Growing up as an Asian American can lead some children to feel conflicted about their identity. Meet an amazing group of students helping to change that.
At the Georgia Institute of Technology, a group of 20 students has reached out to local Chinese families and Chinese adoptees to assist young children to understand and embrace their culture.
The China Care club, which started over a decade ago, typically hosts a monthly playgroup attended by up to 10 families at a time. While the pandemic has meant moving their events online, there are still plenty of friendly faces wanting to reach out and help despite socially distanced isolation.
Last October, during the Mid-Autumn Festival, the group even went as far as recording themselves making traditional mooncakes for members before delivering ingredients as care packages to playgroup families.
It’s a big step from how the group operated pre-pandemic but all members have remained keen to continue to stay in touch.
“In a typical semester we invited families to Georgia Tech’s campus once a month to teach local adoptees and other interested kids about Chinese culture and do fun traditional activities with them, like making dumplings or Chinese lanterns,” said Karen who is the leader of the group.
“It’s been difficult to offer the same experiences, but our online playgroup attendance has been high. The pandemic has forced us to be more creative and mindful of restrictions but we can also start now to look ahead to better times” Karen writes.
The group also continues to donate to OneSky, which was originally established to assist children in China’s orphanages.
For Georgia Tech China Care members and the children they work with, assisting OneSky is another way for them to embrace their heritage. Bake sales and dinners continue to raise much-needed funds. Recently, when pre-planned social events could not go ahead, group leaders instead arranged a three-day e-sports event, raising $400.
“OneSky is special to us,” said Karen.“It gives us a chance to give back to the community starting from our roots. Most of our members come from Asian backgrounds, and a few of our current members and past volunteers are adoptees.”
“Coming together as China Care and working with OneSky gives us a chance to help out both kids in the local Atlanta community and Asia.”
Now the group is hoping to partner with local businesses to take their group, its support, and fundraising to the next level. They’re hoping that through partnerships with local Chinese language schools and small Asian businesses, they can reach even more students and provide even greater support and experiences.
The efforts of Georgia Tech China Care and student chapters worldwide aren’t going unnoticed. OneSky and its CEO, Morgan Lance said: “Our work is about giving vulnerable children the best possible start to life so they can go on to reach their potential and contribute positively to their communities in the future. That’s exactly what these students are doing – they are giving back and doing so selflessly. They are proving to be incredible role models, and we are so grateful and in awe of their dedication and kindness.”
Students for OneSky at the Georgia Institute of Technology have asked OneSky if we would share the following statement.
“We condemn any form of violence, abuse, and/or discrimination committed against the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Our organization’s longtime values have centered around the ideas of promoting cultural/racial acceptance and providing a safe space for children to learn Chinese culture and grow surrounded by mentors and peers who encourage them to be proud of their heritage. As such, the recent hate crimes against Asian Americans, specifically the nearby Atlanta shootings, were a devastating blow against the very values of love, acceptance, and cultural inclusivity that we as a club stand and strive for. These events serve as a reminder of how relevant this issue is today, and as such how crucial it is to condemn such crimes in order to create a community accepting and inclusive of all races. We extend our sincerest condolences to the families of the victims. We hope it will bring comfort to know that we choose to focus on continuing to stand united with the Georgia Tech community, the Atlanta area, and the greater AAPI community in order to combat racism and create a safer and accepting tomorrow.”