Creating a Happier Campus: How Tzu Chi Helps Students From Low-Income Families Flourish

Northwest , National Headquarters  |  December 2, 2019

Tzu Chi’s Happy Campus Program was first launched in 2006 in the neighborhood of Bayview-Hunters Point, California. Its goal: to ensure the needs of students from low-income families are met with care, and provide students with the love, inspiration, and daily necessities needed to thrive. The essence of Tzu Chi’s educational mission is indeed inseparable from great love, bringing compassion and kindness into the classroom with each lesson. This is because we believe having compassion for one another is as crucial to nurture in life as any academic teaching. 

Tzu Chi volunteers, therefore, partner with school districts to focus on attendance incentive programs, scholastic skill tutoring, and offer academic supplies to students, as well as further assistance for underprivileged families, which includes furnishing homes. Our Happy Campus Program is now active in 33 schools across 10 states, including Ravenswood City School District and the San Francisco Unified School Districts. 

Let’s take a closer look at the schools we’ve aided together. 

Teaching the Tea Ceremony

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Think good thoughts, do good things, and speak good words,” are just a few of the core teachings that Tzu Chi volunteers bring to the table when visiting schools. One such way we do this is by holding Tea Ceremonies, which invite a sense of respect and gratitude into the hearts of youngsters in meaningful yet engaging ways. Infusing gratitude, respect, and love, into each unique lesson plan we craft for the children, volunteers guide students to cultivate positive character development while promoting thoughtful and courteous interactions among peers and teachers alike. 

Bringing Joy to School

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Rain or shine, Tzu Chi volunteers put their whole heart into their lessons. Each Friday, more than ten volunteers to take part in the Happy Campus Program. For our volunteers, the word “volunteer” itself evokes a sense of happiness, of family. Watch on to learn how Tzu Chi’s Happy Campus Program brings love and support to elementary school students across the USA.

Protecting Children’s Teeth

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Teaching important life skills — like the proper way to brush one’s teeth — is crucial, and it’s a lesson Tzu Chi New York has brought to P.S. 201’s young students for quite a few years now. Showing kids how to brush their teeth properly can protect them from future dental problems, like experiencing a cavity, for example. With that in mind, Tzu Chi has partnered with the Queens County Dental Society to offer free dental screenings and oral care instructions to hundreds of underserved elementary school students.

Magic Smiles

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Why is it important to be happy? What are some things that make you happy? For many, these are questions that can be answered with relative ease, memories of joyful moments shared with loved ones readily surfacing in one’s mind. Unfortunately, however, for many youngsters, their home lives are not so stable, and it’s in the classroom that they find relief. Witness how a collaborative art project has helped tap into that positivity for kids at Malcolm X Elementary School in San Francisco. 

Teaching With Tiger Paws

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Improving attendance is one of our key goals in schools like Belle Haven. From behavior to attendance, our Tiger Paw store gives children the incentive to apply themselves in a fun and meaningful way, and focus on their studies as well as increase participation. 

Children are our future, but for many disadvantaged families, providing for all their needs can be an uphill struggle. Tzu Chi volunteers are committed to helping schoolchildren thrive, and our Happy Campus Program makes strides to provide that much-needed support. Through our educational missions, we instill a sense of hope within the hearts of students and families from underserved and underrepresented communities. Working together earnestly at every level with educators, Tzu Chi is promoting a brighter future for children framed by equality, compassion, respect, and the utmost sincerity. 

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