By George Wang, Grade 10
This article first appeared in the November 2017 issue of The PaperClip-a WISS student publication.
Giving Tree? What is that? Never heard of it? It’s a charity, formed for the purposes of giving and spreading love. That sounds like a pretty cliché origin to me, however, such mild ideas can bring changes to a child’s life to an extent that you can’t possibly imagine. Giving Tree, It’s simple, common, but it’s unparalleled.
This November 15th, student and parent volunteers entered an unfamiliar place, the Xunan Village. As they got off the bus, children with Chinese snare drums ran out of the school gate at Morning Light Primary. They warmly welcomed the volunteers from WISS with excitement written on their faces. After greeting the students from Morning Light, the volunteers started to transfer Giving Tree bags from the bus into the quad of Morning Light Primary. There were so many of them, 200 to be exact. All of them so packed and heavy with toys, books, and stationaries that the kids had desired for a long, long time.
Accompanied by the tinny tone of the creaky radio, all of the students came down to the quad. The entire student population of Morning Light Primary isn’t large. There are five grades, about 20 students per grade. Every grade stood in organized straight lines, waiting for the ceremony to begin. The principal of Morning Light Primary and a representative from Giving Tree gave a simple speech together, then the 5th grade students gave an impressive short performance with their Chinese snare drums. They also recited several classical Chinese poems that rhapsodized on spreading love. Finally, the volunteers and the students joined together and sang the Giving Tree song. After the opening ceremony, I had a chance to interview the principal.
“I am really grateful of WISS and Giving Tree for the wonderful gifts to our students. These Giving Tree bags spread a lot of love to our school, but even before Giving Tree contacted us, spreading love among students was always our aim. Morning Light Primary was founded ten years ago, from that time we teach the students to be caring, we ask the teachers to be caring, and we treat everyone in our community with love.”
It was time to distribute the presents, volunteers from WISS carried all the bags into the classrooms. It was like an early Christmas. As every child receives their bags, they all wore the facial of surprise and excitement. The hallway was filled with delightful laughter and cheerful voices. Every child was immersed in happiness, some are fumbling with their new toys, others are comparing their gifts with friends.
A student whose dream job is a chef
“I’ve been studying in this school since first grade. I love this school, it’s nice happy here. There are reading activities every week, sometimes college students come visit us as well. Thank you, Giving Tree, for these wonderful presents.”
A student who wants to become a lawyer
“I’m eleven and I have studied in this school I love for 5 years. Why? Because the teachers here are very responsible, they’re all very caring for the students. I love English, because I will be able to go to other countries and talk to foreigners when I grow up. I was thrilled when I received these presents and I just want to say, thank you, Giving Tree.”
An eleven-year-old girl
“My mother is a chef, my father is a driver, and my dream is to become a fashion designer. After my five years of study here at Morning Light, I really like it here. The teachers are just as caring as our parents. Thank you, Giving Tree, I really like the gifts.”
A student who dreams of becoming an actress
“My dad is a courier, mom is an Ayi in a kindergarten. I’m so happy and excited when I saw the Giving Tree bags, I’m sure mom and dad will be happy to see it as well thank you!”
According to Chinese Policies, children of families who aren’t registered as permanent resident in Shanghai cannot attend government funded schools. Some kids’ conditions are worse than we can imagine. Their parents’ occupations are inconspicuous and extremely exhausting. The kids at Morning Light Primary are lucky to have organizations like Giving Tree to donate to them. They’re even luckier to have teachers and strangers that care for them like this.
A math teacher from Anhui Province said:
“The name of the organization is heart touching already. It corresponds with our school’s philosophy that we treat every student in the way we would treat our own children. Of course, we are very thankful to Giving Tree; it helps the children in so many aspects. The kids here all have their unique qualities, and every one of them should be treated equally, so that they can learn new knowledge in happiness every day.”
At last, all the students of Morning Light Primary could play with their brand-new toys in the quad. Students from WISS joined them as well, some were playing basketball, others were playing with Frisbees. Once again, the school was bursting with genuine smiles and an energetic atmosphere.
Maybe the next time you receive a donation form, you will take some time to consider how impactful a single action can be, and think of the amount of hope you can bring into a person’s life.