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.