COMMUNITY SERVICE: Susan Shiroma does a great deal in the Queens community. She is on the King Manor Museum’s Board of Directors, where she does a lot of work with public schools. She is a Queens Borough President appointee on Community Education Council 26 as well as a board member of the West Cunningham Park Civic Association.
Shiroma also works as a senior librarian for the Foundation Center, a national philanthropic organization.
BACKGROUND: Shiroma grew up in Astoria before moving to Flushing. Her family is from Hawaii, and she described their history as a “classic Japanese-American immigration story.”
Now living in Jamaica, Shiroma said that though she works citywide for her day job, she likes to focus on her hometown in her volunteer work, especially the public school system.
“I worked for two years on the Citywide Council on High Schools,” she said. “The cool thing is that my mother was a schoolteacher in Hawaii, and everyone in my family went to public school.”
Shiroma was the council’s president, and also served as the co-president of the P.S. 216 PTA.
FAVORITE MEMORY: “The Suzuki violin program at P.S. 107, a fantastic school in Flushing, is one of my favorite memories,” Shiroma reminisced. “It was one of the first schools to establish a Suzuki violin program. Public school is the reason I learned to play a violin free of charge!”
She was one of the first students to learn to play violin under the Suzuki program, and played for a time with the Queensborough Orchestra. Shiroma studied at Skidmore College with the Philadelphia Orchestra.
“That’s one of the reasons I volunteer,” she said. “These opportunities got me into a really good college.”
BIGGEST CHALLENGE: Shiroma has a positive outlook on the outreach and community work that she does, saying, “It really isn’t a challenge. It’s actually an honor to work with so many of the great volunteers.”
INSPIRATION: “Why do I spend so much time and money volunteering for King Manor? Because they’re really making an impact on the kids.”
“That’s the cool thing about living in Queens, such a multi-cultural community,” she continued , “You see who lives so close to each other in Queens and it’s truly amazing.”