The name of my project is Clover League: Youth Volunteers for Children with Disabilities (“Clover League”). I plan to create a community service and advocacy project for children with disabilities with the help of 8-12 volunteers recruited primarily from high schools in Beijing. Named after a common symbol for luck, my project aims to bring joy and good fortune to the disabled population in China through volunteer service, awareness, and financial support. The objectives behind this project are threefold: helping shed light on the plight of disabled children through (1) organizing volunteer activities, (2) increasing public awareness, and (3) raising funds.
My first objective is to create a summer volunteering project at Beijing Shenzhou Sons and Daughters Rehabilitation Center in which high school students from Beijing will come together to organize engaging activities, such as drawing, storytelling, playing games and origami. The Shenzhou Center treats more than 60 children with disabilities daily, but the children often lack meaningful play in their lives, which my team will help provide. The outcomes I hope to achieve through these activities are not only to bring them happiness but also to build their confidence and creativity. Soft skills like these will also help these children better integrate into society when they leave the center.
The second objective of my project is to raise social awareness among the general public about these aforementioned challenges as well as promote anti-discrimination and disability rights. I hope to achieve this goal by inviting the rehabilitation center’s founder and other thought leaders and activists to share their knowledge and dedication to the cause of disabled children at a panel discussion organized by Clover League in August 2016 at Yale Center Beijing. Additionally, I have created a WeChat official account for Clover League. Through our WeChat official account, I plan to publish information about different types of disabilities and their treatments, and write weekly reports (in the forms of text, photos and videos) updating followers about the volunteer work at the Shenzhou Center and the event at Yale Center Beijing. Besides the WeChat official account, I will start a group blog and invite volunteers to write about their thoughts and reflections on the service project. Last but not least, we will create a 5-minute short film to document our summer experience and post it on popular video websites, such as Youku and Tudou in China as well as Youtube.
The third objective is to provide aid for the high percentage of children at the Shenzhou Center who need financial assistance to cover the costs of their long term therapy. The volunteers and the children at the rehabilitation center will work together on several group art projects in the volunteer activities. The artworks created as a result of this collaboration will be printed on custom T-shirts and mugs. We will sell these T-shirts and mugs at different locations, such as the Shenzhou Center, the Yale Center Beijing, the volunteers’ respective high schools, and through the volunteers’ respective WeChat friend groups online to raise funds for disabled children in need. All of the income from sales will be donated to cover the rehabilitation therapy costs for children from low-income families, thus alleviating their economic burdens.
Through a summer of volunteer service, awareness, and financial support, I hope to help advance the status of disabled populations in China and provide them with the seeds of a lasting impact.