Led by Nathan L. ’23, Oscar W. ’22, and Eric T. ’24, Kent’s US-Sino Youth Leadership Initiative has acted upon its mission to “encourage volunteerism and leadership in our communities and beyond” by fundraising, building, and donating 100 bicycles to children of National Guard Officers stationed in Louisiana. Composed of students from across the world, the group’s vision is love has no borders.
“We have been inspired by the Flying Tigers, who, during WWII, forged a deep connection between China and the United States,” says Nathan. “Led by Louisiana General Claire Lee Chennault, this group of courageous American pilots volunteered to join the fight against the Japanese army, risking their lives to help China when it most needed foreign aid.”
Additionally, the group has taken cues from Kent School alumnus and former Secretary of State, Cyrus Roberts Vance Sr., who advocated for a peaceful and productive relationship between China and the U.S.
“These stories have pushed us to give back to our community,” Nathan continues. “In admiration for General Chennault's heroism, we have initiated the Love Without Borders Program by helping underserved children in Monroe, Louisiana.” The group raised funds and ultimately decided to donate bikes. “As Anna Chennault’s (wife of General Chennault) favorite transportation tool, bikes are symbolic of friendship between China and the U.S.” says Nathan. “By assembling the bikes with our own hands, we saved a significant amount of money – which nearly doubled our donation numbers.” The group assembled 100 bikes across two days.
This effort has drawn the attention and support of the mayors of Monroe (Friday Ellis), LA, and Bossier City (Thomas Chandler), LA, in addition to the Louisiana National Guard and Nell Calloway, the CEO of Chennault Aviation Museum who in fact is the granddaughter of General Chennault. Head of School Michael Hirschfeld virtually joined the conversation with Mayor Ellis hosted at Monroe City Hall. “Servant leadership is what it’s all about,” agreed Mr. Hirschfeld and Mayor Ellis.
“The group’s growth has been steady,” says Nathan. “The program has grown from an idea to a three-member team and now to a large group of 13 students from three different countries and four different states in the U.S.” For next year’s program, they aim to continue their relationships in Louisiana, with the local Chambers of Commerce involved in a supporting role. “I express my sincere gratitude to all students for their kindness, perseverance, and determination to make the world a better place for all,” says Nathan. “It is through them, the younger generation of both the U.S. and China, that I can foresee a bright future ahead for both countries.”
For additional photos, visit https://kentschoolphotos.smugmug.com/NL-Leadership/n-bKSctC/
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