After a week-long orientation, the nine new 2013-2013 ABC DREAM students finished their transition to ABC at the annual welcome dinner. On Saturday, July 20th, ABC staff and teachers gathered to formally welcome the new students to the DREAM program. The evening started off with an active icebreaker to get everybody energized. The students then introduced themselves and their interest, and these introductions were followed by a song. The lively group listened to inspiring speeches from past students, teachers and staff. We have high hopes for the DREAM students this year!
On Saturday, June 22, 2013, eleven DREAM students graduated from ABC's year-long dream program. ABC staff members, teachers, volunteers, supporters, and graduates all gathered to celebrate and congratulate the achievements of these students. As our DREAMers return home and began a new chapter in their lives, we wish them the best of luck and hope to see them again! Thank you to everyone who attended the graduation and thank you especially to those who helped make the DREAM program a success.
On Saturday June 22, ABC staff and friends gathered at the Ivy School for its Volunteer Recognition Dinner.
Over 70 volunteers attended the dinner in their honor, and ABC is very grateful for their help with the TALENT program throughout the year. Volunteers passionately shared their experiences and feedback, and we look forward to working with these volunteers for years to come.
On Saturday, June 15, 2013, ABC TALENT students, volunteers, and staff gathered to celebrate the end of another exciting year. In hopes to showcase the achievements and growth of the students, ABC volunteers and staff planned an eventful day consisting of a basketball tournament, an art show, several arts & craft activities, and a musical performance. We were also joined by generous volunteers of the St. Paul American School. Thank you again to everyone who came out and to those who helped make this event possible.
SEI volunteers visited ABC's TALENT students at another migrant school on Saturday, May 29th.
In the morning SEI volunteers were split into four groups and assigned to one of the four ABC TALENT programs, baking, basketball, art, and music. In the afternoon, SEI conducted a pre-planned activity. SEI volunteers set up each classroom with different games, similar to an arcade, and had the students rotate between the rooms playing each game and winning tickets that they could exchange for prizes at the prize station. The school was filled with loud cheers and laughter all afternoon. Thank you SEI for your energy, teamwork, and creativity. We hope that you will join ABC again!
May's CONNECT events continued on Friday, May 28th with volunteers from The Carlyle Group. Despite the heat, Carlyle volunteers spent the afternoon beautifying and re-painting the remaining outside walls of the school. During this time, the volunteers were fortunate to witness the school's afternoon ceremonies, which included singing, dancing, and skits by the students. ABC would like to thank Carlyle for their enthusiasm and hard work.
On May 11th, ABC's TALENT Program（才) welcomed 10 volunteers from Kimberly-Clack Beijing Mill and 16 volunteers from Yale Club of Beijing to one of the migrant schools. ABC staff members and volunteers from each organization joined hands to conduct two different art projects with the children.
Volunteers from Kimberly-Clark gathered the students and decorated the classroom walls. In light of Mother's Day, volunteers from the Yale Club planned a group art activity which promoted teamwork and imagination with appreciation for mothers. The students were divided into three groups and assigned one of three topics. Based on their assigned topic, each group member drew his or her own artwork and later, all the individual drawings were combined to reveal the group's collective interpretation of the topic.
On Saturday May 18th, we celebrated the fourth anniversary of the Goldman Sachs Community Team Works (CTW) partnership.
Over 25 volunteers from Goldman Sachs joined ABC volunteers for an entire day of basketball scrimmages, music lessons, art projects, and cooking classes. In the afternoon, the volunteers, along with a handful of ABC TALENT students, repainted the outside walls of the school with an added touch of inspiration. We cannot thank GS and Community Team Works enough for their dedication and volunteerism to ABC and to the local community.
This past Saturday, July 7th, three migrant school classrooms underwent a transformation as a result of the collective effort of 33 Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program volunteers, 23 migrant students, and ABC staff. Jointly administered by the American Councils and the Alliance for Global Education, The State Department’s CLS Program partnered with ABC to collaboratively beautify the classrooms. Hailing from various American universities, the volunteers brought with them positive mindsets and proactive work ethics. While some participants prepared the classrooms for painting, others engaged in teambuilding activities with the migrant children, generating a friendly and competitive atmosphere. Displaying laudable teamwork skills, students and volunteers arduously dusted and painted side by side, helping each other accomplish the task.
