Transition to Summer

In Fangshan, the slow move into summer has begun.  The sixth grade students have finished testing, the middle schoolers are in the midst of theirs, and the elementary schoolers are beginning to finish up.  Our oldest on-site child, Peter, has been done with his high school testing for a few weeks.

Another long, hard school year is finally ending, much to the relief of most.  

The sixth graders who are testing this year are Maggie, Sarah, Tim, Thomas, Eric, Sally, and David.  This test, the middle school entrance exam, will have a large impact on their educational future as they strive to meet the standard to continue in their current school.  Fortunately, all of their grades indicate this will likely not be a big problem for any of them.

Peter, the teenager mentioned above, is taking the high school entrance exam which is much more of a challenge than the middle school entrance.  Depending upon his score, Peter will either be allowed to continue in public education for high school or, if he does not score well enough, will attend a vocational school of his choosing.  Among our previous students who have taken this test, a slim majority has continued to high school, with the rest currently in vocational school.  Peter has been studying hard to prepare and if effort is an indication, he should do very well!

侯立家、侯丽娜和姐姐2010.1.17Testing is not the only part of the end of the school year.  Some of our children who have older siblings are seeing their sibling return, as seen below with Maggie, Ryan and Hannah.  Hannah has been attending a vocational school and came back on June 9 for an overnight before returning to their family home, spending time with both her younger siblings who she was responsible for for many years – the picture on the left side is of the three siblings years ago, directly prior to moving into our Fangshan facility.侯丽娜、侯立家、侯焕英姐弟三人2014.6 (1)

Once everyone has finished testing and the semester has officially ended, in early July, our Fangshan children will return to their living relatives – uncles, aunts, or grandparents – for the two months of summer vacation.  Their departure from the Fangshan facility is always bittersweet, but continuing to foster the relationship with their living relatives is healthy for the children’s development.

Following their summers off, the children will return on-site and our sponsors will hear from them about their time with their relatives.  To get in touch with any of these children, become a sponsor by following the links in each name!

Next week, we talk about summer in Fuzhou.  Since our home in Fuzhou is for children without living relatives, things there are quite different, and summer is often a bit busier than usual!

No One Believed in Me – By Adam

The following entry was written by Adam, 毛业, a twenty-year-old young man who has been living in our Fuzhou Children’s Home for ten years.  Last year Adam moved out of the home to begin attending a vocational school, Xiamen Polytechnic University, where due to a generous grant from the school the normally high tuitions have been waived.  He is studying a form of engineering, though since he is in his first year he remains in general studies for now.  Adam particularly enjoys history classes, as well as any and all things history-related, and struggles slightly in some quantitative subjects.  Adam wrote these paragraphs in April 2014.

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     There is not a single person who could believe I could do well at school and get where I am.  Even I could not believe in myself.  It was impossible, there was too much difficulty in the way.  But here I am.

     I am doing average in school.  There are no major problems arising alongside me, I also hope that nothing does come up!  This is because…no one wants to go through tough times!  Of course I still do have my deficiencies, for example my studying and my getting along with other people is not perfect.

     Studying, well, I have some bad habits and have not been able to change them well.  I am not doing so well because of these habits influencing me (indifferent towards learning, lazy about completing work).  When I try to get myself to want to study, it is hard to motivate myself.  From when I started at this school until now that is my biggest problem.

     As to my interpersonal communication, I feel bad.  There is a saying in China: ‘Stay near red, get stained red. Stay near black, get stained black’(meaning you are influenced by the company you keep, for good or bad).  I usually only manage to remember half of this, that people can have a negative influence, and will often not speak to other people because of this.  I think the best option is to remain silent.  So I do not have many good friends to talk to, and have a hard time talking to strangers.

     After reading back over what I have written here I can see that I have space to improve, but this is good, as it will help develop me.  I firmly believe that I can make the right choices and will not hesitate to move forward.

Impact

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Ultimately the goal of Living Hope International is to have an impact on the children we help.  Over the years many children have been cared for in Living Hope’s Children’s Home and Training Center, and as we approach the ten-year anniversary some of those children are reaching the age where they start to move forward with their lives.

For some, seeing a child move out of the home is bittersweet, as they have grown up under the care of Living Hope, building life-long relationships and forging a new path for their lives.  However, in all families once a child becomes an adult they need to spread their wings and fly.  This leap towards independence is often fraught with difficulties, but Living Hope seeks to provide every child with the appropriate job training and working support to ensure they succeed ‘out there’.

Today, the vast majority of the children we care for are still under the age of 18, and thus still in school and primarily living within our homes.  But some of our older children have started to move forward, finding careers that they can get excited about.  The care for these children from Living Hope continues, but as their lives become independent, financially and otherwise, these children represent the fulfilled work of Living Hope International.  Our now-grown children are the impact we are having as an organization, and each of them as individuals bring a swell of pride to all of us here at Living Hope.

Some of these children have recently written letters to express their feelings about moving on.  We’ve made a page here on our website where our first five ‘success stories’ have been posted, with more coming as older children gradually ‘leave the nest’.

For a very real picture of the impact Living Hope is having, and what our American sponsors can and have accomplished, please visit this new page, located under the ‘Sponsorship’ tab, and see what Ruth, Grace, Sherry, Annie and Noelle have shared.