History

cafc_our_historyWithin the current decade, the Chinese-American population in the State of New Jersey and in particular, within the Fort Lee area, has grown substantially as greater numbers of Asian-born families immigrate to the United States in search of a better life for themselves and their children. Once here, however, many of these families struggle not only to learn a new language and assimilate into an unfamiliar and sometimes intimidating culture, but also to overcome feelings of isolation, anxiety and depression emanating from decreased social interaction, real or perceived discrimination, and the inability to access information and services critical to the families’ mental and physical well-being and ultimately, its very quality of life.

It must be noted that these families also bring with them a culture that – quite literally  – spans thousands of years and is rich in such traditions as respect for the elderly, fidelity to the family and its welfare, and the unwavering obligation to bring honor to oneself and ones’ family in both thought and deed. Conversely, families carry traditional barriers with them as well e.g., never asking for help, avoiding an open discussion of problems no matter how debilitating or overwhelming, and stigmatizing mental health issues as shameful and embarrassing for all involved.

In addition, while most Chinese-American families strive to become integral members of mainstream America, they concurrently want to keep many of their own traditions alive while imparting the knowledge and appreciation of their very rich and unique cultural history to their children and grandchildren.

In view of all of the foregoing, it became clear that a venue was needed in the area to address these issues and as a result, the Chinese-American Family Coalition was formed.

On May 12th 2006, leading by Mrs. Angie Ngai, a small group of Chinese-American voluntarily established an educational and social/recreational program named Chinese Cultural Club that locates at Fort Lee Community Center. The program served at least 400 Chinese-Americans who reside in Fort Lee area. Since May 2006, the program volunteers work closely together and conducted various cultural and social/recreational activities for the members including: Chinese traditional dancing class, Tai Chi class, Art and Craft class, Chinese singing classes, Chess game, Moon Festival party, Karaoke party, and so on. The program delicates in promoting Chinese culture and mind and body balance in the Chinese community of Fort Lee, and certainly brings harmony and happiness to the members and their families. In December 2006, in order to extend the program, enhance the services and obtain support from the New Jersey government, the group members decide to form a non-for-profit organization and officially named the organization as “Chinese-American Family Coalition” March 2007.

 

 

 

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