A unique challenge to this event was the strict “Chinese language only” policy which allowed the volunteers to hone their speaking and comprehension skills. However, the volunteers embraced this opportunity to practice with the migrant students and ABC staff, resulting in a supportive learning environment. At the end of the event, although the migrant students waved goodbye to their new friends, their memories of the day will be there to stay.
The National Basketball Association (NBA) hosted an NBA Cares event at the Worker’s Stadium this past Saturday, July 28th. Students from the DREAM Program were invited to participate in an exclusive basketball training session with Washington Wizards Center, Emeka Okafor. After teaching students how to improve passing and shooting, Okafor played one-on-one with all of the students, allowing one of our own DREAM students to show off her basketball skills.
ABC thanks NBA Cares and Emeka Okafor for inviting us and taking the time to play basketball with our DREAM students on the court!
Last Tuesday through Thursday, July 24 – 26, 196 students from twelve migrant schools participated in a Football for Life summer camp, coached by the Manchester City Football Club (MCFC). Patrick Vieira, retired midfielder for Manchester City, and Carlos Tévez, current forward for Manchester City, visited on Tuesday and Thursday respectively; both took time to play with all of the children and later individually signed every child’s football jersey.
Stopping only to get water, the children made the most of every second they had on the field. Under relatively favorable weather conditions, the children were beaming as the thrill of the game kept their endorphin levels high and their energy running. The coaches praised the students for exhibiting positive attitudes and great conduct.
Despite the heavy rainfall, 17 Swire Properties Community Ambassadors, 20 students from the Pengying school, and ABC staff members partook in yet another successful CONNECT event on Saturday, July 21.
Volunteers decorated three migrant school classrooms with delightful drawings of children and butterflies that were designed by artist Ana Seco Durán with the assistance of arts volunteer Wu Yuchen. Each participant took to a brush and went around the classroom, adding color and life to the walls. Additionally, 20 bulletin boards were hung on classrooms throughout the school to enhance the learning environment of the migrant students.
In spite of the obstacles caused by the rain, the participants were not deterred. All six groups displayed great teamwork as every individual held a brush to paint a different part of the sketched outlines on the walls. Teams had an opportunity to bond even more as they engaged in origami hat activities as well as an entertaining game of charades. The day culminated in a group picture boasting smiles of pride and merriment at the remembrance of the beautifully decorated classrooms and newly developed friendships.
With a car full of household items, representatives from Lake Joondalup Baptist College (LJBC) visited ABC foster homes on Monday, July 9th. Students and teachers from LJBC worked together to find and purchase items needed to create a more comfortable and homely environment for our DREAM students.
ABC thanks Sharp Tours China for helping to coordinate this project!
To top off the ABC DREAM Students Welcoming Party on Saturday, July 7th, the satisfyingly light and exquisitely-made cupcakes donated by CCSweets made the event even more spectacular. Guests and incoming students, as well as alumni of the DREAM program, were able to indulge the sweet tooth in them with the fluffy inner core and silky frosting of the cupcakes.
ABC thanks CCSweets for its generous support and contribution to our 2012 DREAM Students Welcoming Party!
This past Saturday, 36 ABC friends and staff joined together at the Ivy Bilingual School to warmly welcome the arrival of twelve 2012-2013 DREAM students. For many students, this signified their first trip outside of their hometowns, but this new and exciting environment will be their new homes for the next year. ABC’s DREAM program provides students with a supportive family structure, language instruction, and intensive life and job skills training. By the conclusion of the year-long program, these students will have transitioned from institutionalized care to adulthood.
For dinner, guests and students enjoyed appetizing steak and chicken burrito bowls from Avocado Tree, followed by beautifully-crafted and scrumptious cupcakes, courtesy of CCSweets. At the end of the event, Steve Hwang, founder of ABC, eloquently stated a few words of encouragement to the incoming class: “I see one thing in common in all of you. You all have potential. We, as the ABC DREAM team, are here to serve you for the next year and help you discover that potential.” With ABC’s guidance, the students will be empowered with the knowledge, support, and tools they need to conquer their fears and realize their dreams.
