The Child Center of NY is fortunate to have supporters who feel a special connection to The Child Center based on a variety of factors, from their own childhood to their confidence in our results-based approach — and, always, their belief in our guiding principle: that every family and community deserves access to the skills, opportunities, and emotional support they need to build healthy, successful futures. In this Q&A, supporter Ming Szeto, president of US Pacific Transport, talks about how and why he has become one of The Child Center’s most dedicated supporters.
How were you first introduced to The Child Center of NY?
I was introduced by [Child Center board member] Kris Amato, a very good friend of mine. I know her for 13, 14 years. We met when she came to my office for business, and we got along to become friends. She helps me a lot in business. She introduced me to small business loans and helped me with my first investment property. I trust her and have a very long relationship with her.
A few years ago, she mentioned to me about children who don’t have enough food and no toys, who are growing up poor in single-parent families. Because of financial hardships, the families can’t support their children as well. This is something I am interested in because I grew up in a very poor family. When I hear things are not very good for a child, they have no toys, no place they can enjoy, I remember that’s what I experienced when I was young. When Kris talked to me about The Child Center, how they help with all those things, I was very interested, and I asked her more about it.
So we have Kris Amato to thank for piquing your interest in The Child Center! What was the moment that sealed the deal for you?
Kris invited me to the gala. I was there and very quiet, and I see people make donations. I was a little shy because this was my first time at this kind of event. I remember the children were doing some kind of performance. When I saw all the happy faces, it touched my heart. When I see these children have such opportunity, I see the opportunity to join the party and support them, and I think, why don’t I do that? Some children have a very sad story. You can imagine that I’m very lucky to have what I have today, so I feel that if I have the ability to help children, I should do that.
I donated two or three thousand dollars at the time, and I continue to make some kind of donation every year.
You’ve spoken a little about your own childhood. Where did you grow up?
Like many Child Center clients, I am an immigrant. I was born in Hong Kong and came here when I was about 13 years old. I lived in Brooklyn in a small apartment with my mom. Today, my business is in Flushing. I like that The Child Center is in Queens and serves children here in New York City.
You’ve donated to a lot of specific Child Center campaigns, such as the COVID-19 response funds and our annual holiday toy drive. Are there any campaigns that have been especially meaningful for you?
As long as it is helping children and giving them the opportunity to grow up and go in the right direction, it is meaningful. I want to let the children know they are living in a beautiful world; the future is not what they see right now. It is not dark, there is a bright future. They just need people to pay attention to them, spend time on them. Where those children need some help, we should give them help. Guide them in the right direction so when they grow up, they can help their family and the world.
Is there anything you would like to add?
This is my first time doing something like this! This is not my personality. When you make a donation, you just want to help people, you don’t want them to know you. But I am happy to do what I can to help the children at The Child Center.