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PVSA Winner: Ryan Liu

Bruce Lee once said,

“If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work, and into your life. There are no limits.”

Ryan Liu is a dedicated volunteer who embraces this concept in his goals and community service. Ryan is a determined sophomore student at Cedar Park High School in Austin, Texas as well as a member of the Austin Chinese-American Network. Over the past year, Ryan not only served his community in his local city, but he also reached beyond and worked across the world to serve communities beyond his limits.

Ryan’s first project, which took place in Austin, allowed him to directly serve his local community during the COVID-19 crisis. With the shortage of face shields for essential workers, Ryan assembled over 70 face shields using given parts. In order to ensure that the face shields he was producing were safe and good quality, he sanitized his hands and wiped each face shield after making them. After constructing the face shields, he packaged them in clean bags in order to prevent contamination, and “distributed them to doctors, teachers, store workers, and other essential workers.” Ryan’s service ensured that many workers and their family members would be allowed to continue helping others while being properly protected. 

In addition to volunteering near home, Ryan also worked to serve his international community. During his quarantine, he recognized that many students across the world were physically unable to go to school due to COVID-19 and therefore were struggling in their studies. In order to help these students, Ryan joined a volunteer group that aimed to help people in Wuhan, China learn the English language. During each weekly tutoring session, Ryan and the student he tutored “discussed a chapter of a book that [he] assigned the previous week.” They worked on not only comprehending passages, but also applying his English skills to the real world. In order to ensure that his student would be proficient in real experiences with English, Ryan ended every tutoring session with a casual conversation in English of his student’s choice. This way, Ryan was able to form a personal bond with his student which would gradually evolve into a genuine friendship. At the end of the 3 months of tutoring, his student’s English had drastically improved. When his student finally returned to school, Ryan reported that his student was more confident in his English conversational skills. While helping his student, Ryan realized that his volunteering would have a larger impact on more people than just his one student. He learned that “small meaningful actions can have a huge impact” because his student would be able to teach his friends and share the information that he learned. Ryan’s teaching of just one student could “eventually expand to a whole classroom and possibly even an entire school of students.”

Because of Ryan’s volunteering, Ryan was able to better understand his community from a local and international standpoint. His initial motivation for his service was his wanting to be able to learn about his community and help. Through his work for children in Wuhan and local essential workers, Ryan gained a deeper appreciation for Wuhan culture and the sacrifices of doctors, teachers, etc. His improved understanding directly contributed to his final project results because he could “adapt his work to better fit their needs.” He was also able to develop a passion for community service. In response to being asked how his community service related to his interests, Ryan responded, “If we all use the activities that we enjoy to do good, the world would be better in multiple ways.” By incorporating his passions into his work, Ryan was able to find a personal interest in his service.

Ryan plans to continue his journey in community service by continuing to find his passions and making an impact larger than himself. Ryan volunteered for a total of 50 hours and received the Bronze President’s Volunteer Service Award in the Teens category. Thank you for your hard work Ryan!

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