Our last workshop for the Santa Jia-Xin took place in ChingChuan, with open arms to the children of the community. With a slight postponement in date due to weather conditions, our workshop reputation proved to be a success with a massive explosion in number of children that wanted to join.

With fresh blood, renewed passion, and extra cup of hot chocolate we brought the same opportunities for creation that had delighted youth of all ages in Santa Jia-Xin’s Winter Wonderland from MuHsiang to Harmony Home. The day started off with a quick viewing of the animated classic “The Snowman” and we proceeded to create similar lovable snowfolks out of bubble clay. While the photography looks calm, the kids in the class and went wild with the clay and glitter! We also had empty ornaments so some kids chose to create items to put inside and we hung these up in the makeshift tree that was already at the Youth Center, perfection.

All images courtesy Jon Burke

SALADAY’s delicious lunch couldn’t have come in at a better time. For almost 20 minutes before kids were already gathered at the table, eager to fill their tummies with the warm pumpkin soup, pasta, and crisp salad. I spread olive oil on vegan French bread that was freshly baked the day before by Fresh Bakery and Café, helper Vivian being so wonderful with cutting and serving these. They thanked SALADAY chef Josh Kuo for the preparation of the feast and chowed down – we waited by the side until all kids had their first to second servings and dug into the spread as well.

After lunch, Teacher Yifan also came up with a nice idea for the creation of a large thank you card to Jia-Xin. Kids lined up to leave their handprints and appreciation, then gathered to watch me create the icing for the gingerbread folks. Helper Helen Lee took up another batch of colors and a group of kids so pretty soon we had about 6-7 bowls going, myself screaming “MORE POWDER” to ensure the consistency was perfect for decorating. We got a bit ahead of ourselves so had more colors than powder but plenty of fun. After all these workshops, this was the first time in my life I got to decorate a gingerbread cookie! I had a blast and the children had a blast! The craftwork from Jia-Xin’s classmates also made it up to the tree and added the personalized decorative spirit to the center.

We ended with hot chocolate, more delicious vegan chocolate cupcakes from Fresh, and gave out a few small gifts to the children, thanks to Kelly Manske and Gary Smoke. The only time I actually give gifts or candies out – but hey it’s the holidays!

It’s been almost a year since I’ve permitted more than 15 kids to sign up in a workshop (over 20 appeared) and this time around it was a reminder and also new lessons learned. While we integrated the same basics of creating Christmas ornaments and decorating gingerbread folks, the sound level was on an all-time high and quality of interaction was not on par as in the past.

There is something so desired by the children to be heard, to be hugged, to be seen, that cannot be achieved in this setting. In 2014 we will strive to create these intimate moments for human connection.

When I am in action, there are things I do not think about. With time to reflect after the workshop, I counted in total that over 60 youths were treated to a piece of this beautiful holiday pie. More amazing was that 100 or more “big kids” whether through donation, coordination, effort, time, gave ingredients for this pie concoction of love to deliver the very simple wish of Jia-Xin. In listing just a few of these folks out, I guess the introvert me was quite the bumble bee in December!

Brightside 清泉_010414_383 copy

Thank you all for a very memorable end of the year 2013! This is just the round-up for December – wait till my 2013 wrap up report.

Santa Jia-Xin
Jeremy and Tracie Rosenberg
Yuting Hung (matched dollar for dollar!)
Sharon & Buce
Guylaine & Terry
Laura & Jeff
The Bisskys
Uncle Jeff, Auntie Janet and Baby Morgan
Melissa & Danny
Eryn Holbrook
Jonathan Morrissey
Kathy Koopman
Omadar & Marc
The Dorval Family
Mitch Chang
Jordan Raine
Anna’s Incense
Miranda Friz
Iron Man Markus
Towler Family
Karen and Tim
Emily Halpen-Buie
Katarina and Mattias
Marla and Steve Rosenberg
Kim Roberts
Sherry Farley
Megan MacDonald
Jeff H
And other generous “Anonymous” sponsors!


Yifan Chen
Snow Tsao
Jonathan Burke
Adan Wu
Vivian Lee
Paula Perry
Clint Siu
James Teng
Jeff Yang
Jiang Chong Yi
Dee Burke
Helen Lee
Matt (Lee)
Sophie Chang
Kelly Manske
Gary Smoke
Ann Lin
Chiajo Kuo

SALADAY for our incredible January 4th Kitchen Table vegetarian lunch, especially head chef Josh Kuo. And always, Kaye Yuan!

**The generosity and patience of Father Barry Martinson and Dean at the Taushan Youth Cultural Center

**The unforgettable folks at TauShan Elementary School with special thanks to Principal Chen, Pawang Iban, and coordinators plus teachers at the school

**The kind folks at MuHsiang Orphanage, especially Ms Liu

**Fresh Bakery and Cafe for their supply of vegan cupcakes, gingerbread folks, French bread, and other delicious items! Especially thanks to Ikea for her generous donation, Ravi for the personal delivery, and PAULA. Plus mystery donor!

**Snow Tsao for her Harmony Home initiative and her friends Joshua Tsao, Vivi Wu, Ribbon Hsieh.

**Animals Taiwan, especially Lorena Poitras and Liza Milne for some amazing gifts and in general, their year round love and support for Taiwan’s strays.

Each and every one of these that I credited also had helping hands behind them to support them. Thank you. Let’s continue to make 2014 a community effort and bring more love and kindness to everyone around us!

Teachers: Yifan Chen
Volunteers: Jiang Chong Yi, Clint Siu, Vivian Lee, Helen Lee, Matt (Lee)
Photographer: Jon Burke
Head Chef: Josh Kuo (Saladay)

Date / Time: January 4th 2014 / 11:00-16:00
Location: Taushan Youth Cultural Center (ChingChuan)

Kitchen Table:
Fresh vegetable salad with mixed nuts
Pumpkin Soup

Fresh Bakery and Cafe (all vegan)
French bread
Gingerbread cookies
Chocolate cupcakes

Event Call-out: https://wp.me/p326jt-sA