Honorees of the 21st Prudential Spirit of Community Awards Are Announced Zhe-Wei Xu from Hsinchu County American School founded a micro-social enterprise to support indigenous tribes in Wufeng District with diverse resources; Ping-En Huang of Taipei First Girls High School designed patented cigarette case and raised environmental awareness through advocacy action “no-cigarette oasis”

TAIPEI— The 21st Prudential Spirit of Community Awards (SOC) ceremony took place today (March 14) at Sheraton Grand Taipei Hotel. Thirty outstanding volunteers were selected out of over 3,000 applicants nationwide to share their mission at the award ceremony, bringing warm energy into the post-COVID era. Distinguished guests, including Director Hsuch-Yu Chen of Youth Development Administration, Ministry of Education, and Director Chin-Ching Yang of Social Assistance and Social Work, Ministry of Health and Welfare, attended the ceremony to congratulate honorees including three school clubs of Best Volunteer Student Association Awards, and 14 schools of Excellence in Education Awards. ”Ambassador Honoree”, the highest honor of SOC, are revealed in the award ceremony. They are Zhe-Wei Xu from Hsinchu American School and Ping-En Huang from Taipei First Girls High School in Taipei. Both devoted to service activities with innovative ideas, advocated local revitalization and environmental issues with thinking that is beyond their age and experience. They have demonstrated impact of the youth and will continue to offer more possibilities for Taiwan.

Zhe-Wei Xu, currently a student at Hsinchu County American School, was born prematurely. He received much care and support from the medical personnel and volunteers during his childhood. He turned his gratitude into momentum for service and called upon a group of volunteers who joined him in planning a series of local revitalization actions for indigenous tribes in remote areas. Zhe-Wei also established a hand cream brand called Rangi (meaning “friend” in Atayal language) and used indigenous crops of Wufeng District, Hsinchu County including Tetrapanax papyrifer, millet and mountain pepper as part of the ingredients. This not only helped create jobs locally and develop local economy, but also proceeds from the sale is used to support education of children in the tribes. He also helped choir of the Taoshan Elementary School to upload their music albums to streaming platforms, as a way to share the beautiful music and revitalize the tribal culture and industry. 

Ping-En Huang, currently a student at Taipei First Girls High School, began her voluntary work as a child due to impacts from her family. She cares about life of the homeless and poverty issues, and planned for a guided tour called “Taipei from high school student’s perspective” that connects life experience with historic buildings and culture in the surroundings of her school. It is designed to encourage her peers to reflect upon themselves and gain confidence during the process of exploring the local culture outside the framework of a classroom. Ping-En and her classmates created Girls in the Oasis, a team that designed a patented “2-in-1 environment-friendly cigarette case” that can hold cigarette butts. They also started a “no-cigarette oasis” campaign that mobilized nearly 300 high school students to clear the streets of cigarette butts. Through the actions and advocacy, they attempted to arouse people’s awareness of the damage that butts do to the soil and ocean.

The 8 honorees of National Honorees also developed innovative ideas and took actions to show care for the society. Yao-Zhong Wu of Sanyi Senior High School makes nutritious soups for elderlies who live alone, bringing warmth both to their heart and stomach; Hui-Xin Ke of Taipei Fuhsing Private School designed assistive devices to help the elderlies enjoy barrier-free life; Quan-You Huang of National PingTung Industrial Vocational High School helped fill up holes and pave the roads of the Pingtung area; Li-Kai Xiao of Mingdao High School helped children with Kanner's Syndrome to interact with people, and provided after-school tutoring to tribal children; Jun-Ning Luo of Taipei First Girls High School joined Global Leadership Organization and advocated for gender equality through self-media; Yu-Han Li of the Affiliated Senior High School of National Taiwan Normal University focuses on social issues and designed educational tool sets for remote areas; Cheng-Yang Huang Luo of National Hualien Senior High School overcame adversity in childhood and organized multi-school camps to support the underprivileged; homeschooled Sheng-Ting Chen helped children in the communities develop foreign language proficiency and international perspective with his talent in languages and art.

According to Prudential Youth Foundation (PYF), the youth’s participation in voluntary activities not only demonstrates the power and value of benevolence, but also helps them develop capacity for the future. During COVID-19, it’s a pleasure to see the youth showing more care to their surroundings, such as promotion of infection-prevention measures in creative ways, raising health awareness among residents in communities and remote areas, and enhancing education for underprivileged children through digital tools. They respond to the sustainable development goals (SDGs) of the United Nations with a diversity of action plans, targeting quality education, good health and well-being, and partnerships. As we continue to join forces with other countries, we also localize the SDGs, infusing Taiwan with more hope and warmth.