In the Spirit of Giving
It always gives me great pleasure to write about non-profit organizations with a giving spirit. This was the atmosphere at the Chi Am Circle Scholarship Awards Dinner on May 16 when 30 high school seniors were happy campers as they strode up on stage to receive cash awards to help them with their college expenses. As Selection Committee Chairperson Lisa Liu said, “It was gratifying to meet this year’s scholarship recipients. They are a diverse group from all over Santa Clara County who will represent our community well wherever they are going to college. Even though they have a wide range of interests, they have all expressed a desire to give back, so our 2014 scholarship winners are truly an incredible group of students.”
Every one of the 200 patrons there, whether they be families or friends of the students, or the Chi Am Circle members and their guests, were inspired hearing the students speak. They were given only one minute, but in that short time, they were able to express well their future plans, their special interests and the gratitude they felt towards their parents, many, they said, who had to work two jobs to pay for their educational pursuits. Receiving over $65,000 in honorarium grants, donated by generous individual donors through this Chi Am Circle annual Awards program, were these deserving students: Erica Ding, Victoria Loo, Vincent Pham, Thuan Phung, Angela Ma, Vivian Tan, Lauren Gong, Michelle McNamara, Lordique Fok, Wai ho, Xuefei Yu, Hillary Nguyen, Arsenio Manuel, Hailey Sanidad, John Dayao, Eric Sato, Molly Vora, Steven Zheng, Xiaoshan Chen, Emily Wang, Tracey Ha, Natalie Hong, Nicholas Kikuchi, Whitney La, Michelle Luu, Diep Nguyen, Lucy Tang, Y.Kim Tang, Vivien Trinh and Melody Valdez. Congratulation gifts given to each student in addition to their scholarship grant from Chi Am Circle, were a book, “Chinese Gold” from George Ow Jr., and a City of San Jose proclamation from Councilman Kansen Chu.
As with any giving program, there is always a need for more funding to keep the program going, as it has for over 30 years with the Chi Am Circle. Thus an open auction of a one week stay at Pueblo Bonita Mazatlan Resort, donated by President Paulette Curby, was won by Sherwood Kwong, and a poster of the movie G.I. Joe Terminator, signed by Director Jon Chu, was brought home by Norman Tu. In addition, the club’s hostess team sold over $1000 worth raffle drawing tickets to hopeful winners of the 40 prizes at the China Stix Restaurant dinner. It is often said it takes a village to accomplish anything, but with Chi Am women, it only takes a handful to pull off another successful event for the community welfare. So bouquets to the efficient team of Liza Wong, Sharon Lai, Marichu Scanlon, Barbara Why, Birdie Adema, Dorothy Wu, Eva Wong, Jenny Ha, Jennie Hong, Leslie Tomihio, Lillian Timm, Mabel Lai, Maria Lu and Shelly Cen.
The hardest job in the world is choosing the winners when every submission from Asian American high school students in Santa Clara Valley was exceptional. So a round of applause must go to those untiring Chi Am members of the selection committee led by Lisa Liu and Verna Wong. They were Birdie Adema, Rachel Cheng, Paulette Curby, Sylvia Eng, Betty Garbern, Bev Harada, Cleo Jong, Helen Kwan, Ellen Lau, Pearl Lee, Susan Lee, Emily Lo, Rose Low, Darlene Mar, Teddy Sue, Leslie Tomihiro, Brenda Wong, Helen Yamauchi, Vanita Yuen and Gerrye Wong. Chi Am Circle is a 120 member strong organization of Asian American women, and you can tell, many were actively involved in this premier event for their organization.
But Chi Am members are never idle. The club is being presented with a Proclamation from the City of Saratoga in recognition of the many contributions made to the community for the past 50 years. Do I dare mention my own longevity when I reveal I was one of the original 10 founders of the Chi Am Circle in 1965?
At the May 21 Saratoga City Council meeting Mayor Emily Lo will present this award to Presidents Sylvia Eng and Paulette Curby and other attending members.
