By Shelley Li, FCSN Voices Co-Lead Editor
Pictures courtesy of Richard Lo, Operations/Systems Analyst
From 4-6 p.m. on June 4 at the Culture Center of Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Milpitas, FCSN hosted their annual Family Day gathering, inviting families across the Bay Area for an afternoon of entertainment, commemorations, and important announcements. Returning from two years of online Family Day meetings, this in-person gathering brimmed with joyous entertainment and community bonding.
A stunning performance by SB Percussion Group
Beginning the event, South Bay (SB) Percussion Group livened the audience with their drums, xylophones, and cymbals, cheerfully welcoming FCSN families as they settled into their seats. As the music ended with excited waves from the performers, FCSN President CK Lee took the stage for his important annual report. From 2021-22, FCSN made numerous major accomplishments from establishing and piloting an adaptive skill training program and an adaptive supported living services for high-need clients to fully reopening in May of 2022. “Over 80% of clients have already returned to in-person [programs] or [are] hybrid; less than 20% of clients are still [only] doing remote, and I hope they can come back soon.” Lee said. FCSN also secured three years accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), allowing FCSN to improve the quality of their services as well as providing assurance to members that internationally recognized standards of service are met. Furthermore, in April, FCSN’s Fremont Peralta Center was officially named the “Chenming & Margaret Hu Center,” and a month later, in the Give-in-May AAPI Heritage Month donation competition, FCSN placed first with 480 donors, receiving an award of $12,000.
Outstanding Youth Volunteers receive their awards, given by FCSN President CK Lee (left) and FCSN Director of Volunteer Support Linmei Chiao (right)
To celebrate the achievements made in the past year, FCSN gave their sincere thanks to outstanding youth volunteers of the year as well as the Volunteer of the Year, James Wang, a dedicated teacher of eight computer classes for both clients and employees. From 2021-22, 30 youth volunteers qualified for the Presidential Volunteer Service Award (PVSA) through FCSN, volunteering for more than 100, 175, and/or 250 hours. Furthermore, in honor of their staff members, FCSN also recognized seven 10-year staff members for their continued support and love for the more than 300 clients that FCSN serves. “FCSN has so many priceless [and] precious volunteers. They really are passionate, dedicated, creative, and simply wonderful,” FCSN Director of Volunteer Support Linmei Chiao said.
FCSN’s beloved 10-year staff members
Since 26 years ago, FCSN has grown immensely from 10 families to a community of more than 1000 special needs families; in addition to the volunteers and staff, a key element to the organization’s success has been the leaders who continuously strive to bring FCSN to new heights. During the event, FCSN announced the new president, chairmen, and board members for the upcoming year. CK Lee will continue to be president for his fifth term, and James Chiao and Yee-Yeen Wang will serve as co-chairmen for their third term.
However, entering the new year, FCSN faces two large challenges: a shortage of staff and an aging board member team. With 29 openings for staff, FCSN has made it their top priority to recruit qualified candidates to serve their clients. “We need all [the member’s] help to refer good candidates to help FCSN with more tasks so we can serve more clients,” Lee said. They also hope that members who inspire to become future leaders join the board member team, which currently, still consists mainly of first generation families. “We will have a future leader training class, so I hope everyone [who] wants to participate [and] wants to serve the special needs community, come to this training class,” Lee said.
President CK Lee gives his 2021-22 report
Despite all the challenges of the past year and the pandemic, FCSN still managed to purchase a third center on Osgood Road in Fremont. Stretching over 18,000 square feet, the center is larger than the existing Chenming & Margaret Center in East Bay and the South Bay facility combined. Nevertheless, difficulties still exist as the center needs to be remodeled. “We are going for a fundraising campaign because even though we purchased [the Osgood center], we still need a lot of money to renovate it [and] redesign it to make it usable,” 2022 Family Day Co-emcee Jason Hwan said. “We want to share this good news with members, but [we] also want to let them know that there are still challenges in front of us.”
Staff members and volunteers hand out dinner
Due to the lingering effects of the pandemic, Family Day this year also saw low attendance. “In the past, we’ve had more than 500 people join this event, but this year, only [about] 200 people [attended], so it’s still much fewer,” Lee said. “However, I think it’s about time to meet in person because many people are getting tired [of online meetings].” With a wholesome stories from mother May Wong and daughter Kerensa Hardesty about their experience with FCSN to a fun raffle with gift cards for dim sum at Koi Palace and a prize of two special books from James Chiao’s collection, 2022 Family Day provided a special opportunity for members to reunite with friends in a happy gathering. “Annual family day is not a very formal or serious event — it’s like a family reunion. We just want people to come here, get information, then of course have a good time and make connections,” Hwan said.
Dream Achievers’ sing “Friends with Dreams”
As the event came to a close, Dream Achievers performed FCSN’s song, “Friends with Dreams,” bringing Family Day to an end in an atmosphere full of love, unity, and hope for the next year. There’s nothing we can’t do / Making dreams come true / Love and hope show the way / We are Friends / To lend a hand / Changing the world / Everyday …