Nov 2, 2020

SOAR and I through High School - Thank you

1st Photo at BIT
1st Photo at BIT

In my humble 18-year of life, many known and unknown people helped me: without any hints, our head teacher led entire class students from elementary school spent all income from picking tea leaves in spare time buying me a pair of shoes; someone gave me a thick cotton coat to help me withstand the cold winter; the head teacher bought me a few boxes of milk, expecting me to grow taller, but most touchingly, SOAR warmed my heart all three years of high school.

 

First time I learned about SOAR Foundation was in the first year of high school. SOAR volunteers (I call them grandma, grandpa, uncles and aunties) came to visit us that day. We were shocked because most of them came from the United States and all the way to the remote small town of Huangping, Guizhou Province to visit us who had never met before. Some of the volunteers had all white and grey hairs. After the initial orientation, I learned that many classmates, like me, have an incomplete family (my parents were divorced, and we four siblings lived with our father). They encouraged us to be strong and change the future with our own hands since we cannot change the past. We talked a lot, including what the United States is like and how they learned English and started their business in the United States. During the conversation, I felt the love of my elders. At departure, we took a group photo and got a pen as a souvenir. Later, we also learned that SOAR volunteers went to visit the SOAR students in other rural areas all over the country. When they returned home, many of them got sick due to the long and intense trip travelling in mountains.

 

In order to contact and communicate easier and better, we have established a mentor group on WeChat. Here, the students were telling about their studies and living conditions, and SOAR volunteers patiently gave us guidance and answered our questions/concerns. What surprised me most was how much they knew about us. Grandma Z knew that I liked running and reminded me to pay attention to nutrition. She knew that I liked to play chess and asked someone to buy me a chess book. She knew that I was timid and introverted and encouraged me to participate in more competitions. She was pleased that I won the first place in the men's 1500m competition, and regretted that I failed to participate in math and physics competitions due to financial difficulties. I know they must have read the letter we wrote again and again, otherwise it would be impossible to understand everyone in such detail. In order to improve our English, they also taught us English on WeChat. Knowing that my father was sick, Grandma Z called to ask about his condition. Knowing that my father died of cancer, she comforted me and encouraged me to be strong. She also sent me food and vitamins from the United States. There were other volunteers who cared about me and paid attention to me silently.

 

SOAR not only provided financial support, but more important to me – SOAR is my safe haven at heart. Thank you to you, SOAR, for the most memorable three-year in high school!  

 

Yours truly,

TJ

 

Editor’s note:

 

From Ms. Z, mentor group: TJ has been one of my favorite SOAR students. He was very introverted, always quiet and didn’t talk much. He’s the orphan who’s racing against time. He’s been hiding his pain deep in his heart. When his father passed away, he was afraid people asking him about his father. Each summer vacation he went to mountains to dig Taizi Ginseng to support his family. He works very hard, almost running instead of walking everywhere and practice English words all the time. I’m very proud of him over the years. Big congratulations to TJ for being accepted to BIT’s top-notch AI in automobile major this year. SOAR donors were kind to offering him scholarship in college, but he told us that he already received lots of help from SOAR and as an adult now he thought that other younger students need the help more than himself. I wish the best for TJ and all SOAR students in the future!

TJ digging Taizi Ginseng 12+hrs/day in summer
TJ digging Taizi Ginseng 12+hrs/day in summer
Jul 7, 2020

24 Years with SOAR and More Are Coming - Thank you

CNY 1995 with family
CNY 1995 with family

Time flashed back to 1996, when I just graduated from elementary school. My family was too poor to support my middle school education, so I was about to quit schooling. SOAR Foundation came into my life like a striking thunder chased away the gloomy clouds and suddenly I saw that every cloud has a silver lining. SOAR is like an angel bringing light and hope to my life. I received SOAR scholarship for six consecutive years and got accepted in university with honor.

 

In 2015, I was invited to the twenty-year founding anniversary of SOAR Foundation in San Francisco Bay Area. It was my great pleasure to meet SOAR volunteers and alumni. Together we established alma mater scholarship, to help support future SOAR students. I also introduced my friend from hometown to be a SOAR scholarship nominator and help impoverished students to apply for scholarship. SOAR has been part of my DNA, not only helped me financially, but most importantly encouraged me and guided me towards the wonderful life path I couldn’t imagine as a poor kid from rural countryside area.

 

I’m very proud of being a SOAR alumnus. Among us, there are John Hopkins PHD student, financial elite working for the People’s Bank of China, teachers who returned to their hometown and educate more younger generations, ICU doctors, etc.

 

In this special 2020, when COVID-19 first broke out in China, SOAR donated $100,000 immediately to support. Then when it became a global pandemic and we found that facemasks were scarce, our SOAR alumni initiated mailing facemasks to the US in small packages due to the international package restrictions between the two countries. For 25 years, SOAR Foundation has helped hundreds of poor students in rural areas to continue school education and enlightened their lives. These students also have inherited the SOAR spirits and the passing the kindness and positive energy in society.

 

Once being a SOAR student, forever being part of SOAR family. The love and trust is unconditional and without any boundaries. I am very proud of you SOAR and thank you!

 

JLP     

     

2005 with SOAR volunteers and alumni
2005 with SOAR volunteers and alumni
Mar 13, 2020

SOAR COVID-19 Special Announcement

A SOAR Student's Home
A SOAR Student's Home

Dear SOAR Foundation donors, 

On behalf of all SOAR students and volunteers, we want to sincere thank you for your continuous support! 

Twenty-five years ago, SOAR Foundation was founded in the San Francisco Bay Area by a group of people who cared deeply about education in China. As you might be aware, our scholarships have improved and, in some cases changed the thousands of lives of the recipients and their families, thus may also have positively impacted the Chinese society as well.

At the end of 2019, an outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. On Jan 30, 2020,The World Health Organization has declared a Global Emergency. As of now, the virus continues to expand.

Since Jan 23, 2020, Chinese authorities have shut down transit going in and out of Wuhan, and many more other cities may also follow suite, to contain the coronavirus outbreak. And further shut down many other cities/towns/villages, etc. The stop of agriculture and industrial productions due to the COVID-19 virus have already slowed down the global economy and the US may be no exception.

As the economy slows down, poor students’ families will become even more impoverished. For example, on average one SOAR student’s annual family income is about 10k RMB (about $1,400 USD). A SOAR student from Danjiangkou, Hubei wrote in her thank you letter,”our family have five people: my grandparents are in their 80s, weak and can’t walk due to aging, my dad is handicaped, only my uncle who’s almost 60 and suffers from spinal disc herniation works and supports the entire family. I was worried I couldn’t finish high school due to the huge financial burden on my family. Thanks to SOAR, the scholarship I received saved me from dropping out of school. Unfortunately, my uncle works in a factory, but due to the COVID-19 virus, the factory has been closed until further notifications.”    

SOAR Scholarship nominator Dr. Tang left her 10-month-old baby daughter to relatives and volunteered to Hubei province to support the combat of COVID-19.

At this critical moment, every penny of the SOAR scholarship is the key to change their lives. All your kind and warm above and beyond support is largely appreciated. We plead for your generosity in making extra donations to join the SOAR Foundation in participating in help to fight against the virus, by providing financials means to Wuhan, to China, and to the brave caretakers in the first line of defense.

Thank you!

Very Truly Yours,

Dawn Luo, Fundrasing Committee Chair

SOAR Scholarship Nominator and her baby girl
SOAR Scholarship Nominator and her baby girl
 
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