SEA Community Outreach
By Julie Chun, Community Outreach Chair
This is my third year of volunteering as SEA’s Community Outreach Chair, a position I wanted to do, that I was on the waitlist for five years. And it’s worth it! As a mom of three boys, my husband and I have always stressed we should give back to our community, thus we believe in walking the talk. The volunteer work I do for SEA also provides a completely different perspective from what I do in life, and grounds me to my community in China, where I am a guest.
Unlike many other SEA Chair positions, the CO position does not have a committee because I work with other volunteers from the various organizations we support, all of whom give so much of their time. SEA currently supports and funds six charitable organizations in China. The following four are the ones I “inherited” from our former CO Chair Laura Tang who was in the position for nine years.
Heart to Heart (provides heart surgeries for Chinese babies and children as well as establishes libraries in rural China)
Stepping Stones (provides volunteers who bring English language instruction to children of migrant workers in outskirts of Shanghai)
Shanghai Sunrise (provides educational funding for high school and college students in and around Shanghai)
Baoji Xinxing Aid for Street Kids (organization that supports street kids and runaway teens in the poorest areas of Shaanxi Province)
The above organizations have a long relationship with SEA that goes back many years before any of us even arrived in China. Each year, a percentage of our SEA membership fees are earmarked for community giving, such that there has not been a need to fundraise separately for charitable giving. I am so pleased and proud to thank all SEA members and the incredible direction achieved by the Executive Board because we have been able to increase our support incrementally each year.
The following organizations that had received support in the past are:
Run in Blu
They no longer receive funding from SEA for a variety of reasons, main ones being, they no longer need funding or had folded. Those who closed were affected by the greater oversight of NGOs in China with new laws that went into effect about four years ago.
For this reason, SEA can only fund organizations that have received a valid and current NGO certificate from the Chinese government. Regardless of how long the organization may have operated in China, every fall I make my rounds to obtain the most recent certificate. Any organizations who cannot provide this cannot be considered for SEA support.
A new organization that we are supporting since last year is Make-A-Wish Shanghai. They grant wishes to terminally ill Chinese children and teens. The main organization was founded in Florida, USA and they benefit from teaming up with Disneyland and such is similarly the case here in Shanghai.
Another new organization I am currently researching to support is an animal rescue center in Shanghai. Our family has two cats, including one street rescue, so I am excited about finding an organization that can provide good homes to animals that deserve love and care.
I love receiving wonderful suggestions from our members. That is how Make-A-Wish was brought to my attention. A SEA member had a mingpian (calling card) she passed onto me. The animal rescue was a suggestion I received on WeChat from another member.
Together, SEA is making a difference in the community that we call home for now.