08/18/2011 10:54 am ET | Updated Oct 18, 2011

A Letter to Mr. Biden -- Promoting Service-Learning in China

Dear Mr. Biden:

I'm writing to you because I read about your trip to China and Japan, and I hope that you will be able to encourage the schools there to get involved in service-learning. My parents were born and raised in China, and came to the U.S. for their educations. My siblings and I have visited China many times. Through our own eyes and their stories, we've realized that the main focus in China is on academics. Because we've grown up here, we've learned to appreciate the larger focus there is here on creativity and service. As first generation Asian-Americans, we're the living proof of the successful combination of Chinese and American learning approaches. We hope that more students in China can receive the same benefit.

Through service-learning, my younger sister Sharon (high school freshman), little brother Eric (5th grader), and I (high school junior) founded a nonprofit organization, We Care Act (Manvel, Texas) to inspire and engage youth around the world to be involved in community services and to help young disaster victims to recover. We have firsthand experience on the amazing impact of service-learning on our lives and hope to provide the opportunities to other students in the United States and worldwide.

My siblings and I started our disaster relief effort with making newsletters and collecting donations in schools and our neighborhood and personally delivered funds to the earthquake victims in Sichuan, China in 2008. Since then, we have worked with students and teachers from over 80 schools from 15 countries. Besides sending funds and books to provide scholarships and workshop to students (earthquake victims) in Sichuan, China, we also help hurricane Ike victims in Galveston, Texas, earthquake victims in Qinghai, China, Haiti, Japan and poverty children in Hunan, China.

During your visit to Chengdu, Sichuan, if you have a chance to visit Dujiangyan, we suggest you interact with the teachers and students at the Dujiangyan Qingcheng Mountain High School. They're truly amazing. We've been in touch with them for two years now, and although they were still recovering from their own earthquake, they showed such enthusiasm for participating in service and for helping others who have been affected by disasters . As their English teacher, Ms. Li Linxiao, put it during our second visit to this school in the summer of 2010, the students were very grateful for the help they received after the Sichuan earthquake, and are now paying it forward by helping others as well. They've raised money for the Haiti and Qinghai, China earthquake victims, and are currently writing letters to boost morale and show support for the children in Japan after its tsunami and earthquake.

Thank you for your time, and I hope you enjoy your trip.


Grace Li