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Taiwan Mandarin Program WOWs Citizen Schools Texas Classrooms

On July 27, Greg Meyers, Executive Director of Citizen Schools Texas (CST) and also a trustee of the Education Board of the Houston Independent School District (HISD), and Briana Mitchell, CST’s WOW! event director met with Sophie Chou, Director of the Education Division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Houston to discuss ways to help disadvantaged students in HISD.
After extensive brainstorming and discussion, the meeting decided on a plan to recruit volunteer teachers and seek sponsorship to initiate a Chinese language program at CST. This is a completely new move for CST which provides remedial classes to students in need, mainly in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).
Citizen Schools Texas is a Boston-based non-profit educational organization that works with communities, businesses, agencies, and volunteers to help enhance students’ learning outcomes. Its mission is to help kids from financially disadvantaged families who have limited access to learning resources after school hours. It also strives to provide opportunities for students to excel themselves in many ways.
This 10-week WOW TAIWAN Mandarin Program (named after CST’s WOW! Event) has two class groups, one on taught by Ms. Angel Luk on Tuesdays, and the other taught by Ms. Amber Liu on Thursdays. Ms. Luk’s class opened its door to 22 elementary school sixth grade students on September 20, and Ms. Liu’s class started two days after with another 22 sixth graders.
Deputy Director General Lin Yin-Tso Lin hosted an appreciation luncheon on September 21on behalf of Director General Louis Huang of TECO in Houston to thank the sponsors, volunteers and individuals taking part in the program. Ms. Luk spoke at the luncheon about her first experience meeting and teaching the class and how excited the kids were about having this opportunity to learn a foreign language. It is something that they never thought they would do. She described the sparkle of hope she could see in these kids’ eyes and is sure that the class will encourage them to dream big.
During the luncheon, Mr. Meyers presented certificates of appreciation to the sponsors of the new program: Don Wang, president of the E & M Foundation; Executive Director Mei Liang and Mr. Frank Liang from the Chun-Cheng Cheng Charity & Educational Foundation; Kenneth Li, president of the Southwest Realty Group; Frank Fong and Mrs. Susan Fong, founders of the Fongs Family 2014 Foundation Inc.; and John Chen, former Chairman of the Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston. Mr. Meyers spoke about the significance of the support of these community leaders and successful entrepreneurs, and he thanked Sophie Chou from TECO for her efforts making the WOW TAIWAN program a reality, and planting the seeds of hope for these school kids in HISD. The program would simply not have been possible without the dedication and support of all these people.