“Old friends, old [YWCA] members run into each other at the bazaar,” said Roeme Kim, YWCA’s executive director. “You see a lot of laughter, a lot of hugs.”
Kim pointed out it is not just a day to shop, but to share food. The food at the bazaar is reflective of the Flushing landscape, and though YWCA does serve a largely Asian community, Kim is quick to correct people when she hears them refer to the center as “the Korean Y.”
“We as a Y always strive to have diversity in everything we do,” she said. “The services we provide and the participation of the membership represent Queens, not just Asians.”
Because of budget cuts and a dwindling number of GED preparation sites available in NewYork City and State, YWCA is taking matters into its own hands - proceeds from this year’s bazaar will benefit the YWCA’s GED program, which focuses on but is not limited to single moms-to-be.
Program participants also receive job training and much needed services like ESL classes, resume writing seminars and interviewing skills.
According to Kim, in previous years as many as 1,800 visitors attended the bazaar. Last year about $30,000 was raised through the event. The goal this year is to raise even more.
Businesses, organizations and even individuals can contribute by donating food and/or unused items which can be sold at the bazaar. Volunteers for the event are also encouraged and appreciated.
“The need is greater than ever before,” said Kim. “We would greatly appreciate any small effort because our goal is to continue the greatly needed services we provide.”
The YWCA may not have a pool, but the modest three-story building houses other invaluable programs for the community: universal pre-K, youth volunteer programs and summer youth activities, to name a few.
Kim said the YWCA would continue to find creative ways to keep its services going despite the funding gaps faced by many non-profit organizations in the current economic climate. In addition to the annual bazaar, the YWCA also organizes benefit dinners and musical concerts to raise funds.
“Yes, we’ve felt the effects of the recession,” said Kim. “Do we have a solid plan in place? No, but as [youth and their families] come in, we will not turn them away.”
The bazaar will take place on Saturday, November 13, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the YWCA facility, 42-07 Parsons Boulevard in Flushing. Call (718) 353-4553 for more information.