Tzu Chi University’s Volunteer Teams Honored with Commendation Award from the Ministry of Education

On March 5, 2023, the Ministry of Education’s Youth Development Administration presented the Outstanding Youth Volunteer Teams and Sponsoring Units of Volunteer Teams awards. This year, the competition involved 54 teams with over 1,000 participants and 5 sponsoring units. Of the 29 teams that reached the final round, Tzu Chi University’s “Pajiq” and “Say No to Drug” volunteer teams were honored with the Commendation Award for their long-standing dedication to local initiatives in Hualien.

The theme for this year’s Youth Volunteer Team Competition, organized by the Youth Development Administration, was “Youth Volunteer Action: GO ACTION!” The goal was to showcase the positive societal impact of student-led initiatives.

The Pajiq team, comprising 20 students from Tzu Chi University’s Department of Child Development and Family Studies, has been serving at Shuiyuan Elementary School in Xiulin Township since 2018. “Pajiq,” meaning “hometown of the rainbow” in the Taroko language, was the Shuiyuan tribal village’s original name. The team applies its expertise in family education to support children in remote areas and rebuild family functions. They promote family education, offering tribal parent-child classes for families to learn, play, and grow together. Besides Shuiyuan Elementary School, the team also serves at trial weekend schools, sponsors winter camps during winter breaks, and extends its services to schools in Wanrong Township, Changbin Township in Taitung County.

The “Say No to Drug” volunteer team, established in 2011, consists of students from various departments, including Child Development and Family Studies, Public Health, Communication Studies, Social Work, and Oriental Languages and Literature. Over the past twelve years, the team has worked in local, remote, and tribal primary and secondary schools in Hualien County, aiming to empower young people to adopt preventive measures through education. They use engaging methods such as board games and videos to conduct drug prevention education, guiding students to discuss drug dangers and develop their ability to recognize drugs.

In partnership with the Hualien County Government Education Bureau, they have also organized education and training sessions for anti-drug abuse seed teachers. To date, seventy-seven volunteers from Tzu Chi University have obtained anti-drug abuse seed teacher certification, striving to address the shortage of anti-drug abuse teachers in Hualien County’s primary and secondary schools and serve as long-term resources for local drug prevention education.

Tzu Chi University, founded on the principles of humanistic culture and altruism, has seen its volunteer teams consistently recognized by the public and the Ministry of Education’s Youth Development Administration. The University encourages students to engage in volunteer services and develop a volunteer spirit during their time at school, so they can apply their professional skills, knowledge, and volunteer spirit to serve those in need.