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Grateful parents seek to pay CTY's gifts forward

Through philanthropy and fundraising, members of the Center for Talented Youth's East Asia Advisory Group enable 31 low-income students to attend Hong Kong programs
Posted February 8, 2017
  • More than 30 low-income students attended CTY's Hong Kong summer programs in 2016 with support from the East Asia Advisory Group.

  • Students enrolled in CTY Hong Kong's program for 7th to 10th graders enjoy course options that range from advanced writing, to microeconomics, to engineering design.

  • "One can imagine the feeling of their eyes opening, the wonderful interaction these students have with teachers who teach in a very different style from that which they're used to," says CTY East Asia Advisory Group member Ivy Chiang.

  • "I hope that CTY will be a main reason driving these children to have successful careers and become meaningful contributors to society," says CTY East Asia Advisory Group member Gabriel Fong.

When Gabriel Fong saw the tremendous impact that Center for Talented Youth programs had on his children, he felt compelled to make those opportunities available to other young people, especially those who might not be able to afford it. He found a dozen like-minded parents as part of CTY's East Asia Advisory Group, based in his home city of Hong Kong. In 2016 alone, the group collectively raised nearly $150,000 in scholarship funds to send low-income students to CTY programs in Hong Kong.

"Allowing underprivileged children to receive quality education has always been close to my heart," says Fong, who adds that he benefitted from a full scholarship to attend Cambridge University in the United Kingdom. "CTY offers some of the highest quality programs available and also is proactive in spreading these opportunities to underprivileged children."

Since its start in 2010, the East Asia Advisory Group has been essential to establishing CTY's strong foothold on the continent, particularly in Hong Kong. Parents serving on the board have helped CTY find office space from which to base its regional operations and select sites for its summer programs. Group members also raise awareness of CTY in local schools, helping teachers and staff identify gifted students who may not be aware of CTY programs — or, if they do know, may not consider enrolling because of the cost.

Finally, the group focuses on raising funds among themselves and others to help those students take advantage of the opportunities CTY offers. The money they raised in 2016 enabled 31 students in grades 7 through 10 to attend summer programs in Hong Kong; nearly 15 percent of those grade levels' total enrollment.

"We meet with some of these students twice a year, and it has been extremely satisfying to hear how transformative the CTY experience has been for them," says Ivy Chiang, a CTY parent and East Asia Advisory Group member since 2012. "One can imagine the feeling of their eyes opening, the wonderful interaction they have with teachers who teach in a very different style from that which they're used to, and the invaluable engagement with talented students from other parts of the world."

For Chiang, Fong, and other East Asia Advisory Group members, supporting those less fortunate in their communities isn't limited to CTY; they serve as leaders for numerous charitable and nonprofit organizations, in keeping with Hong Kong's cultural focus on helping others. Fong says he sees CTY as a key means for ensuring that service-oriented ethos passes on to the next generation.

"I hope that CTY will be a main reason driving these children to have successful careers and become meaningful contributors to our society," he says.

To learn more about how you can make CTY programs possible for students in Hong Kong and around the world, please contact Margaret Walsh, senior director of development.