Friday, June 30, 2006

The Texture of Diversity... the Chinese community.

Yesterday, we met with San Francisco artist Rene Yung to continue discussions on a community building art project that will showcase the incredible diversity within our community. So many times people hear "Chinese Information and Service Center" and assume that we a limited to a very narrow segment of the population.

What they often don't know is that our clients, volunteers, donors and staff hail for around the world, coming from numerous different countries, cultures, and speaking multiple different dialects. Some of us are recently arrived, while others have been here for 5 generations or more.

It is this rich tapestry of experiences and backgrounds that we want to highlight in our new space as we continue to serve an ever diversifying clientele in Seattle and throughout the region.

What would you like to see on this wall?

Monday, June 26, 2006

Hot hot hot!

1:30 pm and it's already up to 81° outside. Of course, it's even hotter inside the building as as we have no air conditioning and the fans we have just push the warm air around. We're looking to hit a high of near 90° today! Bought popsicles to share later on in the afternoon.

All the staff and clients are really looking forward to the move into the new building that will have zone controlled heat and air conditioning too. Now, if we can just get through this one last summer...

Friday, June 23, 2006

We have stairs!

No more climbing up that ladder with one hand any more! These are just the temporary stairs. The real ones will will have steel cabling instead of wooden 2 x 4's and look a lot nicer. But at least we can get upstairs without having to risk life and limb! If you want to come down and take a look at the space, please contact Debbie or Alaric to set up a time.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Construction Update #3

Who knew a drinking fountain could cause so many problems? It seems that our drinking fountain was going to stick out too far into the hallway and the only way to get it to fit was to push it back into the wall by 2 feet. Unfortunately, that would mean the office on the other side (already rather small at 10'x8') would lose 2' making for an 8'x8' cell. Yikes!

The other option was to relocate it just outside the restrooms, but that would mean that if a person were in a wheelchair getting a drink of water, they might be in the way of people getting in and out of both the men's and women's restroom. It couldn't be pushed into the wall any more because the plumbing has already been done for the janitor closet on the other side.

After much discussion and scratching of heads, it was decided that relocating the drinking fountain was the least objectionable solution. On the plus side, going to a flush mounted fountain in the new location will not only save space, but will likely cost less as well.

Now as long as we don't have a rush on the restrooms and thirsty handicapped people at the same time...

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Final 10%

As we enter the final phase of our Moving on Up Campaign, we would like to thank Assunta Ng and Tony Au for their help in hosting a special fundraiser for CISC. Together, we hope to raise the final 10% ($25,000) of our Campaign goal.


Sunday, July 30, 2006

6:00 p.m.

$25 per ticket

New Kowloon Restaurant

To purchase tickets, contact 206-624-5633 x117. RSVP deadline is July 21, 2006. The fair market value of each ticket is $15. Invitation and further details to follow. To volunteer, contact Assunta at (206) 223-0623.


Bien ushering in change at CISC
By Staff

Northwest Asian Weekly

Chinese Information and Service Center has come a long way since its founding nearly 35 years ago by energetic high school and college students who noticed a lack of services and support for Chinese immigrants in Seattle.

At first, CISC was staffed entirely by young part-time volunteers who used their bilingual skills to help immigrants obtain government programs and services. Having grown steadily over the decades, CISC now has 30 full-time staff members and serves more than 5,000 people a year. Its services include job training, senior day care, English instruction, youth activities and cultural orientation.

Today, its executive director, Alaric Bien, is ushering the agency towards a milestone: a move from its cramped headquarters inside the Bush Hotel to the office space that once housed Eileen of China in Chinatown/International District. The move will increase CISC’s working space by 50 percent.

Bien has been at the helm of this agency since July 2001. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, he is the son of Chinese immigrants. Despite warnings from his mother, who for many years worked in Oakland’s Chinatown, he developed an interest in social service.

Here, Bien answers a few questions from the Northwest Asian Weekly:

Q: What are the top challenges of serving Chinese immigrants today?

A: I think I would have to say that it’s the diversity within the Chinese community. The Chinese community is not homogeneous. We often suffer from the stereotype of the model minority. Yes, there are many successful, well-to-do, acculturated Chinese Americans in our community. But what gets lost is the fact that there are a significant number of others who do not fit this stereotype. They may be undereducated, unskilled, limited-English-speaking and struggling just to survive. Many of the clients we serve look no different than immigrants in other communities.

But because of the stereotype, sometimes funders and policymakers put a lower priority on our community, not realizing that there are significant needs amongst our population too. It is our job to help people understand that, for example, just because Chinese students on average do quite well academically, the population we serve is struggling and in need of support just like any other newly arrived, limited-English-speaking student in the public schools.

Full article can be found online at:

Monday, June 12, 2006

CISC Pioneer Receives Outstanding Public Service Award

Sinclair S. Yee, professor of electrical engineering at the University of Washington, was honored for his contributions to the community over the years in helping to plant the seeds for a community institution, CISC. Professor Yee and wife Genevieve worked with university students over 35 years ago to help limited English speaking Chinese seniors access programs and services to which they were entitled.

Their efforts eventually led to the founding of CISC, which continues to be the leading provider of social services to the Chinese community in the Puget Sound area. The award came with a $5,000.00 honorarium that Prof. and Mrs. Yee matched and donated to CISC’s capital campaign. Prof. Yee says, “I am honored and humbled by this award and know that CISC will continue its good work for many years to come.”

Construction Update #2

So at the Friendship Dinner and Auction on June 3, we announced that we would be posting updates on the Dearborn Building project here. And this is the first one.

At the weekly construction meeting last week, the biggest surprise was that the existing sprinkler system, which is hanging off the ceiling, may have to be ripped out and replaced entirely. This may be very expensive. And we really can't do much more till this issue is resolved. Will keep you posted!