[2016-02-08] When Caring Creates Beauty--- in a Shin Shin Hubei Multifunctional Room
(by Chen Ling)

In the northwestern corner of Zhongxiang City of Hubei Province, there is a remote elementary school. Everyone who has visited the school cannot stop raving about it, about how birds sing and flowers bloom here, how children have all the learning and living facilities here, nothing less than kids get in city schools, and about how these village children live a happy life...

This is Dr. & Mrs. Li Ji Memorial Elementary School in Dingping. For over a decade, teachers and students of this school have received love and caring from Shin Shin Educational Foundation. What Shin Shin has provided includes new classrooms, new dorm rooms, steamers and thermal facilities in the kitchen, teacher training, and student academic activities and sports. Shin Shin has devoted everything and brought goods as well as warmth across the Pacific Ocean. Over the years, Shin Shin and the Chinese government have been coming here with a caring and loving heart, which has gradually built this beautiful village school.

To the teachers and students here, the most beautiful place on campus is an 80-something-square-meter room called Si-Yuan, which means “thinking about where your drinking water comes from.” What's really beautiful is two rows of desks and armchairs. Village children feel super blessed when just sitting in the green leather chairs and looking at the mirror-like desktops, even if they are doing nothing. Plus, to the left, to the right and in the back are pretty bookcases full of books. The window curtains, wallpaper and carpet also make people feel nice about being in a library. So, this place is like a magnet, attracting teachers and students who love to read. Isn't this a library? Yes, this is called Si-Yuan Shin Shin Library, donated by Shin Shin in 2015.

On Sept 23, 2015, Ms. Yang Yiqing of Shin Shin came all the way from the US to visit Dr. & Mrs. Li Ji Elementary School, to mingle with teachers and students here, and to put the library sign on the room door. Si-Yuan Room had been completed by then. The desks, chairs, and bookcases donated by Shin Shin had arrived, too. It only took a little time to put all the books worth a total of 20,000 RMB into the bookcases. To satisfy everyone's wish for sitting in Si-Yuan Room to read, all the teachers and students organized all the books of the school and placed the best ones on the shelves in Si-Yuan Room. Besides, hundreds of books donated by the city's Education Department were moved to Si-Yuan Room as well. In addition, teachers and students brought their own books and shared them in Si-Yuan Room. This was how Si-Yuan Room was officially put to use.

Before this, the school created a library system for the room, and assigned a teacher to be a part-time librarian. This teacher had been trained to be a librarian by the city's Education Department. Meanwhile, every class selected a student assistant to help the librarian, who trained them to work efficiently. Then a Shin Shin Reading Month came. It brought three contests, which were story telling, speech, and poetry reading. All these contests gave winners prizes from Shin Shin. Si-Yuan Room was where students prepared themselves for the Shin Shin Reading Month activities. It was open during recess and after school hours.

Si-Yuan Room was full on its first day. Many students touched this book and then that book, seeming to want to read them all. The librarian and student assistants helped these students pick books right for their grade level. Then all the students went to assigned spots to read. That kept the room in order despite the crowd.

To ensure every student will have a chance to come to Si-Yuan, the librarian scheduled Monday through Thursday time slots for classes to take turns coming, while keeping the room open to everyone during recess and lunch hour. Everyone is happy about this arrangement and the extracurricular readings. Books donated by Shin Shin always come on schedule. Teachers and students are more and more passionate about reading. There is always a line in Si-Yuan room to check out books. Teachers and students often talk about the books they borrowed from Si-Yuan during lunch or walking.

In fall 2015, the city's Education Department gave the school a touch-screen white board. All the teachers and students decided to place it in the most beautiful place of the school, Si-Yuan Room. Consequently, teachers got busy familiarizing themselves with the electronic white board, which made the room the first choice for school events such as forums and meetings.

During recess, teachers and students can swim in the seas of books and savor the flavors of extracurricular readings here. In class, students can absorb knowledge with multimedia facilities here. Si-Yuan is the most beautiful mulch-functional room of the school, thanks to caring support from Shin Shin and the local government.