Dear ABC Friends and Family,
On the weekend of November 22nd, a total of 622 participants comprised of 411 students, 96 volunteers and staff, and 35 guests gathered to celebrate the TALENT Graduation of children from six migrant schools. The event was a special opportunity for art, basketball, music and dance students to showcase their hard work and achievements to classmates, volunteers, friends, and relatives. Art students displayed their work in an exhibition, and everyone played an interactive game that led to a fuller appreciation of the students’ artwork. Those art students who had several pieces of work displayed felt extremely proud as they introduced their work and explained how they had created it. At Qinghonglan School, an art volunteer designed a special art event, where all participants could experience part of the art program by painting and drawing on a massive canvas on the wall. Music students performed a variety of songs and gave well-rehearsed performances on recorders, melodicas and percussion instruments. Dance students performed dances of different styles including Uighur traditional dance and modern dance. Finally, the activity reached a crescendo as the basketball students took part in a competitive tournament while their classmates cheered on their favorite team from the sidelines. The day ended with an awards ceremony, where the top students, the basketball champions, and the winners of the art game were recognized. Overall, the graduation was a wonderful opportunity to showcase and celebrate 10 weeks of hard work.
One week later, on November 29th, 80 volunteers, ABC staff, DREAM students, and guests gathered at Tsinghua Middle School to celebrate the last event of the TALENT program’s fall semester: the Volunteer Appreciation Event. The evening opened with an introduction from ABC staff and participants watched two videos reflecting on the highlights of the semester. The first was prepared by an ABC staff member, Kate, and the second was a special video of interviews by volunteers prepared by a very gifted music volunteer, Song Mumei. Following this, photo volunteers presented their best work, the achievements of all volunteers were celebrated and special recognition was given to outstanding volunteers. The evening ended with an interactive discussion between Steve, the volunteers, and Tsinghua students, which gave everyone in attendance the opportunity to get an inside look at ABC International. Volunteers gained a real insight into how ABC was founded, how the organization worked and how invaluable volunteers were to the success of ABC. All volunteers agreed this was a fantastic addition to the evening and that it made them feel that they were an important part of the ABC team. Overall, the evening was an enjoyable and meaningful way to reflect on the contributions of all volunteers and the success of the TALENT program’s fall semester. (Content written by Kate Williams)
With the Fall 2014 Talent Program set to begin soon, more than 100 volunteers gathered on Saturday, September 13, to receive one full-day of comprehensive training. Talent Program volunteers, who include both local and foreign university students and working professionals, play an integral role in program implementation. Specifically, volunteers collaborate in teams to prepare and present class content, and provide feedback to students and ABC staff. Volunteers also interview prior to joining the program, and each Saturday morning, over a period of 9-weeks, travel long distances to reach remote migrant school locations. For some volunteers it is their first time engaging in this type of work, some may have volunteered at one-time events, and for others it is their second, third or fourth time working with ABC to deliver the Talent Program. Their combined and individual efforts often go unnoticed. ABC would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge their desire to help others and encourage them to move forward with an eagerness to love.
On the morning of the 1st June, 2014, a sense of excitement filled the air in St Paul’s American School, Beijing. Over five hundred people, including 381 TALENT program students and migrant teachers, 93 volunteers and 36 staff and guests, gathered together to celebrate the TALENT graduation, a momentous event in the ABC calendar.
The graduation allows each participant to celebrate their successful completion of the program, and gives all participants the opportunity to showcase the activities from the semester. This day culminated a full year of hard work and dedication and promised an extremely action-packed and exciting day for all.
All schools were assembled at 9.30am for the welcome speech given by members of ABC’s core staff and watched thegraduation video, which included photos and videos of the different acitivities of the TALENT program over the past year.
Following the introduction, the musicians and dancers retreated to their separate rooms for some final rehearsal preparation, while other students viewed the Art Show and entered into the interim rounds of the Ping-pong and Basketball Tournament.
BasketballAltogether six teams from three different schools came to the graduation to compete in a basketball tournament. The students thoroughly enjoyed the competitive but fair nature of the games. One of the girls noted that the basketball tournament served as a perfect platform for her to exercise as well as have fun. Overall, the tournament was a great success that really emphasized the 4C's core values: Confidence, Courage, Commitment, andCare.
MusicFive of the six schools took part in the Music performances, creating a varied and exciting show. Pengying school opened the show with a percussion and vocal performance of the British song “We will rock you,” which was followed by performances using vocals and melodies of well-known Chinese music by Xinyuan school and Hongqi school. Shuren school then performed fantastic renditions of two Chinese songs and Qinghonglan gave two impressive recorder performances. One participant told us that performing onstage was her favorite experience from the TALENT program.
