YOU CAN! Empower Taiwan Youth for Social Impact

by The Mustard Seed Mission
YOU CAN! Empower Taiwan Youth for Social Impact
YOU CAN! Empower Taiwan Youth for Social Impact
YOU CAN! Empower Taiwan Youth for Social Impact
YOU CAN! Empower Taiwan Youth for Social Impact
YOU CAN! Empower Taiwan Youth for Social Impact
YOU CAN! Empower Taiwan Youth for Social Impact
YOU CAN! Empower Taiwan Youth for Social Impact
YOU CAN! Empower Taiwan Youth for Social Impact
YOU CAN! Empower Taiwan Youth for Social Impact
YOU CAN! Empower Taiwan Youth for Social Impact
YOU CAN! Empower Taiwan Youth for Social Impact
YOU CAN! Empower Taiwan Youth for Social Impact

The Mustard Seed Mission's "Walk an Extra Mile" training program is designed to recruit university students to provide companionship to MSM sponsored children and students. This will help to equip them with the necessary skill set during their 4-year university life. The tasks they are given in the second semester of their first year would be to encourage the children to brainstorm as a team, to collectively come up with an action plan to realize their dreams and to implement such plan.

The teacher would guide the students to think, reflect and observe the social issues
The teacher would guide the students to think, reflect and observe the social issues

"Playing" is like a dessert for young people to learn and no one doesn't like it! Through the game of "Social Issues In Ten Seconds", each group write the social issues they observed on post-it so they can share the topics observed by other groups and allows them to actively participate in discussions. The "Social Observation" game allows them to focus on the formulation of an action plan to realize their dreams. During the discussion, it is apparent that every young person is unique. Some are good at thinking, some are good at integrating different opinions, while some are good at expressing themselves who are the types suited to be leaders. They showed diversity and work collectively to achieve the goal of "strengthening ability" of the course. Everyone's potential is fully utilized, and passion ignited. There is a sense of hopefulness!

Through the game, students learn to share and discuss the social issues observed by each group, they then select from the whiteboard the topics that the team wants to change and discuss an action plan to implement it. When students realize that the society is full of issues which they can make a difference, through the guidance of the youth trainer, the group leader lead the discussion and reach consensus so they can discuss the effectiveness and significance of the action plan with more focus. "What are we going to do to realize the dream?" "What can we do?" "Can someone help us?" We saw how the students evolved from directionless to what they want to do at the beginning, to gradually focus and started an action plan and the energy spread within the group. We saw the unlimited potential of these children!

Share their goals and give feedback to each other
 
During the pandemic, members gather and discuss online, continuing to work towards an action plan to realize their dreams.
During the pandemic, members gather and discuss online, continuing to work towards an action plan to realize their dreams.
 

Through numerous team discussions, it started bringing changes to these silent young men. Some began to provide their own ideas, some exercise their talents of arts. They learned to communicate with each other, teamwork, collaboration, management and how to pitch their dream-realization action plan to other team members, to respond to the questions raised by teachers and students about their proposal, the ability to write a proposal, to think and react on their own, to communication, etc., these are the soft power important not only in their university coursework but also in their future career!

"To change the world, start with me", small dreams can change the world, whether it is "I want to reduce plastics and garbage in the ocean to protect the environment", or "Start with your own community to raise the awareness of environment protection of the general public." Through the actions of young people, we hope that they will influence the community and the society alike, to connect and interact with the outer circle, to change society from where they are. We also hope that this will help young people to see their own advantages and value.

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Amid life transitions, walk one more mile with the young people! The Mustard Seed Mission (MSM) launches "Walk One More Mile!" initiative, a 4-year empowerment program for college students. MSM has long devoted to poverty issues of underprivileged children and served more than 4,000 disadvantaged Taiwan children via child sponsorship program. For those underprivileged teens graduated from high school and pursuing for higher education, "Student Leadership Camp" was held to develop their capacities and self-efficacies, aiming to equip future leader through a positive interaction environment and empowerment courses.

Chang Hong-En, Director of MSM Youth Development Department said, " When Bill Gates shared about wealth gap, he mentioned environment has huge impact to personal interaction." That is the reason why the "Student Leadership Camp" brings in the concept of critical thinking of John Dewey, an American educator and philosopher, guiding students to practice thinking, perceive problems, and bring out the possibility of problem-solving and innovation.

Attendees experiencing the strength of having a same goal.  

Chen, a freshman in a university, has received MSM's help for 6 years, said he got a breakthrough by the critical thinking training through listening, nonviolent communication, teamwork and cooperation during the camp. He hopes he could apply what he learned to make changes and is willing to share with others. Kevin, another freshman, receiving MSM's help since 13 years-old, is also impressed by the critical thinking training. He was a team leader in the program and he is thankful that he could experience how to handle the pressure, face the problems, and overcome the difficulties in a safe environment even though he didn't lead the team to reach the goal.

