What a whirlwind year it has been for Xiersen! From the annual AGame project, to new activities and collaborations, Xiersen has grown and developed in numerous ways.

Strategic Partnerships

K2VC

In April 2017, venture capital firm K2VC and Xiersen joined a strategic partnership to help support the NGO and to help its projects grow.

Gap Foundation

After organizing Gap’s major teambuilding event for their 400 Shanghai employees in October last year, Xiersen was nominated by Gap’s senior management and successfully approved as Gap Foundation’s NGO partner. Xiersen will receive direct grant funding and funds to match hours employees volunteer for the NGO in 2018.

Active Kidz Shanghai (AKS)

Active Kidz Shanghai and Xiersen entered into a strategic partnership, with events and collaborations planned for 2018.

Xiersen-Led Projects

Careers in Care

The project will produce a special education online curriculum, which aims to increase awareness and provide fundamental skills for classroom assistants, teachers and parents in China. It will help people who have little or no prior knowledge or background to

become good special education supporters for teachers or more capable parents of children with special needs. The project hopes to educate hundreds of thousands of workers across China in 5 years. If the trainees use the knowledge acquired over a 20-year career span, they will impact roughly 6 million children[1].

In 2017, the Careers in Care work group reached numerous major first milestones. After refining the project mission, vision and scope the first part of the year, they aligned key partners and identified funding to increase support staff and locked in their key volunteers. Further, they surveyed teachers at special education schools and rehabilitation centers in China, gathering data and making a needs assessment. They also aligned Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) and field specialists to assist in content development, while compiling local and international research.

Penny Pan, Assistant General Manager, is leading the Careers in Care project, with help from Brett Payton, Project Development Advisor; Zhang Yan, CIC Curriculum Coordinator and Product Manager; and Michelle Wong, Research Assistant.

AGame is a series of Xiersen and community-led events to help raise awareness about special education in China. Its focus in 2016-2017 was for autism spectrum disorder awareness.

Xiersen’s annual AGame project enjoyed a second successful year in 2017. Sporting the distinctive blue and yellow AWare sleeves donated by Gap, student coordinators from local universities and high schools helped to support and manage the project.

2017’s AGame project was involved in a number of events:

  • Rotaract’s Run in Blue event on May 5 saw 700 runners raised funds to support parent and teacher training for Xiersen’s CIC project.
  • ICONX involved Xiersen in its first ICONX Kids Sports Festival on May 17 and 18.
  • A visit to Songjiang Special Education School supported with activities that included painting and singing, led by our AGame student coordinator Edward Cheng and students from Nanyang Model Private High School.
  • Several awareness talks were held, including for employees at naked Hub and parents at Wellington College International School Shanghai.

The focus of 2018’s AGame project will be on raising awareness about special education careers. These roles are critical for the further development of special education in China, and activities will highlight the need for more professionals in the special education field.

Outreach

  • Xiersen coordinated the US Consulate Day of Service on Sept 11, 2017 at a Pudong Special Education School event with 15 staff teaching English.
  • Xiersen was invited to take part in events at a number of schools in Shanghai. Britannica International School Shanghai’s Pumpkin Palooza and Wellington College International Shanghai’s Christmas Bazaar contributed funds to Careers in Care.

Parent and Teacher Trainings

Xiersen helped to coordinate two major parent and teacher trainings in 2017:

  • On May 12, guest speaker Dr. Judith Owens, Harvard professor and Director of Sleep Medicine at the Boston Children’s Hospital Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders, was invited to deliver a stimulating seminar at the Pudong Special Education School on “Managing Behavioral Insomnia in Children with Special Needs.” She was assisted by her former student, Dr. Guanghai Wang, ELG’s Sleep Specialist and Clinical Psychologist.
  • On June 3 and 4, Tobii Dynavox, provider of speech-generation devices and special education products, presented a training on “How to Support Communication and Language Learning: Overview of Low-Tech AAC and High-Tech AAC” at the Pudong Special Education School.

People

Xiersen’s Advisory Board

Formed on February 27, 2017, Xiersen’s Advisory Board is comprised of 9 experts with professional experience in special education, pediatric mental health, curriculum development, eLearning, IT, human resources and training, and social organizations and business. They provide counsel, enable sustainable growth and impose challenges to improve projects.

Xiersen’s New Assistant General Manager

Having first joined Xiersen as Project Coordinator in September 2017, Penny Pan was promoted to Assistant General Manager in January 2018. [link to bio]

Volunteers

Xiersen would like to thank the 140+ volunteers involved in supporting Xiersen last year. Their generous support over the course of 2017 is key to the breadth of the NGO’s reach and continued success!

Stay tuned for more events and activities with Xiersen coming up in 2018. If your school or company would like more information about how to get involved as a sponsor, please contact Nikki at nikki@xiersen.org.

[1] Gaylord, V., Wallace, T., Pickett, A. L., & Likins, M. (2002). Impact: Feature Issue on Paraeducators Supporting Students with Disabilities and At. Risk, 15(2).

Autism Spectrum Condition in mainland China. Research in developmental disabilities, 34(1), 469-479.

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