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Beatrice Wong Oakland's Mother of The Year! - Oakland Tribune

I first met Bea Wong when I was wrting for The Montclarion in 1994. After that, I would run into her on occasion when I visted my friend John Russo's home, as she lived next door (he's moved since then). She's always warm. A very nice person. Outside of my own Mom, I can't think of anyone more deserving...Oh, my Mom doesn't live in Oakland anymore!

At long last, recognition with the Mother of all city awards
By Hilary Bothma, CORRESPONDENT - Oakland Tribune

Oakland's mother of the year, Beatrice Wong, is a volunteer at the Chinese American Citizens Alliance. She will be honored Saturday at the Morcom Rose Garden for her dedication to community causes. (Sean Connelley/staff)

OAKLAND — Beatrice Wong does not expect any reward for the thousands of hours of community service she has donated to city causes.
With characteristic humor and self-deprecation, she says, "If I were waiting for recognition, I wouldn't be doing this for 40 years, unless I was out of my mind."

Her hard work will be recognized at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at a Morcom Rose Garden ceremony, where she will be publicly proclaimed Oakland's Mother of the Year.

Anne Woodell, one of the committee members who selected Wong for the honor, said the annual award is meant to honor an Oakland woman whose community efforts have been "unrewarded and unrecognized until this time."

According to the city Parks and Recreation Department, which sponsors the honor, it acknowledges "exemplary volunteerism," and although the winner must "symbolize the finest traditions of motherhood," she does not actually need to be a parent.

At the May 2 Oakland City Council meeting, Councilmember Henry Chang (At-Large) presented a ceremonial resolution honoringWong.

The resolution, he said, recognized her commitment to her husband, two daughters and four grandsons, and acknowledged her as "a model to the whole community."

At "past 70 and going strong," Wong's service to the city of Oakland has been both long-lasting and widespread. She has raised money and donated time to the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, the Friends of the Asian Library and the Chinese American Citizen's Alliance, among other groups.

Family Bridges, an organization that assists senior immigrants in adapting to life in the United States, nominated the busy grandmother for the honor. Corinne Jan, the group's executive director, said Wong has involved her children and grandchildren in local causes, and she is a "mother who contributes not just to her family but to the whole community."

The Friends of the Asian Library has been another recipient of Wong's fundraising efforts. As Friends chairwoman, she feels the library is particularly valuable because it "caters to the young and old." Along with a small board of directors, Wong has raised $10,000 a year for six years for the library, and in September she presented a pledged donation of $20,000.

Wong easily deflects questions about how she raises so much money.

"How do we do it?" she says. "I make phone calls and walk the streets."

Beatrice Wong, the Oakland Mother of the Year, will be honored at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the Morcom Rose Garden, 700 Jean St., Oakland.
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