Thursday, November 8, 2012

Post-Sandy: Asia Society helps Staten Island students and families

Dear Members and Friends of the Asia Society,

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, we hope our greater New York members are safe.  We have been assessing how best to assist those who are still without power, heat or homes.  Thanks to a close and profound connection, we have found the answer.  The College of Staten Island High School for International Studies, or CSI for short, was founded as a partnership between Asia Society's International Studies Schools Network (ISSN) and the New York City Department of Education in 2005.  It’s been a great success, by every measure.  Now the CSI needs our help, in a very different way.

As many of you know, the storm took particularly brutal aim at Staten Island.  While the CSI school did not suffer significant damage, fifteen of its students lost their homes to the storm, and the homes of many more students suffered damage, the loss of utilities and other hardships.  Many families have been displaced from their homes – and it’s not clear when it will be deemed safe to return.

Asia Society’s Brandon Wiley – who has worked with CSI over the years – has been in touch with the school principal and superintendent.  Yesterday the superintendent told Brandon they have received some donations, and she was particularly supportive of our wish to help.  She suggested we work with the school to determine the greatest needs.  So with the help of Asia Society board members, we are setting up a fund for the children and families of the CSI school.  Brandon Wiley will shepherd our efforts to help gauge the most pressing needs in that community.  Asia Society will also contribute to this effort from cost-paring at this week’s awards dinner.

Many Asia Society staffers and trustees have already donated their time and money to help; and some colleagues have suffered the effects of long power outages and gas shortages and the like.  Still, once we arrive at our offices at the Asia Society headquarters – by long walks, or bikes, in car pools or jammed buses - we cannot help but feel the disconnect.  Here we are along an unscathed and never-blacked-out patch of Manhattan; a few miles to the south and east, so many people are suffering.  So we hope our fund will make a difference, for a group of children and their families with whom we already have a great bond.  We ask that members of the Asia Society "family" consider a gift.  All donations will be administered to those who need them most.

A few more words about CSI: In the mold of all ISSN schools, CSI holds to the mission of graduating globally competent and college - and career-ready students.  With approximately 526 students, CSI is one of New York City's top ranked 20 public high schools, and # 1 on Staten Island.  The CSI faculty and staff provide a rigorous and globally-focused learning experience for all who pass through their doors.  Asia Society is a proud partner of CSI, supporting their development and growth since its inception.

Asia Society prides itself on being a global organization, as well as a place of intellectual engagement and an important part of New York’s cultural landscape. We are committed to assisting the local community during this time of need. 

If you wish to contribute, please make checks payable to Asia Society/Hurricane Relief. Checks should be sent to Asia Society/Hurricane Relief at 725 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10021.

As always, we appreciate your support.

With thanks,

Henrietta H. Fore, Co-Chair, Asia Society

Ronnie C. Chan, Co-Chair, Asia Society
Tom Nagorski, Executive Vice President

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