Ki Ngo arrived in the United States after six of his brothers and sisters before him. His parents were
later to follow. A family of eight children, his parents sent them to secure a better live and education,
“All the kids left the country by boat,” Ngo remembers. “We started out in Arkansas. A man had been
sponsoring a lot of Vietnamese people in Fayetteville. I lived with him since the day I came to the U.S.,
up until I went to college. He was like my second father.”
Ngo stayed with him from seventh grade until he went to the University of Kentucky for dental school.
He moved to Arizona after that, following a sister who had already set up a dentistry practice here.
“(Phoenix) seemed like a good city for mainly the business aspect of it for dentistry at that time,”
Ngo said. “It turned out to be a very good location for me to establish my business and get to know
the Vietnamese community.”
Seven years later, and after opening five dentistry offices, Ngo has become an important part of the
Vietnamese community here.
“It’s time for me to return by doing whatever I can for the Vietnamese community...”
“Because I’m pretty stabilized at this point, it’s time for me to return by doing whatever I can for
the Vietnamese community because of the support they gave me when I first started,” Ngo said.
Ngo plans to build a Vietnamese community center for the older people and younger people to come
together. The center will also have televisions with Vietnamese stations and computers so visitors can keep
up to date with current events in Vietnam.
“The idea for the center in the beginning is to have a place mainly for the older people to hang out
and get together because it is still difficult for them to get together here,” Ngo said. “The community is
so new and fresh and it’s a perfect time to build this.”
The center will also have information for obtaining U.S. citizenship, classes about health and a
Opening the center is a dream for Ngo after several other projects he has been involved with in
Arizona. Currently, he has a foundation that provides scholarships to Vietnamese students, teaches Vietnamese
classes, helps with Vietnamese pageants and does fundraising for projects in Vietnam. One of those projects
is a school he is building south of Saigon for the handicapped, teaching them computer skills.
Other projects for Ngo more locally include a Vietnamese restaurant and an Asian club. He said that
he is trying to help the Vietnamese community in Phoenix become closer.
“The community center is for older people, the restaurant is for a mingling of ages, East and West, to hang
out and the club is mainly for the younger people,” Ngo said. “I’m trying to cater to all groups of people
and bring everyone together.”
Ngo said he is optimistic about the future of the Vietnamese community in Arizona because the majority
of Vietnamese are young and he anticipates growth. His projects are aimed to create cultural gathering spots
for Vietnamese and non-Vietnamese to interact and enjoy life.
“I’m pretty much creating things that I consider to be fun for the community because we don’t have
enough entertainment,” Ngo said. “Everybody is anticipating, wanting something fun for Phoenix. Because most
of us, whenever we want something fun we go to California for that. So that’s what I’m trying to make it