Scarsdale station area

Kuniko Katz's essays, articles and letters to the editors

THE BEST SCARSDALE SOUVENIR:  Scarsdale Inquirer, Jan.28, 1994

When we move to Scarsdale from New York City 10 years ago, the first thing I wanted to do was to get involved with the PTAs so that I could better acquaint myself with our children's schools. I joined the library volunteers first and since then I have actively participated in the PTA's every year as a board member.

For the last few years, I also have been a member of several volunteer organizations in the village. Through these experiences, I have found that people in Scarsdale are so conscientious about the betterment of their community that most of them have been involved at one time or another with some volunteer activities.

I have learned that there are more than 50 volunteer organizations in the village alone, and that not only the member of the Board of Education and village trustees, but the mayor are a volunteer here! This is very different from Japan, where I grew up. The word "volunteerism" was almost non-existent, and when I talk with transient Japanese families here today, I find the situation seems to be basically unchanged.
What I appreciate the most about Scarsdale is that they give a transient resident like me who doesn't even speak English, an opportunity to do something for our children's schools," said Kikuko Seo, a mother of two daughters, who came here three years ago from Japan. Now on the boards of the middle and high school PTAs, she tells me about her experiences with an air of excitement, "Through the PTA's I have met so many nice people and learned so many things about our children's schools," Kikuko continues with a big simile. "In Japan, parents are usually not invited to the schools unless you have an appointment with your children's teachers."  Kikuko say she is grateful to the schools for not only educating her children but for making her feel that she is a part of the school community.

Koshimi Jono, a mother of three daughters, who has been here for the last two and half years, also tells me enthusiastically about her experiences. She is a board member of an elementary school PTA and volunteers in a hospital in White Plains once a week.

"I didn't speak English at all when I came here. I have been taking lessons now, but still I don't speak well. That's why I was quite hesitant when I was asked by one of my American friends about a year or so ago if I wanted to work in the hospital."

But she tried and now she is very thankful to her friend for introducing to her a world of hospital volunteer, which she never knew existed. People are so appreciative that she feels she is finally able to repay the kindness shown to her and her family by the people in the community. Kikuko and Koshimi, along with many others, say that they are fortunate to be able to feel the spirit of volunteerisms here. They say this is one of the best souvenirs they can bring home from Scarsdale.

"We wish many more transient families would participate in more activities so that they, too, can feel as good as we do."

Through my own experience, I certainly share their wish.

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