Dallas is a booming city in Texas, the 2nd most populous and 2nd largest state in the nation, and home to Tzu Chi USA’s Central Region Chapter, which was established here in 1992. The pioneering spirit that built Dallas is alive and well today, since it is the fastest-growing city when it comes to new millionaires. And yet, one third of the kids here live in households below the poverty line. For an organization like Tzu Chi, Dallas is rich in opportunities to help those in need.
Our chapter here grew slowly but surely, and by 2000, we were running a Sunday school for 180 kids. In 2006, Yuangliang Ling, our Executive Director found an ample church property, and the Central Region Chapter moved in to their permanent home. In the same year, our chapter was invited to become a member of the Texas State Emergency Management Center. We are also the Main Distribution Center for Emergency Disaster Relief Blankets for all of Tzu Chi USA.
The Central Region Chapter’s activities revolve around education. We have been operating Tzu Chi Great Love Preschool and Kindergarten in Dallas since 2007, offering a humanistic and bi-lingual (Chinese, English) curriculum. Our chapter runs a Back to School Program, donating an abundance of school supplies to needy children. We have been giving out school uniforms at the Dallas Mayor’s Back to School Fair since 2005. Our volunteers also visit schools to donate supplies and spread the word about recycling and our Bamboo Bank spirit. Each summer since 2007, Tzu Chi’s Dallas Kitchen is host to vegetarian lunches where beef-loving Texans and Chinese Ghost Month adherents can learn about the benefits and virtues of a meat-less diet.
In 2011, our volunteers began giving bimonthly Jing Si Aphorism teachings at the Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy (BOMLA), whose mission is to develop young men into impactful leaders for a global humanistic society. In 2012, BOMLA’s principal visited Tzu Chi’s global headquarters in Taiwan to learn more about Tzu Chi’s culture, vision and programs, and BOMLA and Hualien’s Tzu Chi High School became “sister schools”. Thanks to the devoted efforts of our volunteers in the Central Region, the roots of Tzu Chi’s humanistic culture in the U.S. are deepening.
Education aside, we at Central are also at ready when disaster strikes. The way we responded in 2013, when a deadly explosion rocked the town of West and hundreds were injured, is still cherished by the community today. We are committed to providing exceptional and ongoing tornado relief work in this region as well.