Children learn the art of Chinese lettering

Children learn the art of Chinese lettering

By FRANCINE MILFORD

Published: Wednesday, February 28, 2007 at 2:58 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, February 28, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.

A dozen children came out to the Venice Public Library this month to learn something new, the art of Chinese lettering.

Presented by instructors from the Sarasota Chinese Academy, students learned the importance of a brush stroke in creating correct letters in Chinese.

The free class instructed children in the fine art of Chinese lettering which is traditionally done with ink on scrolls. For the class, children were given construction paper and markers.

Max LaCorte, 7, made sure he didn’t miss the event. LaCorte admits to being fascinated with everything Asian.

Sisters Megan and Devin Bosley also attended the event. The girls are from New York and were down visiting their grandma, Harriet Richards in Venice. Devin, 4, was disappointed about having to use a marker.

“I want to paint,” moaned Bosley, who finally settled on using the marker.

Venice instructor Ai Zhuang Chan drew the characters on a board in front of the children while Katy Wang explained the meaning behind the characters and brush strokes. Wang teaches adult and children classes in the Chinese language. Currently, Wang is teaching 18 Pine View School students how to speak and understand Chinese.

Wang’s husband, Jinbo Yin, is the principal of the Sarasota Chinese Academy. With 80 students already enrolled in their program, the Academy has a waiting list.

“We teach students from 2 to 70 years of age,” said Yin, referring to his nonprofit school. “All the teachers at the school are volunteers and we want to expose more people to the Chinese culture.”

Yin has been in the United States for 15 years, finally settling in Osprey with his wife. “When we started the school, we were overwhelmed by the response. We have more students who want to join us but we don’t have the space.”

The school is currently located in the FACE church at the corner of 12th Street and Beneva Road. “We are so lucky and so blessed. We couldn’t find any place to start and they offered us space. We still have a waiting list. We can’t keep up. Everybody is working to build the school. They are so dedicated and I am so privileged to be a part of it,” said Yin.

The school serves families in Venice, North Port, Charlotte, Sarasota and Manatee. “Our plan is to someday build satellite campuses in all these locations. It’s a five-year plan. There are many Chinese children and we want others to learn,” Yin said.

Yin currently has a family from Apollo Beach that makes the monthly drive to attend classes. He added that eight families from Venice also participate in the academy.

Immigration forum

scheduled for Saturday

Recognizing the need for constructive dialogue on the critical issue of immigration that impacts our local community, the Democratic Club of Sarasota has organized a forum to be held from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Sudakoff Auditorium on the New College Campus at General Spaatz Blvd. (across Tamiami Trail from the main campus of New College).

Panel participants will include Keith Fitzgerald, Democratic state representative for District 69 who is an expert on immigration issues and a professor at New College; Jim Delgado, of the Mexican Council of Florida and Gulf Coast Latin Chamber of Commerce; Luz Corcuera, director of Healthy Start of Manatee County, and Father Celestino Gutierrez, of St. Jude Catholic Church.

Joining with the Sarasota Democratic Club, other sponsoring organizations are: New College Democrats and New College Infoshop, Gulf Coast Latin Chamber of Commerce, Sarasota-Manatee Farm Worker Supporters, UU Church Social Justice Committee, and the Latino Community Network.

The forum is open to the public at no cost. For more information, e-mail jose.godinez@ncf.edu or call Democratic Club of Sarasota at 379-9233.

Controversial bishop speaks at St. Thomas More

A Detroit Catholic bishop who was punished for supporting legislation last year that would assist the victims of clergy sexual abuse rather than siding with his fellow clergy is speaking today at St. Thomas More Church in Sarasota.

Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, 77, was removed as pastor by the Vatican and Cardinal Adam Maida of Detroit. His ouster galvanized Catholics across the country to protest.

His presentation on “What Should Be the Voice of the Laity in Today’s Church?” is free and open to the public. It begins at 2 p.m. at the church, 2506 Gulf Gate Drive. The Voice of the Faithful/Venice Area are the sponsors.

Bishop Gumbleton is internationally known as a peace and justice advocate, and for his support of the poor, people of color, women and gays.

He founded Pax Christi USA, the Catholic peace movement, headed Bread for the World and co-founded the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights.

He has traveled and lectured in Iraq, Afghanistan and Colombia.

Gumbleton, a Detroit native, was ordained in 1956 and became bishop in 1968. He was awarded the Global Peace Award in 2005.

Patty Allen-Jones