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Cherry's Performance at HHCKLA in 2017

Posted by Caitlin on August 14, 2017 at 12:55 PM Comments comments (0)

When I was invited by my sponsor from the Lin Yaoji Music Foundation, Mrs. Jessica Hong, to perform at the graduation ceremony held at the HHCKLA Buddhist Chan Shi Wan Primary School in Hong Kong (香港香海正覺蓮社佛教陳世宏學校;), I was excited, but at the same time also felt a bit unease. I was excited because I could take part in celebrating such an important event in these children’s young lives. It reminded me of my own high school graduation ceremony at San Domenico School located in California. It was the most special and unforgettable moment in my life, when all the graduates dressed in white gowns gathering together and cheering the important milestones in our lives. However, I also felt a bit uneasy because of my religious background. I am a Christian and I did not know what to expect by attending an event at a Buddhist school. Additionally, I felt unsure about the pieces I planned to perform, as they were composed by Bach. Bach was a devoted Christian and most his pieces were written for God. Would there be a conflict? That was my initial concern.

However, the moment I arrived at the school on July 14, 2017, my uneasiness started to slip away quickly. It was drizzling that morning, and the moment we got off the car, we were greeted by the headmistress Ms. Tze Hang Fong along with some other faculty members holding umbrellas to keep us from the rain. I was touched by their hospitality and kindness. When I entered the building, a giant Buddha painting on the center of the wall caught my eyes. It was surrounded by candles and flowers. The atmosphere was peaceful and quite. This reminded me of San Domenico school’s campus where chapels with Mother Mary Statues could be seen easily.

While waiting for the ceremony to start, I had a chance to meet with the Supervisor, Rev. Sik Ku Tay and shared with him my concern about being a Christian. I asked him if it was appropriate to play pieces composed by Bach at the event. He told me that the majority of the students attending this school do not have faiths in Buddhism. It was absolutely okay to play something inspiring for the students on their gradation day. In our conversation, I realized that Rev. Sik Ku Tay was born and raised in a Christian family. It was in his teens that he got to know Buddhism and eventually decided to follow his belief and joined the HHCKLA, which is a registered charity organization in Hong Kong. He seems to be very wise, knowing the main principals of both religions and understanding the common values of the two religions.

At 10:30 am, the ceremony began. I was seated in the first row, along with Ms. Hong and other faculty members. Because my performance was the last item on the program, to conclude the ceremony, I sat through the whole process: the award ceremony, reflections, and gift presenting. The unicycle riding show performed by the students was the most splendid part of the ceremony. Skillful and agile, they changed from one pattern to another by holding each other’s hands with precise skills and artistic formation which demonstrated a well collaborated team effort.

When my turn came, I introduced myself as well as the pieces I was going to play. The first piece was a slow Largo from the C Major Violin Sonata, BWV 1005. At the beginning, I sensed lots of movements and whispers; the room was stirred up by the previous sport show and the young audience have not yet calmed down from the excitement. After I played few lines, they seemed to get into the peaceful world that Bach created. Because of the two pieces are actually two consecutive sections from the C Major Sonata, I did not give a confident ending gesture before I ended the Largo, the audience got my intention and did not interrupt with the inopportune applause. Followed, I started the rapid Allegro Assai. Going through all the patterns and musical structural points of the piece, the image of the unicycle riding show recurred in my mind. Packed with concise and yet creative designs of the structure along with artistic and beautiful imagination, I realized both music and sports had something in common. After my strong ending, they all gave me very warm applauses, and I also smiled at them to show my gratitude to this unusual opportunity they provided.

Maybe it was fate that I was invited to perform at this school. At first, my personal bias might play a part in being hesitant to accept this invitation. However, once I got to know the school, headmaster and students, I realized actually both religions share some common grounds that is to teach people to be kind and loving to other people regardless their backgrounds. The followers from the two systems are mostly humble and caring. I was touched by the power of the two religions and witnessed how two different religions could produce similar "fruits". That is to make the world better and amiable. This performing opportunity made me open my mind and see the world from a different angle. It was definitely an important lesson I have learned in my life.