Within a few days of arriving in Beijing, ABC’s twelve 2012-2013 DREAM students and their two foster home managers began their day of bonding and education. Partnering with ABC, the Beijing United Family Hospital generously hosted and provided the DREAM Health Education Training this past Thursday. To create a more relaxed and welcoming atmosphere, the day began with several rounds of ice breakers and games, giving the students a chance to transition from being just housemates to friends. Soon afterwards, four more trainers educated the students on healthy lifestyle and nutrition, sex education, first aid, and general hygiene.
All of the aforementioned topics help the students build a solid foundation for them to live a healthy and informed lifestyle. As part of ABC’s DREAM program, the Health Education Training is a stepping stone towards shaping a class of independent young adults. But more importantly, these trainings bring the students closer together, allowing them to discover their own sense of family.
Diving into the morning’s packed schedule, 42 Hutong School volunteers and ABC staff worked together to clean two foster homes and transport furniture and supplies. The volunteers comprised students from various high schools across the United States. In spite of the challenges presented by moving furniture up multiple floors, the Hutong School volunteers persevered to accomplish the task at hand. Brooms, towels, mops, and buckets moved in sync as boxes and furniture settled into their proper locations.
As a result of the collaborative group effort on Wednesday, June 27th, the foster homes’ initially cluttered and dusty environment became organized and presentable. With a new class of DREAM program students arriving next week, this event was essential in preparing comfortable homes where they can live and learn for this upcoming year.
On June 21st, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton announced the launch of the Council to Empower Women and Girls Through Sports to support efforts such as the Global Sports Mentoring Program, which partners women sports leaders abroad with American leaders in the same sports to mentor and raise leaders for future female athletes around the world. Reflecting on her own life and the life lessons she learned through sports, Secretary Clinton recognizes sports as a crucial educational tool. Without opportunities to play sports, girls are not only denied the opportunity to grow stronger physically but also deprived of experiences that can teach them to become resilient and confident team players.
At A Bridge for Children International (ABC), we also recognize the importance of empowering women through sports which is why we established the TALENT Basketball Program for migrant girls. Due to their rural statuses, migrant children receive fewer resources from the government than their urban resident peers. Young migrant girls have even fewer opportunities to learn and play sports. Our basketball training is supplemented by our “4Cs” curriculum so that the migrant girls can become better athletes as well as more confident, caring, courageous, and committed players. The weekly practices allow our trained volunteers and staff members to interact with the girls and help them develop positive self-esteem, interpersonal skills, and leadership skills.
Our basketball program focuses exclusively on migrant girls because we believe in the importance of gender empowerment. Through this program, we seek to foster female leaders who can transfer the lessons they learn on the court to their lives and, in the future, teach girls of following generations to do the same.
On Saturday, June 9th, St. Paul American School’s cafeteria echoed with excitement as the students, teachers, staff, and volunteers filed in for a tasty surprise. The barbecued burgers from Home Plate BBQ and refreshing burrito bowls from Avocado Tree provided the perfect lunch for approximately 300 attendees. Balancing nutrition with flavor, the two restaurants received warm compliments for their delectable food.
ABC thanks Home Plate BBQ and Avocado Tree for their support of the 2012 Spring TALENT Graduation!
The gust of cool air and savory Pakistani/Indian smells emanating from Mughal’s Restaurant instantly attracted the 41 spring TALENT program volunteers and ABC staff this past Saturday, June 16th. Mugahl’s Restaurant, with its furnished décor, delectable food, and welcoming atmosphere, was the ideal host for the 2012 spring semester Volunteer Recognition Dinner. Each arts, music, and basketball volunteer received a certificate of appreciation, group picture, and customized ABC tote bag in honor of their dedication and hard work. Many shared their own experiences, relaying the joys and challenges of the semester.
Emotions ran high as ABC staff, Sophia Li and Cindy Qin, humbly accepted surprise gifts in appreciation of their commitment to the TALENT program. Everyone listened intently as Cindy eloquently recited a Chinese poem, stating that “throughout a child’s journey, there needs to be a light to guide them, and it is from the volunteers that these children can find the light to grow and mature.” At the conclusion of the event, volunteers filed out, bidding their goodbyes, but fortunately, many faces will be returning next fall.