Dear ABC Friends and Family,
On June 22, 2013, ABC saw its 2013 Dream Program students graduate. It is hard to believe that just a year ago these eleven students stood in front of an audience introducing themselves as shy and nervous individuals. The Graduation Party kicked off with these very same students introducing themselves in English in front of an audience full of ABC volunteers, teachers, graduates, and staff. During their introductions, each student described their experiences during ABC, their appreciation for ABC, and their dreams after ABC. For many students, ABC was their first trip and life outside of their hometowns. They arrived shy and cautious but now they leave ABC with more ambition and confidence than they could have imagined.
For ABC friends and family, days like June 22 remind them that ABC is more than an average NGO established to help the lives of underprivileged children. It is rather a network of relationships built on the foundations of education and family. Thus, as the graduates stood before the audience and stated their words of appreciation, one look out into the audience proved just how much of an impact these students have made on the lives of the ABC community. The graduation program continued with a group activity in which everyone had to guess their secret identities only by asking “yes” or “no” questions. Afterwards, the Dream students showcased their performing arts skills in a skit, a musical performance, and a dance. After the medley of performances, students were awarded with their diplomas and gifts. For lunch, guests and students enjoyed appetizing steak and chicken burrito bowls from Avocado Tree while running around signing yearbooks and taking pictures. As ABC bid farewell to the Class of 2013, we know that they are empowered with the knowledge and tools they need to conquer their obstacles and realize their dreams. We hope for nothing but the best for these fellow dreamers.
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 to all organizations participating in the CONNECT program for their willingness to serve in a spirit of giving. These events, in addition to the TALENT program weekly classes, both serve as excellent platforms to enrich the DREAM program student's experience through hands-on participation and observation. Through these experiences, it is our sincerest hope that the DREAM program students learn that giving is at least as, if not more, valuable than receiving.
Dear ABC Friends and Family,It is that time of year again. The Talent Program is in full swing after commencing with its Volunteer Training Day on Saturday, March 15 and concluding the first week of classes for the Spring 2013 semester. The number of volunteers, migrant students and partner schools this semester are all time highs, with 71 volunteers, 346 students and 7 partner schools. This semester also marks the introduction of the Talent Program's hygiene and baking classes. (For more information on the Talent Program, please visit our website at www.abridgeforchildren.org)ABC is excited for all of those involved in the Spring 2013 Talent Program. And it is our sincerest hope that the work accomplished in the following weeks will provide ample opportunity for students and volunteers to learn and grow from each other. No more can this be said than for ABC's Dream Program students who have been tasked as volunteers. As young adults this will be for most of the students the first time that they will serve as volunteer teachers. Their backgrounds and the challenges that they have faced growing up of course are different, remarkably different, than the Talent Program's other volunteers, which consist mostly of local college students and working professionals. Despite these differences, however, ABC believes that the spirit of giving back and serving others is one that transcends age, experience, sex, nationality and all other categorizations. So it is in this light that the hope for all those involved in this semesters Talent program shines brightly.
The National Basketball Association (NBA) hosted an NBA Cares event at the Worker’s Stadium in Beijing on 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!
This activity was very well received by the DREAM Program students. Feedback indicates that the event was a good opportunity to have fun, learn some basketball skills, and increase confidence.
In early July, 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.
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 2012-2013 DREAM students and their 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 on Thursday, July 5th. 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.
ABC is extremely excited to have the opportunity to work with the 2012-2013 Class. We sincerely hope that the Dream program will not only serve as a platform for self-improvement and increased confidence for each individual, but also for the beginning of many life long relationships. We invite you to join us to serve!
With Warmest Regards,
The ABC Family
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