In 2013, the Northern California Branch of OCEF organized the first Run4Kids event. The news caught the attention of Mr. Guoping Wu, founder of the Tong You Family Foundation. He reached out to OCEF, inquired in detail about the history and ongoing projects of the foundation, and graciously donated $3,000 to the event in order to support students in need in Guangling, Shanxi Province. Since then, Mr. Wu has become deeply engaged with OCEF and has made contributions totaling more than 70 thousand dollars.
On top of that, Mr. Wu has begun to sponsor large-scale fundraising campaigns for OCEF in northern California. One of these is the annual Hike4Kids event, first launched in 2014. For each additional participant beyond the initial target number of 100, the Tong You Family Foundation would make an extra donation of $100. Since 2016, Mr. Wu also took care of all expenses associated with the site and insurance for the event.
Participation in the Hike4Kids has been growing steadily. In 2014 it attracted about 190 people and brought in a total donation of $9,000; these numbers grew to 250 and $15,000 in 2015, 300 and $20,000 in 2016, and 370 and $25,000 this year.
Hike4Kids is a hiking trip, a barbecue party, kids’ games, and an OCEF expo all rolled into one. This year’s event was held in Garin Park on September 24. With the excellent promotions by our friends on WeChat, over 450 people signed up for it and we had to close the registration due to limitation by our permit.
As everyone knows, weekends are the busiest time for many Chinese families, filled with grocery shopping, group sports and extracurricular activities for the kids. Still, many participants made extra efforts to be there because they felt this was a very meaningful event. Many volunteers spent days ahead of time preparing food for over 400 people from scratch, assembling display materials for the OCEF expo, and setting up games for the kids to enjoy.
When September 24 finally rolled around, many of our volunteers spent the whole day busy manning the registration desk, processing on-site donations, organizing the various activities, or putting up—and later removing—the displays and hiking trail directions. Those assign to food-preparation duty often ended up spending hours between the grilling sun and the barbecue grills, but never had a chance to taste the fruits of their labor. Many of our guests also threw themselves into the labor pool as soon as they arrived. At the end of the event, OCEF held a reward ceremony for volunteers who had served for over 10 years and VIP donors who donated over $5,000 in 2016 or over $10,000 in total.
Over the years, funds raised through Hike4Kids have been used to sponsor seven non-government-sponsored teachers in Shanxi, Ningxia, Shandong and other regions. Typically those teachers receive less than RMB ￥1,000 in salary each month, compared to the over RMB ￥2,000 paid to government-sponsored teachers, and OCEF was able to supplement that with a monthly stipend of RMB ￥600. Without this extra support, some rural schools that find it particularly difficult to attract young, qualified teachers, such as Xiping Elementary School in Hunan Province, may not be able to go on, which will make it even harder for the local children to stay in school.
Donations collected from Hiki4Kids in 2016 were used to support 26 high school students in Guangling, Shanxi Province. All 26 of them are girls, and many of them are orphaned or from single-parent households. OCEF provide $350 to each high school student each year and will continue to do so until they graduate from high school.
Feedbacks from the donors have been very positive. Mr. Guoping Wu once observed that the Tong You Family Foundation had made donations to many other charity organizations in the Silicon Valley area, but what made OCEF different was that it was largely volunteer-based, which greatly reduced operating expenses and made the financial contributions from donors work more effectively and efficiently for the cause.
One of our volunteers was assigned to visit the sponsored students at their homes on his first assignment, and he recalled: “After each visit, I noticed there was a kid from the family following me with a chicken in hand. I though it might be a special tradition there, so I did not ask why. At the end of the day, after visitation to 12 homes, I had 12 kids with chickens in their hands following me. When I returned to the school, all the kids delivered their chickens to my room. That was when I finally realized that all the chickens, which were among these families’ most valuable possessions, were meant to be gifts for me. That shows how much these families appreciated what OCEF has had done for them.”
Another volunteer once wrote: “A lot of times you read about people visiting Tibet or some other sacred places and felt that their spirit was purified. I felt the same way every time I read stories from our volunteers and local coordinators. Their selfless giving, their contributions above and beyond their means, everything I read about always lifts my own spirit.”
第31期（2017年10月）/No. 31 (October 2017) 翻译：何雪炀 编校：汤柏 Translated by He Xueyang Edited by Tang Bai