STEM for Kids' Club

Posted by Ealan Jiang on March 7, 2016 at 6:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Over the last two weeks, our group mainly talked about the Zika virus, which is a tropical disease. We first started with the general question, "Is there anyone who knows anything about Zika?". To my surprise, children from both classes did know a few details about Zika. One child named Angel said, "It is a dangerous virus spread by mosquitoes. And pregnant women would be affected significantly". What Angel said is actually very true. Zika virus is introduced to people through mosquito bites. The virus was first identified in Uganda in 1947, and has experienced outbreaks in Africa, Southeast Asia, etc. In 2014, the disease spread to Brazil, where the largest ever epidemic of Zika has occurred. Zika is currently spreading rapidly through the Western hemisphere. There are various symptoms of the disease, including fever, rash, joint pain, and more. And like Angel said, Zika poses a significant risk for pregnant women. If a mother is affected by Zika at any point during her pregnancy, then the baby can be born with an undersized brain, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We instructed the kids at the Canal District on how to protect themselves from mosquito bites, since there is currently no vaccine or treatment for Zika. For example, if they are travelling to South America, they should be sure to prevent exposure to mosquito bites by wearing protective long-sleeve clothing.

 

Later, we explored Chinese Lunar New Year through short stories, videos, and drawings. The children were especially interested in the legendary Chinese Monster known as "Nian". "

STEM for Children in Canal District

Posted by Ealan Jiang on February 1, 2016 at 1:25 AM Comments comments (0)

 

The last two weeks we talked mainly about an infectious disease, Ebola, to a class of 5th graders and another class of third and fourth graders. We first started with the most common disease, flu, asking them what flu is and how could we prevent flu in our daily lives. Later, we asked them "what is Ebola?" To my surprise, most of the fourth and fifth graders knew the basics about Ebola. Then we taught them that Ebola does not spread like colds or the flu because it does not float through the air. Ebola also doesn’t spread through food or water, like smoother viruses. Instead, Ebola spreads when someone touches the body fluids of a sick person. But we also assuaged their fear by reassuring them that Ebola is rare and does not spread easily. The most important thing they need to do, in order to prevent this type of infectious disease, is to wash their hands well and often.


For those classes we used different styles of teaching formats targeted to the different age groups. For the fifth graders, we spoke in front of the whole class asking them questions and demonstrating experiments. Worried that this way of teaching might cause some students to not pay attention, we changed our approach by introducing the concepts to groups of three to four children. This method turned out to make them stay focused. Yet, this two methods seemed not to be comparative because we applied them to different groups. We found there was a huge difference between two groups. Even though the fifth graders were one year older than the others, they knew much more than third and fourth graders. Fifth graders were really attentive and they understood what we were talking about. And the third and fourth graders knew little. In the future, we cannot speak the same way to both groups. We need to teach in a more fun way to the younger kids while providing more formal lessons to the fifth graders.


--Vicky Lin and Ealan Jiang

New Club Logo

Posted by Aurora Schünemann on January 25, 2016 at 10:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Children in Need members have voted on a new logo! Check it out

CiN's 2015 President, Sylan Yuan, Winner of the Youth Volunteer of the Year Award

Posted by Caitlin on January 11, 2016 at 5:40 PM Comments comments (0)

CVNL’s annual Heart of Marin Awards honor outstanding Marin nonprofits and the committed individuals who serve them. It is the largest event of its kind — where more 800 people come together to show their appreciation for nominees and award-winners. One of the eight nomination categories is Youth Volunteer of the Year. Up to five exceptional youth are recognized and awarded $1,000 each for their work serving a Marin nonprofit, education or faith-based organization. Our club president, Sylan Yuan (Zilan Yuan), was the winner of the Youth Volunteer of the Year Award this year! She was recognized for her work in the Canal Area through our club. She also decided to donate the $1,000 gift from the award to our club. Congratulations, Sylan!


