Tzu Chi USA Relief Efforts

By Sophie X. Song, Ida Eva Zielinska

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Education and Celebration of Student Success

Students serve tea to their parents to express their gratitude at a ceremony on May 14, celebrating the successful conclusion of the academic year at Tzu Chi Academy in Miami, Florida, and sending off the 2022 graduating class. Photo/Chai-Hwa Chen

Students perform a Tang poetry recitation during the 2022 graduation ceremony at Tzu Chi Academy in Atlanta, Georgia, on May 15. Photo/Boying Zhong

The students’ humorous performance of “Journey to the West – Flaming Mountain” delights the audience during the 2022 graduation celebration at Tzu Chi Academy in Cupertino, California, on May 21. Photo/Cupertino Tzu Chi Academy

The COVID-19 pandemic kept everyone home for two years, but in 2022, the Tzu Chi Collegiate Association in New York can hold an in-person graduation ceremony on May 22. They celebrate the beginning of a new chapter in the graduates’ lives, as having inherited the Tzu Chi spirit, they will go on to plant the seeds of kindness elsewhere. Photo/Pinhau Chu

Tzu Chi Elementary School in Walnut, California, holds the closing ceremony for the academic year on May 27, with around 140 parents and more than 40 Tzu Chi volunteers and teachers participating in the event along with the students. Photo/Tzu Chi Elementary School

New Jersey Tzu Chi Academy’s 10th graduation ceremony on June 5 is a simple and solemn event, with graduates receiving warm blessings from their teachers, Tzu Chi volunteers, and other students in the school’s auditorium. Photo/New Jersey Tzu Chi Academy

Interfaith Collaboration

Concurrently to the Ninth Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, California, FIDELA (Foro Interreligioso de las Américas) holds its Second Interreligious Forum of the Americas from June 7 to 8. Debra Boudreaux, the CEO of Tzu Chi USA, is invited as one of the keynote speakers. Photo/Jennifer Chien

Tzu Chi USA Chief Executive Officer Debra Boudreaux (second right), one of the keynote speakers, listens to the speeches of others representing different religious groups at the Second Interreligious Forum of the Americas in June. Photo/Jennifer Chien

Timely Disaster Relief

On May 20, a tornado hit Gaylord, Michigan, bearing wind speeds up to 241 mph, killing two people and injuring more than 40. On June 18, volunteers from the Chicago and the Detroit service centers of Tzu Chi USA’s Midwest Region, distribute $1,000 cash cards, eco-blankets, masks, and other emergency relief supplies to those affected by the disaster. Photo/Yue Ma

The Oak Fire that ignited in Mariposa County, California, on July 22 destroyed over 100 homes. At the request of the County, Tzu Chi first set up a booth in the Local Assistance Center to help impacted families register for assistance. Then on August 14, Tzu Chi USA Northwest Region volunteers from Modesto and Fresno begin to provide disaster relief, with a second distribution on August 20. Photo/Kelly Liu

Heavy rain at the end of July led to widespread and catastrophic flooding in eastern Kentucky. Tzu Chi USA Midwest Region volunteers from Chicago travel to the flooding areas to assess damages and formulate a relief plan that leads to disaster aid distributions on September 3 and 4. Photo/Tzu Chi USA Midwest Region

Beginning on July 26 and lasting two days, several rounds of thunderstorms caused flash flooding in the St. Louis metropolitan area in Missouri. Tzu Chi USA Midwest Region volunteers provide disaster aid to 80 impacted families on August 27, bringing immediate relief to 260 individuals. Photo/Yue Ma

The McKinney Fire ignited in the Klamath National Forest in Siskiyou County, California, on July 29 and grew explosively, burning over 60,000 acres and causing four fatalities. On August 29, a team of Tzu Chi USA Northwest Region volunteers distribute $21,000 in disaster aid, benefiting 57 survivors. Curtis Sexton, who is in charge of the water tower and was the last person to escape, shared shocking photos of the blaze with the volunteers. Photos/C.M. Yung

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