In this, our last newsletter for the year 2002, I would like to thank everyone for participating in our many events and making each a tremendous success. As our organization grows, we are pleased to be able to count on an increasing number of people who volunteer for behind-the-scenes, meet-the-public and have-fun-and-enjoy categories of participation.
Our RECA year began with Chinese New Years Celebration extravaganza. Our year continued with two potluck socials and our annual picnic. The Rose Parade in May gave RECA the chance to display a spectacular aspect of our Chinese Culture with our glorious entry of the dragon, lions, and cultural dancers. We couldn't have done it without the helpers who carry water and signs, photograph the parade, drive the truck with drums and drummers, and all the other little things our official entry of 50-100 performers needed to keep them dancing for the mile that winds between the Vets Building and Julliard Park in downtown Santa Rosa. Did you come and do the hula with us in Finley Park last September at our picnic? Coming up soon, the winter social will feature Santa, presents, Polaroid photos of kids on Santa's lap, good food, friendly people and lots of Christmas tree lights.
Other events this year included two multi-cultural potluck and poetry readings with poets joining us from San Francisco to Clear Lake. The Mahjong Club met regularly. Let's not forget about our Language School and Cultural Program, our largest on-going activities. Clean-up days were times of camaraderie and satisfying work to keep our center neat, clean and pleasant place to be.
In addition to working for RECA and enjoying each other, RECA members were invited to public schools and community organizations where they provided performances, workshops and displays on various aspects of Chinese culture and arts. Individuals, public agencies and private organizations needing translators have received services through RECA. Through these services outside of our organization, both RECA and RECA members have received civic awards and public recognition.
For this past year, thank you, thank you, thank you to all who helped and participated. For the coming year, we welcome all who want to join us in our many opportunities.
RECA LANGUAGE CLASSES
RECA Chinese Language School began nearly 10 years ago with 5 students. This September, our first days welcomed 72 students, and more are on a waiting list. Our only openings are one in Cantonese on Saturday and one in young, Beginning Mandarin on Tuesday.
Last year was so successful that we opened a Tuesday late afternoon class this year. Much to our surprise and delight, our first Saturday was filled to overflowing and our first Tuesday was filled to capacity. Although we planned to have Saturday and Tuesday classes parallel each other, they turned out to be distinctly unique. Our biggest surprise was the Advanced Mandarin class. Usually, our "advanced" class is barely above our beginning class in Chinese language skills. This year, the Saturday class is taught completely in Mandarin. People of various ages from children through older adults come to improve reading and writing while receiving instruction and asking questions in Mandarin. Our Tuesday "advanced" class is an intermediate beginning level with youth and adults learning how to speak while they learn the basics in reading and writing. Our Continuing classes are also different. Tuesday is composed with children from adoptive parents who began Chinese classes as tots, 2-3 years old. Saturday Continuing class is youth and children. Both classes are learning to put words into sentences. Beginning classes on both Saturday and Tuesday are filled with young children. Some are learning their first Chinese words, while some speak Chinese at home. On Saturday, many parents stay with their children and assist. On Tuesday, we have the privilege of having Jean Walker as an additional teacher in this class.
Classes are held each Saturday, 9:00 to 11:30 AM, with cultural dance optional from 11:30 AM to noon. Tuesday classes are 4:00-5:30 PM with no scheduled breaks. Teachers are Azy Heydon with Tien Quock and Shirley Lew as aides on Saturday only for Cantonese; Lily Chang for Advanced/Adult Mandarin, with Cindy Avenell as aide on Saturday; Hsiu Chuan Armstrong for continuing Mandarin with Justin Eggart as aide; LiLing Davis for beginning Mandarin, with Jean Walker as team teacher for Tuesday beginning Mandarin.
Come and visit to see what we do. Classes are held at our RECA Center, 3455 Sebastopol Road, Santa Rosa, CA. During class times, you can call us at the RECA Center at 526-8840 and ask for Judy or Nancy.
RECA YOUTH GROUP
The RECA Youth Group will meet on Friday, November 16 at 5:30 PM. There will be dinner and movie provided at the RECA Center.
For the past couple of months, we have gotten together for a variety of fun activities such as Six Flags Amusement Park, ice skating, Salmon Creek Beach, Scandia, a picnic at Finley Park, as well as our regular volunteer work cleaning up the RECA Center.
The holidays are coming, and we need to plan and discuss future activities and community work. We want to be productive members of our community and we believe this starts with us, the youth of the community.
Please encourage all your youths & young adults (12 or older) to participate in our RECA youth programs. If you have any questions, call Mark or Azy Heydon at (707) 575-9541.
CHINESE SCHOOL TEACHERS WORKSHOP
Four RECA Chinese School teachers, Azy Heydon, Hsiu Chuan Armstrong, Nancy Loui and Lily Chang met at Azy's house at 7:30, Friday night, August 9th. Big thanks to Mark, Azy's husband for letting us drive his car down to Union City to attend the Northern California Chinese School Teachers Workshop.
