SACSS Kicks Off 14th Year Celebration

NEW YORK (TIP): South Asian Council for Social Services (SACSS) kicked off its 15th anniversary falling next year with a reception on the evening of Saturday, October 11 at the Jackson Heights Jewish Center in Queens, New York. The first in the series leading to the gala next year, the reception was attended by elected officials, SACSS’ Board Members, supporters and well wishers. Packed to full capacity, the event had more than 100 people networking and getting to know the organization and each other to the accompaniment of beautiful fusion music by the band Grey Scale.

Lauding SACSS’s vital work in the area of healthcare enrollment, Chief guest Dr. Ram Raju, President and CEO of NY Health and Hospitals Corporation, in his address mentioned the work that SACSS has been doing of helping people get healthcare access. Praising the work of community based organizations such as SACSS, he said they were doing great work ensuring that the underserved community members had access to healthcare.

Nisha Agarwal, commissioner of NY Mayor De Blasio’s Office of Immigrant Affairs mentioned that access for the new immigrants to services was critically important. Speaking about the new municipal ID cards program in New York City, she explained how it would help immigrants in the city. She said that the new ID cards will ensure that newcomers to our city are able – regardless of immigration status – to participate in all facets of the city – to sign leases, to open bank accounts, and to live their lives in the open. She also mentioned that she was aware of the tremendous service SACSS was doing to the South Asian community.

She said she had worked with SACSS in the past and “looked forward to working with SACSS from my new office.” The highlight of the evening was honoree Husam Ahmad recalling his humble beginnings before achieving the American dream. Ahmad is co-founder and chairman of HAKS, a consultant firm providing engineering, architectural, and construction management services. Involved in two organizations promoting education and economic well being of South Asians, Ahmad said he would now include SACSS in his list of organizations that he would support and work closely with.

“SACSS is doing a phenomenal job of helping our seniors and our women and my goal is to stay connected with them as long as I live,” he said. Presenting the award to him, Congresswoman Grace Meng commended Ahmad’s service to the community and the educational and economic opportunities he was providing the deserving and needy individuals. A tribute was paid to late Sushila Gidwani-Buschi, a founding Board Member of SACSS by SACSS’ president Runi Mukherji-Ratnam when she raised a toast to her energy, kindness, friendliness and generosity. In her address she said, “What we do for the new immigrants, especially South Asians, is critical. We are doing great work and expanding and moving into our 15th year,” she said.

Executive Director of SACSS, Sudha Acharya, recaptured the achievements of SACSS and acknowledged the valuable support it has been receiving from various sources. “We have been fortunate to receive funding, training, other support and encouragement from several Foundations, Coalitions, Partners, many individual donors, and the State, and the City, We extend our heartfelt thanks to all of them. She also spoke of the support that SACSS has come to rely on from Council Members Peter Koo, Daniel Dromm, Rory Lanchman, Paul Vallone, and Mark Weprin, and also Borough President Melinda Katz and Assemblywoman Nily Rozic.

Speaking of the special guests, she said, “Our Chief Guests bring new hope to the City of New York and especially to the immigrant community.” “We look to the future with optimism. We are sure we will continue to receive this support in future,” she continued. SACSS has served more than 18,000 individuals in these fourteen years, she said, and hopes to serve many more with compassion, and cultural and language competence. “We look forward to our 15thanniversary next year with renewed vigor.

With your help we will continue to assist underserved South Asian and other immigrant individuals and families become confident and self reliant members of this great State,” she said. SACSS assists immigrant South Asians to become confident and self-reliant in their adopted country. SACSS connects them to vital services including healthcare, offers English and computer classes for securing employment, and provide counseling services to vulnerable individuals and families. Its office is centrally located in Flushing, Queens. The location and the signs in different South Asian languages continue to draw clients from the community. SACSS’ staff and volunteers speak Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Gujarati, Punjabi, Tamil, Kannada and Telugu and its services are free.

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