Tzu Chi’s Family Safety Expo Thrives In This Year’s Spring

Northwest  |  May 2, 2024
On Sunday, April 21st, the highly anticipated Family Safety Expo took place at Tzu Chi Northwest in San Jose, CA, to raise the awareness of California residents in areas of disaster safety. Photo/CM Yung

Written by Andrew Larracuente

Everybody deserves to feel safe and secure in their daily lives. However, information on achieving such peace of mind isn’t always well-known or readily available to those who need it most. On Sunday, April 21st, Tzu Chi Northwest hosted the Family Safety Expo at their regional center in San Jose, CA, as a community event focused on increasing awareness of safety practices against disastrous emergencies.

The expo brought in 475 attendees, and Tzu Chi volunteers and over 20 affiliated event partners accommodated them to strengthen their knowledge in disaster preparedness, response, and recovery. Packed full of seminars, workshops, information booths, presentations from keynote speakers, and safety-focused exhibits, a great effort was made to ensure family safety was available for all to learn in many ways.

On a beautifully sunny day, people made their way to Tzu Chi Northwest to experience the Family Safety Expo. Photo/Andy Chiang

A Day of Disaster Safety Information and Activities

For all those who went to the Family Safety Expo, Tzu Chi, and their affiliated partners had arranged several stations within Tzu Chi Northwest where people could obtain multiple variations of family safety guidance. Lots of attention was given from the outside-in to various information booths and stands where knowledgeable reps awaited to educate anyone interested in different aspects of safety tips for emergency scenarios. Also available for guests was the Disaster Preparedness Exhibit, which presented valuable information on natural disaster preparedness and preparation, mental health awareness, fraud and domestic violence prevention, and more.

The information stands ready with Tzu Chi volunteers and partner reps as people gather to learn safety knowledge. Photo/CM Yung

Throughout the day, there was an array of topics the Family Safety Expo focused on covering for the attendees. Specific event segments were dedicated to strengthening family safety in and beyond the home for oneself and their loved ones. Advisement was given for natural disasters like storms, earthquakes, floods, and wildfires. There were lessons provided for mental health awareness, response to domestic violence, and mass shooting response coaching. Excitement was had in learning how to live a healthier lifestyle through an eco-friendly, vegetarian diet, and people lined up in mass to participate in the hands-on CPR training to gain a life-saving skill.

Thanks to the combined efforts of Tzu Chi and their partners, plenty of safety information was available to go around. To thoroughly accommodate guests, it was vital for them to have several sources of information on multiple family safety topics. For this effort, Tzu Chi shared the company of organizations like CERT (Community Emergency Response Team), which focused on community emergency response; El Camino Health, which focused on the benefits in community health; Sourcewise, which focused on health navigation tools and services for Santa Clara seniors; and Listos California, which focused on California disaster preparedness through safety steps and kits; and many more.

Guided by a Tzu Chi volunteer, people take turns participating in the hands-on CPR training. Photo/CM Yung
Tzu Chi Listos Program Community Liaison Phreya Wu and fellow volunteers inform people on disaster preparedness. Photo/CM Yung

At the Listos California stand, there was Tzu Chi Listos Program Community Liaison Phreya Wu, who attentively delivered crucial disaster safety information from her table to every person who approached. She remained proactive the whole day in boosting awareness of natural disaster preparedness, response, and recovery. She helped introduce people to the Disaster Go Bag, a survival bag meant to be kept ready with supplies for any disaster. Her efforts on the ground were one of many that contributed to the event’s success as a whole. When asked about her day assessment, Preya graciously gave her insight. “Many attendees appreciated having the Family Safety Expo to enhance their knowledge of disaster preparation. They all feel it is important to be ready and know what they can do to help themselves and others.” As a collective, all event representatives gave their best efforts to ensure attendees learned proper methods for family safety.

