The Wang YMCA of Chinatown celebrated its Legacy Dinner on Nov. 4 at Empire Garden. About 500 guests attended the benefit to honor the Y and three couples for service to the Chinatown community.
“Our services could not happen without the staff, volunteers and sponsors,” said Richard Chang, vice chairman of the Wang Y board and co-headmaster at the Josiah Quincy Upper School. The school does not have a gym, so students work out at the Y to meet physical education requirements.
Three couples who are long-term Wang Y supporters were recognized: Nick and Eva Chau, Billy and Josephine Chin, and Jim and Lucy Wong. Nick Chau works in real estate, while Eva Chau runs Tai Tung Pharmacy. “Uncle” Bill and “Auntie” Josephine Chin met at the Wang Y while it was housed at the former bubble on Tyler Street. Jim and Lucy Wong were among the founders of the Chinese American Civic Association, which became social service agency Asian American Civic Association, and helped raise $100,000 for the bubble, which opened in 1970.
Nick Chau said, “We are not leaders. We follow in the footsteps of mentors who built the foundation for the Chinatown community.”
Man Ho Chan introduced Bill Chin as his first boss at the China Pearl, where he was a bus boy. “He was the nicest boss I ever worked for. Even if I broke a dish, he’d gently tell me not to do it again.”
Chin had worked at State Street Bank before taking over the China Pearl. He enlisted in the Army in 1954, where he served with fellow Bostonian William Bulger. Bill and Josephine Chin were both raised in Boston’s Chinatown.
Wang Y board chairman emeritus Bill Moy introduced Jim Wong, who is married to Bill’s sister Lucy. Jim is a Korean War veteran who worked for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on New England dams, while Lucy worked in public relations before starting a family. After raising funds for the YMCA bubble, Jim recruited Moy to work at the Y; Lucy and her friends formed the Ladies Food Committee to feed the community at annual Christmas parties.
“Jimmy was the first American-born Chinese chairman of the Wang Y board,” Moy said. “By raising $100,000 for the bubble, the community had a recreation space for 30 years.”
Tufts Medical Center was lead sponsor of the event. Sherry Dong, director of community health improvement programs at Tufts, told attendees how much she enjoyed taking tai chi classes at the Y. The Wang Y supports healthy habits, as one of seven agencies working to stop smoking as part of the Asian Health Initiative by Tufts.
Empire Garden owner David Wong and his wife Joyce presented a $5,000 check to the Wang YMCA.
A lion dance was performed by Chiu Mo Kwoon-Boston Kung Fu Academy.
The Wang YMCA has served the Chinatown community since 1914. Its 8 Oak Street location opened in 2000 and offers child care, fitness for seniors and programs for at-risk youth.
This post is also available in: Chinese