2015-16 Kickoff meeting

Posted by Aurora Schünemann on September 11, 2015 at 10:30 AM Comments comments (0)

This past Tuesday, September 1, 2015, Children in Need had our first club meeting for the fall of 2015! We were happy to see some new faces in attendance. At the meeting we outlined our plans for this year including our quickly approaching trip to Stanford University with students from the Canal District. We also discussed our ongoing endeavors in the Canal including tutoring in English, Math, and Science for middle school students after school on Tuesdays as well as our involvement in the Kids Club on Friday afternoons. We are all really looking forward to a great 2015-2016 year for the Children in Need Club!

Annual Benefit Concert 2015

Posted by Aurora Schünemann on September 11, 2015 at 10:30 AM Comments comments (0)

On May 19, 2015 Children in Need Club had our annual concert. It was held on a Tuesday evening and we were thrilled to see a fairly large turnout, almost 50 people. The goal of the concert was to raise money for our upcoming Stanford Trip. A very talented graduate of San Domenico and former president of the club, Chener Yuan, returned as the star of our concert. She played multiple pieces including a Mozart sonata as well as works by Elgar, Bach, and Li. We featured a quartet playing Mozart consisting of Mirah Ray, Linda Li, Sophie Ahn, and Aurora Schünemann. Linda and Mirah also played solo works. Additionally, Chili Ekman played some solo repertoire. The concert was a great success and Children in Need is happy to announce that we reached our fundraising goal!

2015 Club Meeting

Posted by Aurora Schünemann on March 6, 2015 at 3:10 AM Comments comments (0)

We had a very successful meeting today during lunch. Some new faces were in attendance as well as lots of familiar ones. We started off by introducing the new club officers, Sylan Yuan, president, Aurora Schünemann, Secretary, Linda Li, Music Coordinator, Yilan Jiang, STEM coordinator, Dina Martinez, Outreach coordinator, and Julia Qin, Fundraising coordinator. 


The projects for this year were outlined including our continuing work in the Canal District of San Rafael tutoring and teaching STEM. The continuing projects in China were also mentioned. In addition, we also talked about our plans to expand the STEM project by purchasing circuit boards. 


It is the hope that this year we will be able to expand our impact by doing more projects in the Bay Area. We are hoping to do more concerts and busking. 

Friday volunteer 9/12

Posted by Ealan Jiang on October 26, 2014 at 3:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Today was our first volunteering session in San Rafael’s Canal District this semester. When we got there, we played a name game in the gym to get more familiar with one another. To my surprise, when I asked them “Is there anyone who was here last semester and remembers what we made together?” many people raised their hands. Some activities they mentioned were ones even I didn’t remember. During the game, I made a mistake. I called a little boy “Wiky” when actually his name is “Willy”. So after I called him that three times, he said, “I’m not Wilky. She’s Vicky. My name is Willy.” Lesson learned: names are important for us get along along well others. Later, we played mine craft, a game we played during our first visit here last semester. It's pretty exciting and all of our members participated. Later we taught the children how to design a 3D bracelet online. All of the children were amazed by the iPad. There was a little problem with the wifi so we could design the bracelets but couldn't order them. After we taught them how to design bracelets, we took all of their addresses so we could order their bracelets when we returned to school. In the last ten minutes we taught the children how to use basic apps like note, safari and educational games. I believe it was a great start to a productive semester!

--Ealan Jiang

 

Friday Volunteer May 09th

Posted by Carys Zhao on May 11, 2014 at 12:45 AM Comments comments (0)

On Friday, May 09th, 2014, we went to the Pickleweed Community Center to work with third and fourth graders. It was our second LEGO robot project but it was harder than the first since this one was shaped like a human instead of a mechanical car. We were greatly impressed by the children's enthusiasm and interest in making the robot. Though each group only made a part of the robot, they all build and tested their parts with great carefulness. The coordinators were really helpful in keeping the children quiet and well behaved. They also worked to make the children more curious and engaged in the project.

 

I had thought that the boys would be much more talented in building robots than girls and was a bit worried that the girls would not fully participate in the project. As it turned out, the girls showed equal passion and problem solving skills, building parts by themselves with only the instruction booklet. All of us, both children and volunteers, had a great time working together.


Since the robot is a bit difficult to assemble, we weren't able to finish the whole thing and show the children how it works. We will finish building the complete robot next week and we hope that the kids will like it.

 


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