Certificates of Appreciation for Tzu Chi

Alongside Family Safety Expo, attendees and representatives were community figures who acted as award presenters to recognize Tzu Chi Northwest for their contributions to safety. Among the award presenters were San Francisco TECO (Taipei Economic and Cultural Office) Director-General Scott Lai, City of Fremont Mayor Lily Mei, Cupertino Council Member Hung Wei, and several more. Executive Director of Tzu Chi USA Northwest Region Chi-Jen Huang accepted the awards on behalf of Tzu Chi Northwest, all of whom were very grateful to receive such recognition for their activism efforts and look forward to continuing to improve the safety of communities in the future.

TECO San Francisco Director-General Scott presents a Certificate of Appreciation to Tzu Chi. Photo/Andy Chiang
Fremont Mayor Lily Mei presents a Certificate of Appreciation to Tzu Chi. Photo/CM Yung

Keynote Speakers Giving Riveting Presentations

Tzu Chi Northwest appreciated community figures like TECO San Francisco Director-General Scott Lai, Fremont Mayor Lily Mei, and Cupertino Council Member Hung Wei who participated in 2024’s Family Safety Expo. Although, there were many more who were involved as keynote speakers on the day. Participants included New Hope Chinese Center Foundation Executive Director Christina Jia, CERT Certified Crisis Counselor Nancy Lieu, NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), Santa Clara County representative Kathy Forward, and Alzheimer Association representative Andree Guo. They all sat on stage together while taking turns presenting their messages about safety and mental health awareness to the audience.

Christina Jia (far left), Nancy Lieu (middle left), Kathy Forward (middle right), and Andree Guo (far right) as they sit on stage together. Photo/CM Yung

While there were many speakers on the whole Sunday, a few more were CEO of American Red Cross Ken Toren as he made his presentation, and Tzu Chi Community Education Specialist Curtis Hsiang, who demonstrated for the audience safety procedures on stage for CPR and natural disaster safety. More presentations came from companies like CISA (Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency) to inform people about the proper measures to take when dealing with cyber threats. Even the Santa Clara Sheriff’s Department had a representative keynote speaker on public safety involving scam avoidance, burglary prevention, and safe business practices.

An Expo Strong in Taiwan Presence

In attendance was also Marshall Siao, Director of Jing Si 6R Technology in Taiwan, who came to the US to debut the Jing Si Furniture System. Marshall Siao developed the Jing Si Furniture System as a shelter to provide privacy and comfort to those who are displaced by disaster. The Jing Si Furniture System is a shelter tent that includes a multi-purpose folding bed, privacy partition, DA.AI Technology eco-blankets, mosquito nets, and portable/stackable cabinets. While providing dignity to those occupying the easy-to-assemble tents, they also gain protection from mosquitoes, known to be the most deadly creatures on the planet, through EPA-approved eco-mosquito netting. The tent display drew a lot of attention at the Family Safety Expo, and Tzu Chi Northwest was pleased to help Marshall Siao showcase it in the US after its prominence in usage worldwide.

Scott Lai (middle) and Sophia Chuang (left) as they enjoy the Jing Si Furniture System. Photo/Andy Chiang
Marshall Saio as he showcases his Jing Si Furniture System at Tzu Chi Northwest. Photo/Andy Chiang

The representation of Taiwan was also prevalent among the associates from TECO San Francisco. Led by members like Director-General Scott Lai and Cultural Offices TECO San Francisco (Milpitas) Director Sophia Chuang, the group explored all they could of the event and saw firsthand the impact Tzu Chi Northwest had with the Family Safety Expo. A safety-focused event was significant as April 2024’s Taiwan earthquake was not far behind, and Tzu Chi Northwest showed its consideration and intended prayers to those afflicted through an altar displayed at the center’s entrance. Tzu Chi Northwest was very honored to have such esteemed representatives of Taiwan attend the event.

A Family Safety Expo to Remember

Overall, the Family Safety Expo was an excellent experience for all in attendance from start to finish. Having a great community feel, Tzu Chi Northwest allowed those in attendance to gain greater awareness of serious disaster matters to better prepare themselves and their families in the future. Not only through the event but also through the people involved. Chief Equity Officer at CalOES Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ODEI), Monisha Avery, briefly commented, “It was a wonderful event,” and that holds to the day. 

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