A dedicated volunteer from Manchester who runs a weekend Chinese school helping thousands of young people stay connected with their culture is the winner of a new award, Prime Minister David Cameron has announced.
Jenny Wong has helped at the Chinese Supplementary School since 1976 and has volunteered thousands of hours of her time to teach, coordinate and run school trips to enrich the lives of the Chinese community. The school, which runs for two hours every Saturday and is located in Ardwick Green, has grown from humble beginnings to now attracting 263 current students and 27 volunteer teachers. Jenny also played a key role in the growth of the school and the relocation to a larger space in 2006 to enable more children to learn language, history and the culture of China.
Jenny is the latest recipient of a Point of Light award, which recognises outstanding individual volunteers, people who are making a change in their community and inspiring others. Each day, someone, somewhere in the country is selected to receive the award to celebrate their remarkable achievements.
The Chinese Supplementary School is part of the Manchester Chinese Centre, a charity that assists local Chinese people to develop their skills and enhance health and social wellbeing. People who attend the school often say they feel more confident and inspired to participate more fully in society. As well as volunteering at the school, Jenny has also been involved in many other activities, including setting up mentoring schemes, helping with Chinese New Year celebrations and reaching out to the local community to promote understanding and awareness of Chinese culture in the northwest.
Jenny is also a key volunteer at the Manchester Chinese Archive project which aims to tell the story of the Chinese community in Greater Manchester. Starting from just 4 postcards, Jenny has worked with other volunteers and the Manchester City Archive to gather 55 oral history interviews, films of community events, and examples of magazines, newspapers and art. The archive is now a permanent reminder of the value of the Chinese community in the northwest.
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
“The UK Chinese diaspora contributes hugely more than its numbers might suggest, across business, the arts and culture. Chinese people in Britain are some of the most hardworking, some of the most law abiding, some of the most solid citizens of our country.
“Jenny is no exception. Her dedication to young people in Manchester is fantastic to see. Thanks to her commitment to Chinese education, they are able to learn about their heritage as well as celebrate living in here in the UK. I am pleased to name Jenny the UK’s 137th Point of Light.”
Jenny is the 137th winner of the new Points of Light award which has been developed in partnership with the hugely successful Points of Light programme in the USA and was first established by President George H. W. Bush. Over 5,000 US Points of Light have been awarded and both President George H. W. Bush and President Barack Obama have publicly supported the partnership with Points of Light UK which honours shining examples of volunteering across the country. Today in America a member of the Chinese community will also be honoured as part of the 2014 US Points of Light Tribute Awards hosted this evening at The Chinese Embassy in Washington by the Chinese Ambassador. Jenteng Hung is the 5332nd US Point of Light. He works with the North Texas Youth Honors Society to lead community service projects for high school youth volunteers. More than 200 students are involved in his work which ranges from tutoring to clean-up projects. He is an engineer by trade and is also involved in an association for Chinese engineers as well as the Dallas Chinese Community Center.
Regardless of whether it’s a doctor restoring local monuments in her free time, a father teaching young people life skills, or a local musician giving a voice to lonely people, the Point of Light award honours shining examples of volunteering across the UK.
“I’m so surprised and honoured to receive a Point of Light award from the Prime Minister. I am passionate about enabling the Chinese community in Manchester to reach out to others in the local area and the Chinese Supplementary School has helped children from all backgrounds to appreciate and learn about Chinese culture.”
Attendee at the centre Rosie Cedney said:
“The Manchester Chinese Centre is an inspiring place, always providing a variety of programs. It is warm and welcoming, busy and bright. I have seen many aspects of Chinese culture there, from language to dance and Tai Chi. I hope the centre has a long and successful future!”