Renee’s Letter

Hello jack,

 I hope you won’t feel this is a bit abrupt. My name is Danqi Yu, or you could just call me Renee. I am actually a native Guiyang ren.[Person] 😉 I grew up there and left for my undergrad degree at Macau.
I just wanna say thank you so much of doing such a great blog about Guiyang and guizhou province. It is really awesome to have someone who cares about my hometown so much and provides so much detailed information to other people, like me.
I’m currently studying in the United States at New York City, majored in nonprofit management as my master degree. And I was doing research on volunteer opportunities in Guiyang because my summer vacation is coming and I’m planning to go back to Guiyang.
I saw you have a section as “Do-Gooders”. So I was just wondering is there anything that I could help in this summer? I’m a Chinese native speaker and pretty fluent in English. I’d like to join any kinds of volunteer programs or anything related to event planning and fundraising.
Thank you so much for you time on reading my super long email. Have a great day!
Thanks for you kind note about my blog.  Yes, there are a lot of needs in Guizhou, but the devil is in the details.  How can we get young and ambitious people from around the world to become interested in China and Guizhou in a way that helps Guizhou and help China lift itself up? It’s like a room full of smoke. You have a big problem, but you just can’t wrap your arms around it.
I am an English teacher at Guizhou Normal University and have taught English in Guizhou on and off over the last 14 years. One of the most exciting projects that I have seen is the Forerunner College . A group of university teachers took a bus down there to have a look. We were each greeted by the President and founder of the place as we got off the bus. Wow. First impressions really do last.
This college is a total charity based college and it gives free education to students who might not have another way to go to school. I have taught countryside kids and privileged kids, rich and poor. It’s a paradox in a way, but money is wrecking a lot of kids. It’s not just poverty that is hurting Guizhou, but the value system that some privileged kids are coming up with. That is why I am excited to hear from someone like you, obviously privileged, but with a service oriented attitude. Oops. I am digressing . . .
I spoke with teachers from Forerunner College and, after only a few hours visit, I think I know what might be happening there.  First, the place is full of kids that are really excited about learning. Second, there are a lot of young, altruistic volunteers. When you have a huge concentration of kids that have only one chance to be successful, they work like crazy. The culture is extremely productive. Third, I’ve heard that some privileged kids have been permitted to attend under a tuition arrangement. I was told that their attitudes are a little different than those of the main body of students.
I’m not sure if the Forerunner College is accepting very many tuition based students. I am not sure about their attitudes. I’m not sure if this admirable charitable organization has some financial trouble, forcing a conversion to a tuition based finance system. What I fear, however, is the possible loss of the countryside student culture. If you are rich, and your child has study habits that prevent him or her from going to a credible university, you shouldn’t be permitted to buy him a place at a charitable school, a school that is intended to uplift kids from poverty. I don’t know if this is true at Forerunner, but that is what I fear.
So I believe that the Forerunner College might be a chance for you to help with this fundraising problem, if you can find a way to participate. Can you wrap your arms around a roomful of smoke? I would hate to see bad study habits infect the students of Forerunner College. I don’t want their financial status to oblige them to accept tuition based students.  I hope they find a way to fund their operations charitably, helping the kids with the greatest need. It is a wonderful experiment, and perhaps people like you can come to their aid.