On June 8, to share support of the arts, Chi Am Circle will present “An Afternoon of Music for Cello and Piano at Le Petit Trianon Theatre Recital Hall in downtown San Jose. Featured cellist will be Gloria Lum, present member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and former member of the Oakland and Denver Symphonic Orchestras. Accompanying her is one of the Bay area’s favorite collaborative pianists, LaDene Otsuki , who has performed in ensembles with the Women’s Philharmonic Berkeley Symphony as well as chamber music concerts throughout Europe and California. Chi Am will provide a meet-and-greet the artists following the concert with refreshments so come spend a relaxing evening with Chi Am Circle sisters and bring your other music-loving friends. Support our Asian American
Artists whose talents have gained them recognition in the arts on Sunday,
June 8, 2 pm concert; $15 ticket reservations made payable to Chi Am Circle, P.O. Box 2756, Cupertino, CA 95014 or pay online at https://payments.skipjack.com/FormBuilder/VPOS.aspx
For further information: firstname.lastname@example.org – Attention Sharon Lai.
HALL OF MERIT HONOR
How nice it must feel to be recognized by your alma mater George Washington High School and inducted into its Hall of Merit. This happened to Dr. Allan Seid, class of Fall 1953 who was honored for community leadership. Long an advocate and leader in the South Bay Asian community, he has co-founded dozens of essential service organizations since moving to Palo Alto after receiving his Diploma of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in 1970. He was the first Asian American to serve on the California Board of Education as well as the California State Mental Health Council. In a span of 30 years he founded Pathway Society in San Jose and Asian Americans for Community Involvement of Santa Clara County, both still vital institutions serving the community needs.
Congratulations to Allan and wife Mary, who have three adult children, and continue to live on the peninsula.
She’s a pistol packing mama – that Vera Koo and we wish her well on May 21-23 when she will be competing in The Bianchi Cup, the NRA National Action Pistol Championship in Columbia, Missouri. By far, our Atherton native Vera will be the most attractive grandma competing, and we wish her the best of good luck.
THE ORPHAN OF ZHAO, a classic Chinese legend that has its roots in the fourth Century, BCE, will come onto the American Conservatory Theatre stage at the Geary Theater in San Francisco, come June 4-29. It stars Tony Award winner and San Francisco’s own hometown boy BD Wong, making his ACT debut. In the aftermath of a political coup, a country doctor is forced to sacrifice his own son in order to save the last heir of a noble and massacred clan. The Zhao story has been told in China for a millennium, and its arrival at the Geary stage starring BD, brings a remarkable company of Asian American actors and theater artists, including Byron Au Yong, Marie France Arcilla, Stan Egi, Philip Estrera, Nick Gabriel, Cindy Im, Orville Mendoza, Brian Rivera, Sab Shimono, Julyana Soelistyo, Paolo Montalban and of course, BD Wong. Tickets at act-sf.org or (415) 749-2228.
Welcome back to your hometown, BD and looking forward to seeing you on the San Francisco stage for your old friends and fans to enjoy.
A WORTHY MISSION TO HELP SURVIVORS
Freedom House’s 5th Annual Gala, named HOPE AND A FUTURE followed the organization’s theme of bringing hope, restoration and a new life to survivors of human trafficking. Over 300 eager dinner patrons bid actively during the large silent auction offerings and the vigorous open auction . Jaida Im, Founder and Executive Director, was seen on taped interview and on stage telling her story of how she, a person suffering for years from severe debilitating headaches, was blessed by a priest which brought her immediate relief. This enabled her to focus on a life work of giving shelter and long-term aftercare programs for young trafficking survivors whose childhood lives have been stolen through sexual exploitation, and Freedom House was born. The Monarch, which opened in the San Mateo County in 2010 is being followed by The Nest, a home for girls 12-17, in Santa Clara County. One table that caught my eye during an overly long pre-dinner silent auction time, was one stuck in a corner which was selling the handmade jewelry created by the trafficking survivors themselves living in Freedom House’s shelter. The proceeds will be given to the girls themselves in their road to recovery and a new life. . Good work done with a lot of volunteers which helped spread the word of this very worthwhile cause.
Kristi Yamaguchi followed her Always Dream Foundation’s mission to encourage reading with young children, and met with a large following of young children with their parents and grandparents at San Jose’s Happy Hollow park. Stations throughout the park gave out books for the youngsters to take home to read with performances and book readings very popular with the audience. San Francisco 49ers player Will Tukuafu and Disney Jr’s Choo Choo Soul featuring Genevieve and DC were favorite audience pleasers. NBC’s anchor Janelle Wang served as MC along with Warriors entertainer Franco Finn. Seen enjoying the festivity as much as the kids were San Jose Councilwoman Madison Nguyen, Dean Osaki, Elisa Wen and Bonnie Kwong along with sponsors of the event, Safeway Foundation, Fremont Bank, Jeff Kwong Orthodontics, 94.5K-Bay.