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People Taking Action: Virginia Beach woman helps young girl who lost parents

Posted at 5:48 PM, Aug 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-07 18:40:35-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Gymnastics class is much more fun with your best friend by your side.

Jolie and Jessica have been buddies at Excalibur Gymnastics in Virginia Beach for more than a year now.

Chris and Ngan Phan have treated little Jolie like their own since Jolie’s mother, Ellie Tran, was murdered by Jolie's father on Valentine's Day last year.

Ngan and many in the Vietnamese community who knew the family were devastated. Ngan in particular "couldn't think about anything else besides Jolie."

Ngan made it her mission to help a little girl - whose mother was killed and whose father is now in prison - have as normal a life as possible with all the love that a family can give.

“I try the best for her," she said. "It’s meant to be and feel like she has a family. We sign them up for school, gymnastics, we sign them up for ballet class.”

Ellie’s sister, Jolie’s aunt, is especially grateful that the Phans have stepped in during the worst of times to be Jolie’s godparents.

“We are very lucky to have Miss Phan as a family friend. She’s helped us so much," she said.

And we felt she deserved to be recognized with a People Taking Action award. We also surprised her with a $300 gift card from our community partner, Southern Bank.

The Phans have given Jolie a wonderful gift, and her mother surely knows they're doing this for her.

“I think so too. She’s the best too. Jolie and my daughter - they are the best family," Ngan said.