Dear ABC Friends and Family,
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!
Basketballs check, art supplies check, pianicas check, aprons check, and a lot of screaming check. Loud chatters and bright smiles filled the gymnasium of St. Paul American School (SPAS) as friends, family, ABC staff, 13 principals and teachers, 15 SPAS high school volunteers, and 54 TALENT volunteers gathered Saturday, June 15th, for the graduation of 252 ABC Spring 2013 TALENT Program students. Eight teams of young athletes who have been training this past semester partook in an inter-school tournament where they not only showed off their basketball skills, but also demonstrated their understanding of teamwork and the values of the four C’s: Confidence, Commitment, Courage, and Care. They displayed confidence in their basketball abilities, commitment to their teams, care with their plays, and courage against their competitors. In the end, QINGHONGLAN came up on top and was recognized with a trophy. Despite having one winning team, all teams who played during the tournament exhibited true team spirit and sportsmanship.
In a room across the hall was an art exhibit recognizing the paintings of various creative artists from the TALENT Arts Program. Meanwhile, this year’s TALENT Arts students engaged in five different art activities throughout the room for further artistic expression and creative outlet. These various art activities, balloon art, marble art, tie-dying, mixed media art, and salt-watercolor art, provided the students a wide range of choices to choose from and the volunteers an abundance of artworks to admire.
During lunch, everyone tasted what the TALENT Baking students have been learning all semester. Placed at each lunch table was a plate full of delicious chocolate chip and cranberry white chocolate chip cookies baked by the baking students and volunteers all morning – a sweet surprise for everyone! After lunch, the students from the music program came before the audience to perform what they had learned throughout the semester and rehearsed all morning. Instruments ready, voices warmed, and shirts primped, the music students took the stage showcasing their newfound musical talents by playing various instruments and singing different songs. Without showing a bit of hesitation or nervousness, some students even sang solos and led the audience in an interactive sing-a-long.
After an eventful day of dribbling, cheering, painting, baking, and singing, the students filed out to the buses for home. ABC’s TALENT Program strives to empower students, encourage individuality, and emphasize the importance of teamwork. Graduation serves as a time in which the students’ growth - not only in skill but in their values - are outwardly manifested and celebrated.
On May 11, ABC's TALENT Program welcomed 10 volunteers from Kimberly-Clark 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.
The following Saturday, May 18, marked the fourth year of the Community Programs event with Goldman Sachs and Community Team Works. 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.
May's CONNECT events continued on Friday, May 28, 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.
Following Carlyle, SEI volunteers visited ABC's TALENT students at another migrant school on Saturday, May 29. 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.
ABC is grateful for all organizations participating in the CONNECT program and their willingness to serve in a spirit to give. These events, in addition to the TALENT program weekly classes, are excellent platforms that enrich the DREAM program student's experiences and allow opportunities for participation and observation. It is our sincerest hope that the DREAM program students learn that it is just as, if not more, valuable to give than to receive.
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