Dear ABC Friends and Family,
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.
Dear ABC Friends and Family,
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.
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 (102 Basketball) 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.
Dear ABC Friends and Family,
We would like to take this time to congratulate all of our Fall Partners. More than 85 migrant youth girls and 19 volunteer coaches from 4 different migrant schools in Beijing recently completed 8 weeks of ABC TALENT's 4C's (Courage, Care, Confidence and Commitment) leadership training.
New schools and old schools alike stepped out strong this semester at Diyi Xingongmin, Peng Ying, Xing Hua, and Zhen Hua.
End-of-semester games took place at individual schools, where students showed they got game! Reflected on the court were Courage, Care, Confidence, and Commitment skills gained in each of 8 day-long practice sessions designed to build strong hearts, minds, and bodies in school communities surrounding Beijing.
TALENT is kicking off its new Fall 2012 Semester. Practice sessions are building toward the semester-end tournament: its going to be new school versus old school. May the best team win!
This season has expanded ABC's partnerships to 2 new schools. The first new school, Qing Hong Lan School has doubled-up on volunteers, boasting 8 rookie coaches for the school's 21 fresh players. The second, Shu Ren school carries a deep talent pool in its team of 28 players - to be coached by 4 additional first-time volunteers!
Veteran teams include past champions from Peng Ying School, where 4 new coaches have been brought on to train the 26 payer team of mostly returning players. Zhen Hua School is also returning with a small, but well-seasoned, team of 13 players to be trained by 4 volunteer coaches - some of whom are also returning to TALENT for a second season.
Competition: The Fifth 'C'
TALENT trains girls in poor, marginal Beijing communities to be Caring, Courageous, Confident, and Committed team players on the court and in life. Each training session pairs basketball skills training and one of the 4Cs to empower players to make better decisions and display strong individual conduct within a team. The court is where the competitive process challenges girls to put into play their new bball skills - in addition to the life skills that will serve them and their future teams off the court in the game of life. Competition brings it all together - and in this game the players always win!
The ABC TALENT Team
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