The free event, which gave neighbors a chance to meet and mingle before the holiday festivities begin, doubled as a community forum. Guests heard from expert speakers concerning a diverse selection of community topics, from the upcoming 2020 census and related job opportunities, to year-end tax planning and the District 28 School Diversity Plan.
Events like this are not uncommon for FHAA, an organization with a mission to “advocate, collaborate, and engage with the businesses, families, professionals, seniors and all residents within the community.”
“There wasn’t a lot of communication going on in Forest Hills between customers and business owners on a one-to-one level,” said Di Zhao, an FHAA volunteer who emceed the evening.
She says that from that need stemmed a group that centered around not only having the community thrive commercially, but also socially and civically.
“It’s just a wonderful place to foster easy conversations that you really wouldn’t have someone to talk about them with,” Zhao continued.
The wealth of speakers at FHAA events comes from the organization’s co-founder, Edwin Wong, who garners a variety of contacts through his community outreach efforts.
According to FHAA, Asian-Americans are a demographic that make up nearly 25 percent of the population in Forest Hills, but is often unaware of the platforms it has.
The organization is aimed at providing guidance and access to information for the Asian-American community, however anyone is welcome to partake in events. FHAA also serves as a method of introducing Asian culture and customs to the greater neighborhood.
“We are a bridge to the community, so the FHAA likes to let everyone know what’s going on,” said Kaleena Ma, who in addition to volunteering as a part of FHAA’s administration also runs MK Vision Center on Continental Avenue.
Thursday’s holiday party also featured giveaways and raffle prizes, such as tickets to the Crayola Experience and the Hello Panda Festival at Citi Field.
FHAA will be holding a Chinese New Year celebration on January 26 at Our Lady Queens of Martyrs, in addition to the State of Forest Hills Civic Community event at West Side Tennis Club on January 30. For more events and information, visit fhaa11375.org.