ArtIn a room surrounded by framed student artwork from the semester, art students painted together with their teachers forthe last time. With large canvases, paint colors, and paintbrushes scattered across the ground, students created beautiful and vibrant paintings. The paintings ranged from a mountain landscape to pig and fish astronauts in outer space. As stated by Zhang Bohao, a third grader at the Xinyuan School, he enjoys art and ABC in general; he helped to paint birds in class, but on the day of the graduation, he helped to paint flowers.
Ping-pongIn the afternoon, Pengying school took part in an intra-school Ping-pong competition. Participants were divided into four groups according to age and gender and played a knock-out tournament in each group, producing four victorious winners. One participant mentioned that playing against her close friends had made her even more competitive, but when her friend narrowly beat her in the final, she thought that this was a fair victory and was very happy for her friend.
DanceIn the morning, the dancers from Xinyuan school gathered together in the Ping-pong room for some final preparation of their two dances: “Honey” and “Molihua”. The dance volunteers carefully applied their makeup and changed into their two outfits: coordinated yellow, red, blue and pink t-shirts and trousers for “Honey” and sparkly green dresses with flowers for “Molihua”. One of the dancers mentioned that “this was the prettiest she’d ever felt”.
Later in the day, the students performed their two dances perfectly and many of them thought that performing in front of such a large audience was by far their favorite part of the day. Some of the students mentioned that, even though they had been nervous, performing alongside their friends had calmed their nerves so that they could completely enjoy the performance.
At the end of the day, all participants came together for the Awards Ceremony, where the top students in each activity from each school were awarded prizes and the best pieces of Artwork were given recognition. Following this, everyone gathered together for a group photo and the founder of ABC gave a motivational speech, expressing his wish that we would all become volunteers.
The TALENT program aims to empower students, encourage individuality and emphasize the importance of teamwork. The sense of confidence among participants, the enthusiastic support for their classmates and the creativity in Music, Dance and Art powerfully demonstrated how each and every participant had grown throughout the program and thoroughly deserved all the recognition and applause given throughout the day.
Best Regards,Zadok Huang(Special thanks to intern Kate William for writing this report)
Children, specifically migrant children and orphans, are at the center of ABC program planning and implementation. Sense of accomplishment in working with these children is obtained when a child sees development and progress, whatever areas these may be, from our work. Every year, the Talent Program, which caters to the migrant children population, serves close to one-thousand children within the greater Beijing area. Some children see improvement in confidence, some are more willing to present in front of audiences, some learn teamwork skills, and some become more engaged in their studies after participating in Talent Program activities. We share one story here of a boy, Boshuai, to provide an example of a child who has shown tangible development, and encouragement for all of those volunteers, sponsors, employees and other benefactors who work so diligently to make our programs run.
Boshuai, a 10 year old boy, grew up in a strict home. When he first joined the TALENT Program’s Art class in 2013, he had difficultycooperating in class – he would always play and fight with other students despite the teacher’s petition to have him listen carefully in class. One day, an ABC staff member decided to take him aside and talk with him. Initially, he refused with a rebellious tone and attitude. The staff member persisted and eventually, after 3 attempts, Boshuai agreed to talk. During the conversation, the staff member clearly informed him of what kind of behaviors were acceptable and set expectations for him. His behavior and attitude changed after this conversation. Boshuai began to listen, take proactive care of his classmates by helping them, and showing them empathy and to help teachers clean and carry materials. All ABC staff and volunteer teachers observed a noticeable difference in his behavior.
As the Talent Program gears up for its first week of Spring 2014 classes this weekend, we are excited at the prospect of experiencing the process and outcomes of positive change in more childrens' lives.
Another 3 months have passed with yet another semester concluding. On November 23, ABC hosted its Fall 2013 Talent Program Graduation ceremony for its volunteers, students, and partner schools and teachers. 313 students from 6 different migrant schools, and 144 volunteers and honorable guests attended the event. The day consisted of a basketball tournament, art exhibit and activity, and musical and dance performances. The featured activity of the day was the performance by the dance class, the first in the history of the Talent () Program. The art exhibit featured four themes: “World of Love,” “Season of Harvest,” “Science City of the Future,” and “Animal Kingdom.” Teachers and students sat in circles and drew pictures of their dreams surrounding these four themes. Music class students played in concert using drums, ancient Chinese harps, and melodeons. The basketball students competed fiercely, showing off their moves. We hope that the day was as memorable a day for the students as it was for us.
ABC is extremely thankful for all of the volunteers’ time and efforts over the past 10 weeks. We look forward to working with these and other volunteers again in the Spring of 2014!
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