Whole Child Education

Nothing is Stronger than a Volunteer’s Heart

Like many teenage boys, Jeff is interested in political and military affairs, and likes to follow news on current events. He has passion in video games and superhero movies. He’s not among the top students academically, but he’s always been recognized as a diligent scholar. He’s a people person: teachers and classmates enjoy talking and laughing with him.

Jeff describes himself as a “busy bee”. One would find him participating in different activities at school all the time. Now as a G8 scholar at Dipont Huayao Collegiate, he not only takes the role of Head of Class, but also serves as an adviser in the Scholar Union. He also hosted the School’s Winter Concert just a few months ago.

His personality brought him troubles in his previous schools. In a class of 40-50 students, Jeff’s expressiveness and independent thinking made him a “naughty boy” in the eyes of his teachers, and he was a frequent visitor to the teachers’ office. “Why can’t you behave like others?” He was often questioned like that.

But at Dipont Huayao, his uniqueness is noticed and recognized. When first arrived at Dipont Huayao, there was no football club in the School. Jeff is a football lover and has been taking football training for a long time. After knowing the fact that some of his schoolmates were sharing the same interest, he went to his tutor and presented his idea. Before long, “football” appeared in the School’s Life Block list.

“The School respects and adopts scholars’ suggestions! That’s amazing!” said Jeff.

In such an atmosphere where he’s recognized and encouraged, Jeff’s positive energy grows stronger and stronger. Recently, Jeff the “busy bee”, became a volunteer in his community, working on the frontline of pandemic control.

Without wasting any more time, let’s see what Jeff is like as a pandemic fighter —

Q: What gives you the idea to be a volunteer?

A: At first it was because I saw on the news that the pandemic in Shanghai was getting very serious, and I thought I should make my share of contribution to the community. To quote the movie Spiderman: “With great power comes great responsibility.” Even though my power is limited, I want to do whatever I can to help others.

Before I joined, most of the volunteers in my community were elderly people. I kind of feel sorry for them. They should be enjoying their retirement life at home, but they still choose to stand out and make contributions. On the other hand, most younger people, though also staying at home, are either attending school or working online. Nobody but the elderly have time for volunteering.

But how can we younger generations just stand aside and do nothing about it? For me personally, taking online classes at home gives me a good deal of free time, which provides a possibility for me to balance volunteering and other elements of my life. So, I signed up at the property service company of my residential compound and devoted myself into volunteering right away.

After I began working as a volunteer, I received much help and support from other volunteers. A lady volunteer walked me through all the work I needed to perform. She was very patient, answering all my questions no matter how trivial they were. Considering I’m a student, the volunteer group gave me a shift which is after my school time, and I’ve been working since March 26th.

Q: Did you discuss with your parents before making the decision? And what did they think of it?

A:  Of course I did. Dad was supportive. He believes it’s good for boys to endure hardship. Mom was a little worried since volunteering comes with risks, and it’s not an easy job. But after listening to me, Mom thought that she’d back me up. She prepared many protective gears including hazmat suits, goggles and masks to keep me safe.

Q: What does a pandemic control volunteer need to do?

A: Just like the volunteers you usually see in the communities. Once you get noticed, you put on your hazmat suit and support the pandemic control.

For instance, if there’s going to be a centralized Covid test, we need to inform the residents in advance, maintain order on site and make records. If it is required to perform self-testing at home, we need to distribute test kits. And if there are elderly people or children who can’t do the test themselves, we’ll offer help ……

We work odd hours. On one hand, we need to meet the schedule of the medical staff who conduct the Covid tests. On the other hand, organization can be complicated: if a resident is not willing to cooperate, it’ll cost us more time to finish our jobs. There were several times when we worked till the small hours. It’s much harder than I imagined.

Q: Sounds like it’s an uncommon community work experience. What have you gained from it?

A: We encounter all kinds of situations or people. Some people locked themselves in to avoid Covid tests, some criticized on flaws of our work, and some wanted to jump queue and ended up fighting with others. But there are also considerate people who care about us. Some praised me for making contributions at such a young age.

Every day when we finish work, my group of volunteers would review that day’s work. I also discuss about my work with my parents at home. That’s the way it is: you come across all kinds of people. But each critique urges us to improve our methods and plans, and we strive to do better after every mistake we made. We learn from our failures. These are precious gains from my experience as a volunteer.

Q: Do you have any advice for other scholars/parents who may also want to be a volunteer?

A: First, you need to carefully read the requirements for volunteer sign-up. Communities with more complicated pandemic situations don’t allow juveniles to participate in pandemic control work. You need to find out those requirements in advance.

Another thing is to carefully protect yourself. Volunteers usually work in high-risk areas where strict protection is necessary!

Finally, I want to say that there is more than one way to support the pandemic control. To cooperate with medical workers and volunteers and stay safe at home is also a great support!