The Mustard Seed Mission empowering college youths to be future leaders.

The four days "Student Leadership Camp" guides students to create positive connections through a video "Homeless reversed her life - a miracle in Brooklyn, New York" and then leads students to organize a charity action for the community which builds the student's capacities during the implementation, such as making a plan and raising fund. By serving people in need in the community, students are transformed into givers from takers, and becoming influencers with social impact and are able to walk forward in life.

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When Kai first joined in the class, he was very quiet and didn't talk much. He just showed hospitality with a smile, listening to the social worker and lecturer teaching courses silently aside. Under the continuous guidance and encouragement of social workers and lecturers, and activities and relaxed dialogues have narrowed the distance with Kai, he gradually opened his heart and shared that he had been learning pour-over coffee.

Social worker: "Why do you want to join the training class of coffee brewing stall?" 
Kai: "Because I really want to have my own small stall, but I don't know how to start." 

Kai was not good at expressing his inner thoughts, but now he can talk naturally. He has taken a big step forward his dream of having a coffee stall. Finally, before the end of the training class, Kai will go to the first stop to fulfill his dream: set up a coffee cart stall at the gate of Chengching Lake, with expression of tension, excitement and expectation on his face.

The first time riding on his own mobile coffee cart and move forward to the dream.
The first time riding on his own mobile coffee cart and move forward to the dream. 
 

"Kai, it's okay! Don't be afraid of being rejected"  "Bravely invite passing people to the stall and enjoy the process of introducing pour-over coffee!"  The social workers continued to encourage and accompany Kai. After interacting with the customers once, twice, and three times, Kai gradually overcame his fears and began to open his heart, and shared with us: "It seems that being rejected is not so scary. Every rejection is to prepare for the next opportunity!"

Breaking through himself and interact with the people, and inviting people to taste the coffee brewed by himself.
Breaking through himself and interact with the people, and inviting people to taste the coffee brewed by himself.
 

In the class of pour-over coffee stall, Kai not only learns the practical operation of coffee beans knowledge, brewing skills, the trick of water temperature control, and the conditions to note when setting up the stall, but also allows himself to be transformed from the original introvert and bad words, become a "dream practitioner" who has the courage to face fears, overcome difficulties, and work hard to solve them.


On the path of dreams, be determined and keep moving forward! 
On the path of dreams, be determined and keep moving forward!


Now Kai can naturally invite people who passing by to taste the coffee brewed by himself, and actively communicate with customers as friends to share brewing knowledge and entrepreneurial history, and establish friendly relationships. He makes his future life like a cup of coffee brewed by himself, through step-by-step breakthrough and high-temperature quenching, the most mellow and beautiful life charm can be realized.

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Unlike most of her peers, Chelsea is from skipped-generation family and raised by grandfather given her parents have been imprisoned on frequent basis. Chelsea, lack of idea about what a two-parent family should be like, has long been under absence of proper childcare.

Grandfather is getting old, suffering from stroke, and becomes disabled.  He is obliged to not only undertake financial responsibility for the family, but also take care of Chelsea as well as Chelsea's cousins. Only when his health condition permits, grandfather will engage some degree of agricultural works, to earn the keep by farming and selling the bamboo shoots.  Nevertheless, this produces trivial income. Under such financial distress situation, Chelsea and the cousins do not have excess cash to buy themselves new clothes; they can only rely on neighbors and the Mustard Seed Mission community service center for second hand clothes donation.

At the year end, the MSM community service center invited Chelsea and her family for reunion dinner party. To enjoy good amount of food has been such a luxury while unattainable for Chelsea, as there are just so many kids to be fed at home. Most of the time, Chelsea is craving for food as she is in the stage of growth. Hence, as soon as Chelsea learns there will be yearend dinner gathering supplied with hot pot and steak, she really looks forward to it. Social workers understand there is almost no chance for Chelsea to dine out. They expect this gathering is a great opportunity for Chelsea to learn table manners. Furthermore, such social event allows people living in the same community to get to know each other. Eating and chatting over the meal keep everyone warm and will strengthen the relationship from one family to another. 

Every year, the Mustard Seed Mission hosts year end reunion dinner party in community service centers, helping those from single parent and skipped generation families, as well as disadvantaged children get together.  Throughout the dinner, let them not feel alone but heartwarming and at ease.

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Organization Information

The Mustard Seed Mission

Location: New Taipei City, Taiwan - Taiwan
Website:
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Twitter: @MustardSeedTW
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The Mustard Seed Mission Taiwan
New Taipei City, Taiwan
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