Welcome to 4WARD APPAREL. I wanted to share a little about myself and explain the inspiration behind the brand. I would not be where I am today without the help of so many strong and compassionate men and women who have given to me in various ways throughout my life. I am forever grateful, and my life’s work is to pay it forward in their honor.
As a refugee family surviving the Khmer Rouge regime in the 1970s, I've seen the struggles my mom faced as an Asian woman setting foot in a new country. My father left us as soon as we arrived in America and instantly, my mom was a single mother of four working a $3.25 minimum wage job. Guided by the love and faith of our church and family friends, my mom was eventually able to afford a one bedroom apartment. I remember the five of us being cramped in one room, sharing beds and rationing 10 lb. bags of rice with eggs and soy sauce.
My mom’s hardships and those who helped us overcome our struggles will never be forgotten.
My elementary PE coach, Mrs. Niebes took my brothers and me in as her own and loved, guided, and nurtured us–she’s my Mother Teresa and my rock. I call her my second mom. In third grade, I asked her to help sign me up for soccer and she did—without hesitation. She paid for it knowing my family was not able to afford it, and even helped get me to and from practices and games. The next year, she signed me up for basketball, and her husband, the only father figure I would know, agreed to coach the team.
As a PE coach myself, her legacy lives in me each and every day. I honor her by wearing her favorite number, the number 4, when I compete. I wore the number 4 as the point guard for Southern Methodist University from 1999-2003, and I still wear the number 4 when I represent the national flag football team for USA Football. She is the inspiration behind the "4" in 4WARD APPAREL.
The "WARD" in 4WARD is inspired by Mrs. Ward, my fourth grade teacher. She was one of the only teachers I knew of that spent hours outside of school, supporting her student's extra-curricular activities. We keep in touch today, and still, 20 years later, she continues to support me by coming to my flag football games whenever she can. Mrs. Ward’s dedication to her students spoke volumes. Because her actions were so meaningful to me, I make it a point to attend my student’s extra-curricular activities with the hope that they know how much I care, love, and support them as well.
The endless support of my teachers, coaches, church members, friends, and family throughout our lives have had a profound impact on my heart. To those past and present, I want to express my extreme gratitude and say, “Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU.” And to those reading, thank YOU for being a part of MY T4LE. With each 4WARD APPAREL product sold, a portion of the proceeds will go to an individual, family, or organization in need. The goal is to touch as many lives as possible in a positive, loving, and impactful way and with the help of you, we can do just that. (see THE PL4N)