Creating a harmonious humanistic society requires the participation of every citizen, and the foundation for the requisite moral values begins in youth. Our schools and programs enhance moral development through character education, provide high-quality academic instruction, as well as offer aid to underprivileged students. In these ways, we help pave the way for their brighter future, and nurture their compassion for others.
PRESCHOOLS AND PRIMARY EDUCATION
The first Tzu Chi Great Love Preschool opened in Monrovia, California in 2006, another followed in Dallas, Texas in 2008, the third in Walnut, California in 2013, and the most recent one was founded in Houston, Texas in 2014. Our preschools provide a nurturing environment based on the principles of gratitude, respect, and love, within which high-quality academic instruction in both English and Mandarin Chinese takes place.
In 2010, our educational reach in Monrovia, CA, expanded, when a Tzu Chi Great Love Elementary School joined the preschool that opened four years earlier. We aim to continue expanding our primary education offerings across the USA in the years to come.
The building of character begins in childhood, that’s where the first stones of a foundation of values to last a lifetime are laid. And yet, character education is absent from most public school curriculums.
We have been partnering with schools in low-income communities across the U.S. since 2006, to provide a curriculum focused on fostering virtues such as respect and tolerance, responsibility and filial piety, gratitude and contentment, giving and compassion, courage and emotional control.
The number of public school students served by these programs is growing, from just 182 in 2013 to 1,253 by 2015.
Each and every child has a dream about who they want to be when they grow up. Yet for underprivileged children and youth, such dreams can become a fantasy without help from others, since their own families are struggling to provide for their basic needs.
For underprivileged children in elementary school, we know that every moment of attention or material aid provided can have a huge impact at their age, transforming sadness into hope in the future.
Our Happy Campus program provides after-school tutoring, weekend food backpacks, distributions of school supplies, and more. To date, students at 33 schools across 10 states have felt our love.
Tzu Chi USA also provides need-based scholarship awards to college-bound high school graduates and returning undergrads, favoring applicants with community-minded goals. Just in 2015, 359 students benefitted from such aid, our scholarships totaling $208,955.
SPIRITUAL SUPPORT FOR INMATES
Inmates are a population that can be easily neglected, yet they deserve spiritual support as much as every other human being. Our efforts on behalf of inmates in U.S. prisons began in 2013, when one of our volunteers had the idea of donating Jing Si Aphorisms and Tzu Chi USA Journals to prisons. Today, there is a profound and ongoing personal contact and exchange of written communication between Tzu Chi volunteers and inmates across America.