Community Service Spotlight: Chen teaches children English in China

Junior+Larry+Chen+has+spent+the+past+two+summers+working+with+children+at+summer+camps+in+China+with+China+Service+Ventures.+%22I+was+a+counselor+for+kids+who+are+less+privileged+and+who+might+not+be+able+to+afford+a+natural+summer+camp%2C%22+Chen+said.+Submitted+Photo%3A+

Larry Chen

Junior Larry Chen has spent the past two summers working with children at summer camps in China with China Service Ventures. "I was a counselor for kids who are less privileged and who might not be able to afford a natural summer camp," Chen said. Submitted Photo:

Volunteering: It’s an activity many people consider doing, but very few take action or advantage of opportunities to do so. Volunteering abroad can also be described as life-changing from the people who participate as it brings diverse people from communities all over the world together to feel a part of something greater than they previously expected. It’s the chance to give something back, to share insight, knowledge, and skills, and to familiarize yourself with the culture of the community.

These very feelings of fulfillment, gratitude and inspiration are all things junior Larry Chen was able to experience for two weeks in his service trips to China over the past two summers.

“I was a counselor for kids who are less privileged and who might not be able to afford a natural summer camp,” Chen said.

Chen traveled with China Service Ventures, an organization whose incentive is to improve the lives for the rural poor in China. This past summer he traveled to Hong Kong, and the summer before that he went to mainland China. Chen discovered this organization after hearing about it from his family.

“I realized that I would be able to actually make a change in these children’s lives. This is one of the, or probably the only opportunity they’ll ever have to attend a summer camp or even have prolonged interaction with people from the west. I just felt like it was a moral obligation for me to go,” Chen said.

It’s a totally different experience [to do service abroad]. You see the country in a different way than if you were to just tour it”

— junior Larry Chen

The non-profit organization, China Service Ventures, offers a wide variety of service in specific areas such as health, education, community and good news. In Chen’s summer camp program, he worked with children as young as 5-years-old to children around 15-years old. To align with the educational area the organization has to offer, Chen typically spent his days teaching the children how to speak English. The range of fluency in English for some campers differed greatly, and the dialect in which the spoke Chinese was sometimes difficult for Chen to comprehend.

“I speak Mandarin Chinese, so there was kind of a language barrier. Since most campers could speak English, it was okay. Some of the locals, however, didn’t speak Mandarin, they just spoke Cantonese. Hand gestures, pointing at things, broken Cantonese helped me get through to the children,” Chen said.

Chen wholeheartedly recommends any SPA student to partake in a service trip abroad if given the chance.

“You can go abroad on a vacation, or you can also do service there. It’s a totally different experience [to do service abroad]. You see the country in a different way than if you were to just tour it. You see the actual people, you see what’s actually going on in the country. You can get a more authentic image,” Chen said.