By James Chiao, FCSN Co-Founder
Last year, in 2021, we celebrated FCSN’s 25th anniversary. Early 2021, I thought: “Wouldn’t it be nice to publish a book about FCSN – a documentary book on the history of our organization?” In December 2021, FCSN realized this vision of an FCSN book as we published Friends of Children with Special Needs – Building a Dream Community.
Over the past 25 years, FCSN has grown from a dozen families to over 1000 family members, serving over 250 adults, and hundreds more children and families in the Bay Area. Many new families and outsiders unfamiliar with FCSN may have many questions: How did FCSN get started? What was our dream? What is the scope of our services/programs? What is the secret to our success?
There is no real secret, and the answers to many of these questions can be found in the pages of our book. The idea of publishing a book about FCSN is not new. Back in 2006, Former FCSN Newsletter Editor Cherene Wang once asked us if there was any interest in writing a book about FCSN. At the time, we were hesitant about the book because our organization was still young, the people were modest, and as the story involved many individuals and families. However, earlier last year, with twenty-five years under our belt and FCSN in its adulthood, I felt the time was ripe for such an undertaking.
My idea for a book was quite simple: Instead of writing a book about FCSN, we could tell FCSN’s story by compiling articles already published in various FCSN newsletters. We could arrange them in chronological order, with the articles divided into chapters representing distinct periods in our history. Because of the length of the book, I was limited to picking articles directly related to our development as an organization. Many excellent personal articles from parents and volunteers and those in Chinese were set aside, awaiting a possible second book.
This was the first time that I was involved in a book publishing project. The compiling, editing, and publishing process took more time and effort than I first anticipated; but somehow, we managed to get it done before the end of 2021. The book is not only a collection of past newsletter articles; it is also a glimpse of how immigrants worked together to build a village for special needs children/adults in the heart of Silicon Valley. One editor commented: “By putting forward these first-hand accounts from presidents, volunteers, workers, and families, the work of FCSN is brought to life on the page for readers to not only understand the immensity of the project, but its importance, and most gratifying, its success.”
The book is currently available for sale at our coffee shop, Friends Coffee & Tea, and in Amazon Books, Barnes & Noble and other bookstores.