By EVANS YAN and ERIN HOLLOWAY
Editor: MICHELLE DANNER
In order to teach students more about American culture, especially about the importance to helping others during this time of the year, New Mind Education partnered with The Point Church Ministry to provide hot meals, groceries, and clothing to disadvantaged local families in the surrounding community. Considering the large size of this semester’s cohort, we divide the student body into 3 groups of 25, visiting on one saturday each (Nov 7th, 14th, or 21st) one of three care center locations: Cary (which is the largest), Apex, or Raleigh. By participating in this volunteer activity, students learned the basic situation of poor people in North Carolina.
For the service event on the 21st, UPP students were divided into two groups: half went to the Cary location while the others visited the Raleigh location (which had only hosted 5 care center days previously). At the Raleigh location, students met several older Americans who have been dedicated to helping people for years. Two of our students helped to greet visitors and four students helped serve warm meals, while the other five students helped to carry groceries and other supplies for the center’s visitors. Most of the visitors were middle aged people of Hispanic ethnicity, and many of them came with young children. It was interesting to watch our students attempt to communicate with people that also were not fluent in English!
Students worked in the care center from 10:00 AM to 12:30 PM. Although most of the students serving food had not done such a thing before, they still tried their best to learn how much food to serve and to keep pace with the crowd. After collecting a bag of clothing, visitors also were allowed to take two bags of groceries per person, plus a carton of juice and a frozen turkey (the church had collected over 40 donated turkeys for this event!). For many of our students, helping these people made an impact in more ways than one. Some obviously looked homeless, but many looked clean and had cars.
“Most of the people who come for food were dressed very tidy,” Nan Sun said,“But you cannot judge a person just according their appearance.”
We explained that in America, many low income people try to hide their poor status by wearing clean clothes. Also, if a person loses their job and has trouble finding another, they could still have their car or apartment from before, but then they have very little money left.
Sicai Zhao, another student, said that he had never thought about the poor people’s lives in America. During this volunteer job, he realized that there are a lot of people that need our help, even though they may look not that poor, because they do not want to let other people look down upon them. So the students also helped protect people’s pride.
“I don’t have a bad living situation like those homeless people, so I should love my life and should not waste the food,” Zhongxiao Mei said. “Also, if someone helps me, I should be thankful for them.”
“I should thank my parents for the life they provide for me,” Nan Sun said. “Also I should work hard to give myself a comfortable life in the future.”
Overall, our students at the Raleigh location were able to help 16 families, while the Cary team served many more since that is the largest and most well-known location. Nevertheless, it was a fruitful experience for all of our students, and New Mind Education is thankful it could make a difference in the local community.
“I think this experience impacted me that we should try our best to help others who need help,” Kai Deng said. “It makes me think that I need to help someone in the future. Everyone has their own problems and we need to help them if they need it…. I think it was a good activity for us because we helped others without getting anything back. It is good for our future and if I have chance, I want to help them again.”