OCEF北加分会感谢Tong You Family Foundation赞助此次活动。此家庭基金会常年关注失学问题，表示如果此活动有超过100人参加，每多一人就多捐赠100美元。因此，190名登山者帮助OCEF募得9,000美元。此外感谢湾区华人长跑会（BURN）的朋友们协助了此次登山助学活动。 北加分会成立已逾十年，多年来通过图片展、户外慈善运动等形式唤起湾区华人社区对大陆贫困学童的关注。目前此次Hike4Kids活动，以及10月5日的San José半程马拉松Run4Kids活动，已合计为OCEF筹集善款近五万美元。
Hike4Kids: An OCEF-Sponsored Charity Event
On September 27, OCEF Northern California Chapter organized the charity event “Hike4Kids” in Garin Park, Hayward, and about 190 bay area residents participated. It turned out to be a beautiful day, and OCEF volunteers arrived very early to set up displays about rural education in China and recent works and accomplishments of OCEF for the participants.
The mountains in the park are not very high in altitude, but the trails are steep. After a quick snapshot, a procession of more than 100 climbers snaked up the ridge in a heart-warming display of solidarity. Among them were grey-haired seniors almost 70 years of age as well as kids as young as nine months old. People chatted while climbing up, and enjoyed the spectacular view once they got to the summit. The hike ran a total of five kilometers, roughly the distance many rural kids in China have to travel each day to get to school. The daily journey is not keeping them out of school, but unfortunately for many of them, poverty is.
Tired but no less excited, the participants enjoyed a barbecue and potluck lunch, and made their pledges to see one another again next year at this event. Some of them, with more energy to spare, headed right back to the trails after lunch. It was more than enthusiasm and companionship that were on display that day, as one of our regular donors wrote a $5,000 check on the spot to support our cause.
Special thanks go to the Tong You Family Foundation for its generous support for this event. With children dropping out of school as one of its focal issues, the Tong You Family Foundation pledged to donate $100 for each participant beyond the first 100. As a result, the 190 climbers helped OCEF raise $9,000 from this source alone. In addition, we would like to thank our friends at BURN for their help in organizing the event. Since it was founded over a decade ago, OCEF Northern California Chapter has been working tirelessly in the bay area to put the spotlight in rural kids in China. Between Hike4Kids and the Run4Kids event organized during the half marathon in San José on October 5, nearly $50K has been raised for our cause.
[Editor’s note] Coordinators are the local points of contact for OCEF at sponsored sites scattered all over China. Some of them are teachers, some civil servants, and others local volunteers. All efforts in follow-up and feedback on OCEF’s local programs require assistance from the coordinators, especially in student applications, home visits and fund distribution.
Du Xiaogui began her career in rural education as a substitute teacher at Wumiao School in Jianyang, Sichuan, in 2006 and now teaches at a kindergarten. An OCEF coordinator since 2009, her main duties include visiting student families, distributing funds, and gathering information. She can only work for OCEF during holidays and school breaks, as she keeps a fulltime schedule on her job. Still, she has spent countless days for OCEF.
Teacher Du insists on interviewing and visiting every new applicant at his/her home. Some of the locations are accessible by automobile, but many of them can be reached only on foot or by motorcycle, driven by her husband. For those who live closer to her, she is able to meet with two or three kids a day. In other cases, it may take her a whole day to visit one. Sometimes, it takes several tries just to get in touch with the students and their families.
In Teacher Du’s eyes, the biggest issue facing rural education in Jianyang has to do with children of parents who left home to seek opportunities elsewhere. The children usually end up staying with their grandparents, with whom they have a major gap in communication. Previously, her school tried to establish an activity center for these “left-behind” children, complete with a library and a TV set. What Teacher Du discovered through her experience is that what these children really long for is not tangible goods but interaction with their parents, physical as well as mental. They hate living in that situation but they hide it with feigned indifference.
Financial aid from OCEF will not resolve this complex problem, but it helps with those children whose families are particularly poverty-stricken. Income disparity is huge in Jianyang, and a few hundred RMB yuan can make a real difference for some families. Teacher Du sees the sincere gratitude from the guardians but does not always sense the appreciation from the kids. They are not taught how to appreciate in school, she says, but the missing affection from their parents is a more fundamental issue that the school can do little about.
Teacher Du sees OCEF in a very different light from many other charity organizations. She is often contacted by potential donors, institutional or individual, but rarely accepts their donations. She recalls several past occasions where donations from local groups turned more into photo opportunities for the donors, or the donations came at the expense of the students’ self-esteem, all of which left the teachers feeling very uncomfortable. In contrast, OCEF and its volunteers come across to Teacher Du and her colleagues with their genuine concern and care for the kids. In her heart and mind, Teacher Du identified the most with OCEF.
Five kilometers amount to the distance that many rural children in China have to cover each day to get to school. This fall, we invite you to join us in an outdoor charity event: The OCEF 5-km Challenge—Walk 10,000 Miles, Donate 10,000 Books! Besides books for designated schools, all funds raised through the event will be used on school aid programs in rural China, including scholarships, teacher training, and renovation of school facilities, and donors will be updated periodically. So far more than 300 of our friends have accepted this challenge. We would like to take this opportunity to call on all donors and volunteers to join us.
This is how it works: Within seven days of receiving the challenge, complete five kilometers of outdoor activities, or donate $20 or three books. Then, share your pictures and challenge five more people.
We invite our friends all over the world to join the OCEF team: pick your favorite outdoor activity, run, hike, walk or bike for the kids, promote the 5-km Challenge, campaign for our cause, and raise $500 or more for OCEF. In 2013, Kenny Cheung participated in the New York Marathon and raised over $1,600 from his friends to set up a library for Qiaotou Elementary in Shuguang Township, Guangnan County, Yunnan Province. Many others are also working hard for the foundation, and for the kids. Please join us in challenging yourself, and showcase the beauty of outdoor sports—and the beauty of philanthropy!