TAF Real World – Week #16 of 51


I can’t believe we’re on week #16- does that mean it’s been four months since TAF? YIKES.
I guess that means we are all pretty much back into the swing of our “regular” lives. I’m happy to say that my “regular” (well… as regular as it gets) life includes a good chunk of TAF. TAF Chicago has provided us TAFers with a way to meet on a monthly basis and keep all the love alive. This past month, we hosted a Taffoween extravaganza, complete with costumes and pumpkin carving. Seriously, who wouldn’t want to celebrate Halloween with other TAFers?

I’ve gotta say, I’m loving the new TAF Chicago format where we have small groups so we can chat about speaker sessions and plot to sabotage the other groups. Shout-out to CTA (Creepy TAFers Anonymous) – we’re gearing up for a fun volunteer activity next month, ringing the Salvation Army bell and singing holiday carols loudly and obnoxiously.

I’d also like to take the time to share with you guys how I LOL during my time away from TAF. I work at a student-run nonprofit organization called Supplies for Dreams (www.suppliesfordreams.org). I’ve always been really interested in helping to fix the inequality in our country’s public education system. I grew up in a nice suburb of Chicago with a great public school. I was so surprised to find out that only 10 miles away there are kids who go to public schools that haven’t purchased new textbooks in 10 years or don’t have enough money to sponsor after-school sports or tutoring programs. This is a huge problem for our country and I think it’s all of our responsibility to do something about it.

If you want to hear more about the education crisis, check out the new documentary “Waiting for Superman,” which got a lot of publicity this fall. It even got an animated news clip in the Taiwanese news!

Supplies for Dreams was founded by two high school students in Chicago suburbs, just like me, who were glad to get a great public education but knew that others are not so fortunate. They are now students at Northwestern with me, and we are doing our best to make an impact by donating school supplies and providing mentoring services for Chicago Public School students who are in need.

Here are some reasons I think Supplies for Dreams is a great inspiration to all of us:

1) It was created by two high school students- they were 17 and 18 years old at the time!
2) Three years after it was created, we are serving over 1000 students and we donated 1000 backpacks to students just this past year.
3) Because it is a small operation, we are able to connect our donors directly to the kids and make everyone feel better about the whole operation. We can also keep track of the kids to make sure they are getting the most benefit from our supplies and mentors.
4) It’s a lot of fun. Of course. I made them all play “bunny bunny” on orientation day.

Anyway, I just wanted to share this with you guys because I don’t want you to feel like you have to wait until you’re old and rich to make a difference. We all have a lot of skills and resources that we can use to help others, and it can all start with the smallest gesture – like donating a pencil or notebook!

Check out this video to find out how.

Or if you can’t see that link, check out the video on Youtube!

Don’t forget that when you LOL, it brings us all a little closer to TAF’s vision statement:
“For people of Taiwanese heritage to make a profound impact on mankind in unique and compassionate ways.”


We would love to hear about how loving out loud is making a difference in your life. Only 35 weeks until TAF 2011! There are still 12 slots with no volunteers. Don’t break the chain! Sign up HERE, encourage your friends to sign up, or sign up together!

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