Promoting Education, Art, and Community Harvest
PEACH FOUNDATION NEWSLETTER
August 2014, issue No. 38
Translated by Peggy Liou
Dear Friends of PEACH，
As autumn is quietly approaching, I am truly grateful to share the abundant joy of our harvest.
Successful Summer Camps – We have successfully completed three sessions of summer camps from July 10th to August 6, 2014 at YuanYang High School in HongHe, at LuShui High School in NuJiang and at YuLong High School in LiJiang of Yunnan Province. 830 PEACH sponsored kids were showered with love and knowledge from 66 volunteer teachers’ tireless efforts.
During summer camp, we often invited PEACH college graduates to give motivational speeches to our campers. As I listened to our older graduates talk, I could not help but marvel at how much they have changed. The speakers went from extremely shy students lacking any self-confidence, to who they are today – independent and confident contributors in their fields. I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you who helped made the achievement possible.
This year, one of the speakers, Michael Ma, gave an especially touching talk. He dug into his heart and shared some of the most painful experiences of his life with the younger campers. Michael’s parents gave birth to twelve children that they could not support. Plus, Michael lost his mother when he was very young. Michael started working odd jobs like carrying bricks or caring for the horses in order to earn money for his schooling when he was in 5th grade. He had to drop out of school and repeat grades multiple times because he had no money. It took him eight years to graduate from elementary school, repeated three times to complete middle school, and took him three tries to enter into college. All the challenges during his youth did not deter him. Michael’s passion for the flute and his dogged determination earned him a full scholarship to the prestige Sichuan Conservatory of Music. Michael is currently a graduate student in their Masters Degree Program. In February 2014, Michael traveled with a selected group of students from his school to participate in the International Folk Music Festival in California. He was awarded Silver Place in the competition. Michael had to try very hard to compose his emotions during his talk, but he finally began to cry. From the audience, I couldn’t help but started crying also. The sniffles were everywhere in the auditorium filled with nearly 500 teachers and students. I could almost hear the thoughts from these younger PEACH students – “Michael and I had similar background, and if he can succeed, so can I.”
Birthday Parties -- During the summer camp, we celebrated the birthdays of all the students. With one cake per class, each volunteer teacher led his or her students to make their birthday wishes, blow out the candles and sing the Happy Birthday song. Most of the students never celebrated their birthdays before, and some told us that they had seen birthday cakes before, but never tasted anything so delicious. A few students cried and expressed to us that they never imagined they could ever have a chance to celebrate their own birthday. To celebrate their birthdays with cakes and well wishes is very common for most children growing up in the cities, but not for our PEACH students. Some of our PEACH kids do not even know when is their true birthday. The Birthday Party brought the teachers and students closer, because these kids know that there are people who really care for them.
Many of our volunteer teachers reflected that most of the kids were very shy and uncomfortable during their first day interview session, and it was difficult for them to speak even a few words. However, the students behaved quite differently by the end of the week; they were willingly to share without asking. Several boys cried uncontrollably after pouring their hearts to the teacher. In this brief week of instruction, the teachers became the most trusted person to these kids. Many volunteer teachers reported that they learned amazing courage from their students and want to return to teach future summer camps. We have already near 20 volunteers registered to teach in the 2015 Summer Camps.
2015 Summer Camp Scheduled Below – Registration Begins Now, Due Date: 1/31/2015. First Come, First Served.
First Session 7/13/2015-7/23-2015 - YuanYang High School, HongHe County
Second Session 7/24/2015-8/1/2015 – YuLong High School, LiJiang County
Student Achievements - In September 2014, we will have 498 high school students enter into college, and 510 middle school students enter into high school. Thank you all, and we could never have done this without your support. Individual sponsored student information will be mailed to you. Please help spread the good news with all your friends and family.
I do get emotional when I think of our PEACH kids. Our children will be able to make a better life for themselves and their families after completing their schooling. They will be more independent and most importantly, they will be a source of love and caring. We are not only helping these PEACH children, but also helping generations of their families – their grandparents, parents, children, and their children ... It is the seed of our love that will yield abundantly in generations to come. I am extremely proud of our PEACH kids. I wish to take this opportunity to extend my deepest appreciation to all of you and thank you for all the love and trust you have provided.
Other Notes: From 10/25/2014 to 11/1/2014, we will conduct our Volunteer Understanding Trip in Yunnan, NuJiang Region.
In February 2015, our second Winter Camp will take place in HongHe High School. We will invite outstanding PEACH college students to be our Volunteer Teachers.
Below, we have attached some PEACH students’ biographies and camp article written by a PEACH staff, which are part of our collection “Deep in Our Hearts.” Thank you.
I would like to donate to the Laurice children medical funds (at an average of US$20 per child.)
I would like to send _____children to attend Summer Camp (at US$50 each for one week.)
I would like to donate to scarf and mitten funds (at US$5 per child.)
I would like to donate to thermal-pajama funds (at US$5 per child.)
I would like to donate to mosquito net funds (at US$5 per child.)
