Endorsement that matters: Po Leung Kuk graduates

Apologies for this non social media posting, but I wanted to share a great moment from Saturday when the alumni of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club Scholarship Fund gathered together for our annual lunch. I am co-chair and co-founder of the fund and the event that supports it, the Foreign Correspondents’ Club Charity Ball. For this year’s ball we have the Doobie Brothers flying to Hong Kong in October.

On Saturday, it was great to see so many familiar and new faces. This photo features the newly elected officers of the Alumni Association, while I posted a full set of photos on Flickr. (Would have used Facebook, but there is no bulk uploader!).

Now in our tenth year, the scholarship part of our work helps roughly a dozen students from the Po Leung Kuk each year with a university scholarship and mentoring. Handing out a check would be too easy and have too little impact, so we find the students internships, offer guidance and support their internal mentoring program. At Saturday’s lunch, for example, a senior executive from Macquarie Bank offered her advice on how to build a career. Previous years included workshops on how to dress for interviews and prepare a CV. This kind of knowledge is something that many of us get from our homes and take for granted.

At Saturday’s event we try to keep the ball organizers involvement as low key as possible. We are happy to finance their activities (usually barbecues or hikes), but the real power comes from these students, some of whom come from extremely difficult backgrounds, helping each other. There are some things that we can help with, such as access to internships or opening horizons, but the recent graduates of the alumni association can offer a stronger and more credible take on day-to-day issues affecting those newly entering the program. The world is tough when you are not sure where to turn for advice.

We were very fortunate in our early years to choose superstars scholarship winners, many of whom remain stalwart supporters more than a decade after they received their scholarships. To me, their continued involvement is the greatest endorsement that our program could ever have. They finished the program yet turn up year after year and volunteer their time. The endorsement of our graduates is the greatest compliment that could ever be paid to the FCC/PLK Scholarship Fund. Thank you! Your endorsement through continued involvement is the greatest source of optimism about what we are doing.

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