Written by Hui Liu
Translated by Hong (Ariel) Chan
Edited by Adriana DiBenedetto
Ten community council members and representatives, including Congresswoman Grace Meng, the U.S. representative for New York’s 6th congressional district, and Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, visited Tzu Chi USA’s Northeast Regional office on February 16, 2022, for a conference. Together, those assembled hoped to boost further collaborative community service efforts for the future.
Tzu Chi volunteers prepared Jing Si tea and light snacks to welcome the visiting council members and representatives. Freeman Su, Tzu Chi USA’s Northeast Region CEO, welcomed guests and briefed the council members on Tzu Chi’s current missions and initiatives globally. Kenneth Liao, the Deputy Chief Executive Director of Tzu Chi’s Northeast Region, then introduced some of the major tasks undertaken by Tzu Chi in the United States and New York over the past 30 years.
In her speech, U.S. Congresswoman Grace Meng said that she hoped the congress members and representatives in attendance would better understand Tzu Chi by the end of the meeting. Congresswoman Grace Meng also graciously organized this visit. It is hoped that community leaders can gain a deeper understanding of NGOs like the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation, learn how volunteers are actively engaged in service missions in New York, and find opportunities for mutual collaboration that can strengthen communities.
Kevin Jusino, Community Liaison for State Assemblymember Catalina Cruz, described his experiences in Elmhurst — where Tzu Chi volunteers had also offered relief during the pandemic. Volunteers had distributed pantry staples to community residents, and held a Vision Mobile Clinic event that provided prescription glasses for low-income families. Touched by this knowledge, he expressed interest in collaborating with Tzu Chi in the future.
Queens Borough President Donovan Richards also thanked Tzu Chi volunteers for providing fruits, vegetables, and winter clothes to the community, and shared his thoughts regarding the visit to the regional office on his social media account that afternoon. Tzu Chi USA’s Northeast Region CEO, Freeman Su, likewise felt the visit would help community leaders better understand the Tzu Chi spirit and dedication to the community, and explore future opportunities together.