On this final day of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, join us for a closer look at how some of our members are learning a new language by studying in the FDNY Phoenix Society’s Mandarin Language Class.
Since 2014, our members have been offered this beginner to intermediate level professional development opportunity as a way to enhance their assistance to the communities they serve. The class is currently being offered once a week at Flushing High School in Queens and this latest free session will run approximately 16-weeks. In addition to weekly lesson plans, the class focuses on verbal communication. The course is funded by the FDNY Foundation, the official not-for-profit organization of the New York City Fire Department.
“It’s very exciting to see the FDNY members attend the class, because they are very passionate about learning this language and learning more about the Chinese culture,” explained Li Yang, who teaches the class. “Mandarin is becoming more widely-spoken, especially in the communities here in New York City and it’s really important for our first responders to be able to communicate with the people they are trying to help who speak this language. I think it’s great to be working with the FDNY in this special way.”
“Our Mandarin Language Class is going great and Instructor Yang is very knowledgeable in explaining the tones and pronunciations for this language,” added Engine 325 Firefighter Mohammed Abdalkwy, the society’s Co-Fire Trustee, who is also a student in the class alongside his wife, Maria. “Everyone who attends is very eager to learn and they are performing well. We provide dinner free of charge each week as well, with an emphasis on Asian food and I think eating together helps us bond even more as a class. It’s a great experience and we hope more people enroll and take advantage of this great opportunity to learn a new language.”
On May 22, the FDNY Phoenix Society was also honored in Albany for, among other accomplishments, its success in educating FDNY members about the Mandarin language as part of the New York State Assembly’s Asian Heritage Month Celebration. The class is the first of its kind in the history of the Department.
“Thanks to the funding from the FDNY Foundation, this class has become an asset to the Department and the community as a whole, and we’re happy to help provide this class for FDNY personnel,” said Phoenix Society President David Lin. “Our class sessions are informative and fun and we’re proud of their success so far.”