April 14, 2010
The UCLA Confucius Institute along with the After-School All-Stars (ASAS) brought 26 middle school students enrolled in our after-school Mandarin program to UCLA for an afternoon of fun and Chinese culture . The Mandarin Chinese afterschool program currently serves three middle schools in downtown Los Angeles- L.A. Leadership Academy, Downtown Value School, and Richard Merkin Middle School with funding from the Kobe Bryant Family Foundation. Kobe Bryant, one of the most popular American sports figure in China, was named a “Cultural Ambassador” by the Asian Society. Bryant’s international background and a growing interest and curiosity about other cultures inspired him to promote opportunities for youth to study Mandarin through the ASAS-LA. Students in these programs are learning Mandarin through language and culture classes led by Ms. Song Xu, and wushu (Chinese martial arts) with Master Hu Jianqiang (湖坚强), China's two-time all-around wushu champion, fight scene choreographer, gongfu film star, and move partner for Jet Li.
The field trip brought the students to the UCLA campus to view the film KIDS FROM SHAOLIN starring Master Hu. We offered light refreshments and cultural engagement through Chinese paper cutting and knots provided by the UCLA Chinese Student Association. Afterwards the kids practiced wushu with Master Hu, and were presented with signed posters and practice T-shirts!
This event was sponsored by the UCLA Confucius Institute, After-School All-Stars and the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. Many thanks to Martha Rider, Susan Ly, and members of the Chinese Student Association.