This article was originally published in KTSF 26 (in Chinese)
“Welcome to Friends Coffee and Tea, how can I help you today?” FCSN trainee greets customers at the checkout counter of Friends Coffee and Tea. Since the pandemic began, Friends Coffee and Tea has been closed for over a year. Recently, it has been able to be reopened, resuming on-the-job training opportunities for special needs individuals. It is programs like this that allowed Friends of Children with Special Needs to be awarded Top 40 Non-Profit Organization by State Farm Neighborhood Assist.
State Farm representative Maria Wong who delivered the award along with a $25,000 check expressed her excitement, “I have first hand experience for the services provided by this great organization. I have a special needs child myself, my child and my family have been a member of FCSN for over 20 years, and have benefited a great deal.
Starting from 2017, Sesame Workshop, the creators of the popular children series Sesame Street, created a special series to bring awareness to children on the autism spectrum. Sesame Workshop announced its collaboration with FCSN to translate the electronic book series into Chinese languages. Readers will be able to read the special series featuring 4-year old Julia who has autism, in Mandarin and Cantonese. This collaboration hopes to raise awareness for people on the autism spectrum and gain acceptance into society. FCSN co-founder Anna Wang shares, “We are honored to be chosen as partners in this collaboration. We will be translating their e-books into Mandarin and Cantonese and allowing more people to read these stories.”
Since its establishment 25 years ago, FCSN has rapidly expanded its programs and is serving more than 1,000 families in the Bay Area today, both of its East Bay and South Bay centers are at maximum capacity. In order to serve more families, FCSN recently procured a third center in Fremont. Anna Wang says, “The number of individuals with special needs keeps increasing. We currently have more than 200 people on our waiting list seeking our services. We need $350,000 to remodel the building so we can have a center that serves our special needs children.”
FCSN will hold its annual gala fundraising event on November 6, 4PM-6PM. Due to the pandemic, this year’s event will be held virtually. For more information on 2021 Gala, please click here.