I would like to donate to the library funds (at US$20 per library)
I would like to donate to the Junhui writing funds (amount as you wish.)
I would like to donate to the foundation administration funds
I would like to donate to the mini-loan for middle and high school students’ living expenses (amount as you wish.)
I would like to donate to the college loan funds (amount as you wish.)
I would like to donate _ (laptop computer/ digital camera/ cell phone)
I would like to increase my sponsorship to ___ high school students and ___ middle school students; the yearly costs are US$300 for a high school student, US$150 for a middle school student.
Please make check payable to PEACH FOUNDATION.
Donors in Taiwan please change the amount to New Taiwan Dollars, payable to PEACH FOUNDATION, Account No.: 50011068 and it is tax deductible.
1098 Marlin Avenue, Foster City, CA 94404, U.S.A.
Phone：650-525-1188 fax: 650-525-9688
2014 Summer Camp
Written by Sue Yang – PEACH Staff. Translated by Peggy Liou
I attended the PEACH Summer Camp in 2006 as a sponsored student, while I attended the Summer Camp again this year as a PEACH staff. This year has been an amazing experience for me. I witnessed the incredible transformation in these children, just like the one we all went through years ago. I feel so blessed that I am back to help these kids.
One of my most memorable moments from this year’s Summer Camp took place in Auntie Anli’s EQ class at the NuJiang camp. On her last day of instruction, she asked her students to share one thing that made a lasting impression on their minds during this week. These kids not only wrote down what touched their hearts, but also bravely shared with everyone in class. Some children had learned new ways of thinking that they never knew before like “to live in the moment,” an important lesson from Auntie Ruth’s Happy Life class. Others felt they benefited by learning how to manage their emotions in their EQ class. More students recounted the love and caring from the group birthday party held by their English teachers. However, I was pleasantly surprised when some children mentioned a few seemingly insignificant events that I had helped them.
Student Mi-Zhen-Li arrived at the camp three days after the camp was already in session. I took him to his class, helped him to get lunch, and showed him where his dormitory was after lunch. He was very shy and uncomfortable to talk to strangers, but some how, I managed to have him open up during this brief encounter. Throughout the rest of the camp, Mi-Zhen-Li would always give me a huge smile and warm greeting whenever we ran into each other.
On the first night of the camp, during curfew check, student Wang-Hui-Ying told me that she needed to go home. Wang was obviously sad and upset that no one was home to take care of her grandma. She told me her grandma was confined in bed, and both her father and older sister had to work. I took her back to meet with other staff members and analyze the situation. She finally agreed to stay and let her father take care of grandma. I went to check up on her a few days later. Wang was very cheerful and told me, “My sister said that I can learn so much in the camp, so she had already asked time off from work. I will go take care of grandma after the camp!”
Most of the students in Auntie Anli’s class were either orphans or children from single-parent families. They tried to survive in an environment where no one paid any attention to them and they grew used to it. Therefore, it became such an amazing and heartwarming experience whenever people smiled at them, remembered their names, or offered a warm greeting during the weeklong Summer Camp.
Many PEACH students at the third session of Summer Camp in LiJiang recounted how PEACH graduate Michael Ma’s talk made the most impression on them, and how they learned the spirit of never giving up from him. Another student Li-Yao-Ming from the same camp shared that when I took him to the hospital and took care of him when he had a fever one day during the camp, he wanted to call me “sister” at the end of day, but he was too shy to say it out loud. He said he felt it is the spirit of PEACH, where every uncle, aunt, big brother and big sister is alike. Everyone, without a thought to themselves, poured their love to the PEACH students without any reservations. Li’s comments almost made me cry.
We served hundred of PEACH students during each Summer Camp session. Sometimes, as volunteers and staff, we do not give much extra thought to the things we do for the PEACH children, but they do. Not only do they carry these treasured memories with them, but they also shared their stories with each other. What they didn’t know was that it was them who really touched our hearts.
12209 HuXX, Girl, 8 Grade
Translated by Chialun Chang
On an early autumn day a baby girl was born: me. But if I had known what was in store for me, perhaps I should not have come to this world. My grandmother had no use for a baby girl, so she conspired with my father and kicked Mother and me out of the house. Nanny, my mother’s mother, took us in. It was Nanny who raised me all these 14 years. She fed me and clothed me, potty-trained me, taught me manners. Whenever I came down with a bad cough, Nanny scoured around the countryside looking for the right herbs, even in winter. Sometimes, at night, I saw tears coming out of those sad eyes.
By the time I went to school I had grown to be a lively and lovely girl. I enjoyed school and planted myself in the classroom. One day, however, a boy came to me and said, “You don’t have a father. Your father died.” I immediately burst into tears. I tried to fight the tears and said, “My dad isn’t dead, but…” After the incident I cried nearly every day. Again and again I found myself asking, “Why did my father abandon me?”
I am without a father, but I have Mother and Nanny with me. At school I am surrounded by friends. I have a good life and I am happy. I am not resentful. I have my health and I shall keep growing. I shall study hard. One day I will take care of Nanny and Mother and Gramps too, I will be their safe harbor in old age.