The latest New Yorker of the Week has devoted more than half of her life to the bridging the cultural and income gap for Queens students and their families. NY1's John Schiumo filed the following report.
These young New Yorkers may be new to our country, but they feel welcomed and learn to find their way thanks to Lois Lee.
"I was timid. Now, I'm more confident and I like to do stuff in clubs," says participant Evan Lin.
"When I first went into the program, I was very shy, and I used to be very naughty,'' says participant Viven Chen. "Ms. Lee tells us to use our words."
That after-school program is sponsored by the Chinese-American Planning Council.
Lois is the director of the nonprofit, which is based in Flushing. It provides support services and academic and social programming to students from low-income and immigrant families.
"We believe that it's a child's dream to be loved to belong and really to feel good about themselves, to have a good positive self-worth," Lee says "Children of every color, every background, they're all accepted in CPC."
"It’s calm, nice and peaceful," says participant Erick Lin. "It feels like everyone is part of your family."
The 68-year old has embraced young New Yorkers since 1971, two weeks after her college graduation. She's made a difference in the lives of thousands, giving many the foundation and courage to be themselves.
"I was one of those kids that was really energetic, used to get in trouble," says Emanuel Oxford, a former participant. "CPC helped me out with getting through school, all the struggles."
"Lois was one of the first selfless women I've ever met," says Carson Yiu, a former participant. "She was like a mother to me, maybe at times more than my own mother, because she was available for her to help me develop my skills."
And for Lois, there's no better way to spend the past 46 years.
"It's a sense of joy, a sense of purpose and meaning in my life, and I think the children feel that too. They know they're loved and cared for at this place," she says.
So, for dedicating four decades to mentoring Queens students, Lois Lee is our New Yorker of the Week.