Written by Aaron Zhou, FCSN Voices Youth Reporter
On December 22, 2021, FCSN held a Christmas concert in collaboration with BRI Youth Volunteer Group, a local non-for-profit organization based in Fremont. Aside from the concert, BRI has also been regularly leading a Reading Club for FCSN. Through collaborations such as the concert, reading club, and donations to FCSN, the two organizations are promoting special needs awareness within and beyond our community.
Formed during the pandemic as an online program, the Reading Club has been regularly providing interactive literature for special needs students. Each book selected aims at creating a positive impact on the students’ understanding of social, behavioral, and emotional skills. During the sessions, every student is given the opportunity to participate in discussions and storytelling activities. “We organized this [club] as a way to initiate participation from every one of our special friends,” BRI Counselor and FCSN Teacher Jenny Wang said. “We’re glad that they’re joining in and participating.”
Thanks to multiple past collaborations, both organizations have not experienced much difficulty hosting the Reading Club. According to Wang, FCSN staff members have helped youth volunteers from BRI with communication and interaction with the students whenever needed.
Just like the reading club, the December Christmas concert saw astonishing success, with many talented performers from both organizations spreading the holiday joy. Traditional dances, Chinese Kung-Fu, piano concertos, and vocal recitals filled up the action-packed itinerary. The concert ended with the event hosts inviting all performers and audience members to sing classic Christmas songs such as “Jingle Bells” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” together, bringing rounds of cheering and applause from the audience.
After the listed performances, a band of very special guests took the stage: FCSN’s Dream Achievers. The performers consist of three talented musicians with autism, including lead vocalist Greg Hebert, keyboardist Alice Jen, and multi-instrumentalist Lawrence Wang. While the Dream Achievers were performing a few more Christmas selections, volunteers from both organizations began a gift exchange, where each individual student received puzzles, books, and other holiday-themed presents.
Through the Christmas concert and Reading Club, FCSN Program Manager Yan-Luo Xiao hopes to spread the significance and joy in helping and interacting with the students. “The most touching part [for volunteers] is not just having fun, but finding out what it means to be loving and caring while spreading the skills that our kids need to enrich,” Xiao said. “What’s so precious is not only the events themselves, but also giving back to our community.”
Overall, the Reading Club and Christmas Concert were major collaborative projects that spread the importance and joy of helping children who are in need. “In the future, we hope to receive more opportunities to collaborate with FCSN. [We’ve had] a really enjoyable time working with the children,” Wang said.