no say in my future.

I withdrew myself out of the normal high school curriculum. No more ESL classes or programs that put me behind in life. I began to organize my teachers and fellow students to support students’ academic achievement and founded a club on campus for students to mentor and help each other to succeed in school.

The risks I took in high school ended with a success.  I went to college and completed my Bachelor’s Degree in Biochemistry, finished my Pre-Med and took the medical school entrance examine as a person and student with PTSD. After college, I spoke up for a small portion of Long Beach to be designated as Cambodia Town to help my people heal from the destruction of our homeland and to build a new home here.

No one knew the invisible wounds and struggles in my heart. I continued to do medical missions in Cambodia from 2000 to 2014 and with an agenda to recover my memory and put my life back into one piece. Most of my memories have been recovered, I found my name, reunited with my foster parent, relatives and family. Now I’m left with one memory that I still await to embrace, the memory of my father.

I founded The MAYE Center. In 2013 I invited kindred souls to actualize the center. The center focuses on building a center of excellence as a space and community for people to cultivate their self-healing and academic advancement and to build a holistic integrated Healthcare system in Long Beach. My vision is to open opportunities for those who have suffered trauma to become whole again and nurture their innate ability to heal, learn and thrive.

 

"My self-healing odyssey is the journey of self discovery. MAYE comes from my exploration of trauma healing in Cambodia and in the United States. We cultivate members resiliency, health and nurture their innate ability to heal and learn, integrate into the mainstream, overcome social isolation and thrive."