During 2020, our community was faced with many challenges as a whole, including mental health declines, economic divides, and of course, the COVID-19 crisis. Due to these issues, many members of the Austin Chinese-American Network worked diligently to aid our community during these issues.
Meet Aidan Ye, an ambitious and passionate sophomore student at Westlake High School in Austin, Texas. Aidan is a devoted member of the Austin Chinese-American Network who founded and organized multiple projects to help his community during this crucial time of need.
Aidan’s first volunteering experience started at a place named “Sunshine Soccer”, this allowed him to give back to his community while pursuing his passions at the same time. Founded by physical therapists, Sunshine Soccer is a monthly meeting where volunteers who share a love for soccer can teach kids with disabilities how to play soccer. The volunteers “run with the kids, pass them the ball, etc.” By volunteering with Sunshine Soccer, Aidan was not only able to provide a safe environment for the kids to enjoy themselves but also form a bond with the kids that they would cherish deeply. Aidan admits that the most rewarding part of volunteering in this program was “getting to hear the kids laugh — it was really fun and satisfying.”
Not only did Aidan volunteer in the Sunshine Soccer program as a way to give back to his community, but he also was a top coordinator in face shield making. With the COVID-19 crisis, Austin school teachers and staff were in desperate need of safe protection that would allow them to safely return back to school. Aidan, recognizing this need, coordinated the production of face shields on the south side of Austin. He “sent, packaged, and delivered materials to volunteers ensured the quality of the face masks, and delivered them to schools.” Aidan successfully organized the production of almost 1,700 face shields to major Austin high schools, such as Westlake High School and Anderson High School. Through this project, Aidan found that he felt a need to “balance out the economic divide” and promote social justice and equality.
Aidan’s motivation for his community service stemmed from none other than his mom. From a young age, he watched as his mom, a speech therapist, helped kids express themselves and communicate with others. Aidan, wanting to help others just like his mom, developed an eagerness for giving back to his community. He claims that volunteering gave him a deeper sense of what underlying issues exist in our community. Aidan’s greatest challenge during his projects was getting his volunteers to understand these issues and to truly care, but once he was able to instill a sense of purpose in his volunteers, all of his efforts became worthwhile. Aidan emphasized that,
“The main point of community service is not the volunteering itself, but rather the outcome from the volunteering.”
When asked whether he planned to continue his journey of community service, Aidan replied, “Without a doubt. Once you get started, it’s hard to stop because it becomes a part of you; you see something that needs to be changed, and you instantly feel the need to do something about it.” He is currently leading the “Outdoor Game Time” project to give kids free playing time in the field, after being kept at home for so long.
Aidan was awarded the Silver President’s Service Volunteer Award. Thank you for your hard work Aidan!