San Jose is situated in the Bay Area of Northern California. Concentrated with world-famous technology companies, this area is better known as the Silicon Valley, with San Jose located at its heart. Being at the forefront of any advancement, it is easy to forget what is happening in the rear. In Silicon Valley, while the “haves” see their fortunes soar, the “have-nots” often fall further behind. In a place where poverty and homelessness is increasingly evident and the cost of living is rising sky-high, Tzu Chi USA’s Northwest Region Chapter has a lot to do. Many of our dedicated volunteers actually work in those high tech companies in the valley.
Our story began with one Chinese lady whose purity of spirit, loving-kindness and wisdom are legendary. Affectionately known as the “Silicon Valley Grandma”, Mrs. Lin-Wang could not speak English or drive, but she would not let any obstacles stand in the way of love. She started the Northwest Region Chapter in her garage in Almaden. Much like Master Cheng-Yen, Mrs. Lin-Wang led by example and inspired others to follow the path of doing good deeds. As the chapter grew, so did our roots. Today, we have a spectacular campus that was renovated to our needs with the professional expertise of our volunteers.
Our Chapter is truly attentive to the ongoing needs of the homeless and the disadvantaged in the area. Since 1998, we have established a weekly Breakfast Program. Every Sunday, as people enjoy a hot meal, they can also receive a free haircut and some clothes. We also care for the youth, especially those facing difficulties. We deliver snacks and teach humanities and arts courses at community schools as part of the educational effort started in 1995. For students coping with obstacles like gang conflicts, behavior issues, substance abuse, and tough home lives, trust does not come easily. With the long-term support and love from our volunteers, students can set aside their worries and guard to adopt a more positive outlook on life. Our chapter is also active on the medical front: We offer a bi-weekly Dental Clinic for low-income individuals.
Looking into the future, our chapter has great visions. We plan to expand our medical outreach efforts and establish a Medical Clinic. We will continue to provide support to our community through centers for Senior Service, Youth Education, Community Education, Environmental Conservation, and Disaster Shelter. We are just getting started here in the Silicon Valley, and our love extends beyond boundaries.