The workshop started at 7:30 a.m. Saturday morning and went until 5:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon. There were ten classes altogether. Each class was 75 to 90 minutes long. Fremont Chinese School was hosting this once-a-year event put on by the Association of Northern California Chinese Schools, of which our RECA Chinese Language School is a member. Three guest speakers with different expertise in their own educational fields were invited from Taiwan, plus teachers from many popular Bay Area Chinese schools demonstrated and shared their teaching experience with everybody.
Besides classes, there was a book fair with all kinds of books, including textbooks, tool books, storybooks and teaching materials especially for Chinese language schools. It was an excellent opportunity for the four of us to get something really nice for our own classes.
After two days away from their families, the four teachers got their training certificates from the Overseas Chinese Affairs Commission. It is an honor that shows the teachers made their efforts, achieved their goals and most of all, gained information and skills that will benefit our students.
RECA HAWAIIAN PICNIC REVIEW
"The chicken was delicious!" was what we heard from those attending RECA's annual picnic Sept. 8 at Finley Park in Santa Rosa. It was made even tastier with Phi Phi Dang adding her special blend of herbs and spices. An unexpected bonus was the donation of 200 chickens for our event by owner Bob Gong of G&G Supermarket. Even the $5 ticket price was nothing to gripe about for half a chicken, coconut milk with rice, salad, watermelon and almond cookies, the latter donated by Yu-shi Wiebers of Genghis Khan Restaurant.
Besides just eating, there was a little something for everyone to do: the mahjong ladies settling in for a few rounds, the youth group coordinating limbo, tug of war, jump rope games and water balloon antics, and our hula hoop contest with eager individuals lining up to compete in various age categories. Johnny Yu, swiveling his hips so long that we had to stop the music to get him to stop, was declared the adult winner. He won an elaborate manicure set. "They'll arrest me for a terrorist if I bring that on a plane," was his comment of thanks. It was also fun seeing our "movers and shakers" dancing on stage to Hawaiian tunes: new Superintendent of Sonoma County Schools Carl Wong and wife Vivian (Superintendent of Cinnabar School District in Petaluma), RECA President Nancy Wang and husband Joe, and Santa Rosa City Council candidate Bob Blanchard. Ann Saito, a friend of Nancy, came all the way from San Jose (along with husband Jiro) to teach the hula, incorporating this year's Hawaiian picnic theme.
It's always a treat watching martial arts protege and 2008 Olympic-hopeful Jimmy Fong leaping through the air and also Mae Li Leung and siblings Justin and Jacqueline Young sharing their martial arts skills.
Hats off to our chefs Kevin Ablett, Luke Leung, Norman Lai and Shubert Yee for keeping the grill hot and hungry folks happy. We'd like to acknowledge Lan Zhang for sending out a mailer inviting his real estate clientele to our picnic to acquaint them with RECA. Thank you to Youth Directors Mark and Azy Heydon for spearheading the youth group. Last but not least, kudos to Jean Gee for coordinating another successful picnic. See you all next year!
WINE COUNTRY BUSINESS SHOWCASE AND INVESTMENT EXPO
RECA was invited to have an information table at the Wine Country Business Showcase and Investment Expo, sponsored by the South and West Area Business Association (SWABA). On November 1, Mei Li Saunder met Judy Cheung at the Vineyard Creek Hotel's Convention Center on Third Street in Santa Rosa to display our banner, a lion head, plans for our new building, membership brochures, and about 10 of our photo display boards. Between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Tien Quock, Frances Lok, Phi Phi Dang, Calvin Dang and Cindy Avenell took shifts.
Throughout the day, we were able to meet people from the businesses and organizations of SWABA, of which RECA is a member. Hundreds of times, we briefly said "hello" as people strolled by looking at photos. Dozens of times we smiled, "Yes, you may touch the lion head," to the obviously curious and impressed. We also had lengthy conversations on U.S./China economic interactions, business opportunities and trends, historical perspectives of late 20th century politics, kung fu & tai chi, acupuncture in Santa Rosa, our social events, curriculum of our Chinese language classes, religion, philosophy, do you know my friendÍ, and so many more topics. Many people had not heard of RECA. Some were extremely enthusiastic and might become members. Each RECA member attending also had the opportunity to stroll through the other approximately 150 booths and chat with people from other businesses and organizations.
The big fun came around noon when Mei Li, Tien and Judy heard, "You have to come to our Chinese Association booth." We looked in that direction and saw a group of men walking towards us. It was up-and-coming boxer, Ibn Ali, nephew of Mohammed Ali, coming to have his promotional pictures taken with us.
That night, our lion team performed at the fund raiser dinner along with Liling Davis, who performed a traditional flute dance. Judy Cheung and Mary Lowe, in semi-formal attire, were the official RECA representatives. RECA received a mounted, bronze plaque in honor of our outstanding and on-going service to the community.
KYOTO RESTAURANT'S 5TH ANNIVERSARY
By Judy Cheung
Annie Wong, RECA member and ardent supporter, gave a party for 100 friends and business associates, each of whom could bring two guests. The luncheon was presented as a thank you for helping make her business a success. Many RECA members were honored to attend.
© Copyright 2002 Redwood Empire Chinese Association