MONTVILLE, NJ – President Clinton signed into law the King Holiday and Service Act, proclaiming the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a National Day of Service. “Make it a day on, not a day off,” is the motto of NationalService.gov, the nation’s service and volunteering website. In the spirit of this day, TAP into Montville is spotlighting a group of students from the Northern New Jersey Chinese Association Chinese School, which operates out of Montville Township High School on Sundays, who performed more than 100 hours of volunteering.

Congressman Rodney P. Frelinghuysen attended the Northern New Jersey Chinese Association’s Chinese School New Year Celebration on Jan. 10 and presented five students of the Chinese School with President’s Volunteer Service Gold Awards.

The President’s Volunteer Service Award recognizes United States citizens who have achieved the required number of hours of service over a 12-month time period or cumulative hours over the course of a lifetime, according to the Service Award website.

Sign Up for E-News

“We started the President’s Volunteer Service Award program two years ago,” said former Chinese School Principal Jennifer Sun. “Students who have graduated from the Chinese School are encouraged to become teaching assistants. The Association provides cultural activities in the community throughout the year, so the students can volunteer and promote Chinese culture and education through these activities. If they accumulate 100 hours or more, students can apply for the President’s Volunteer Service Award.”

“The NNJCA Chinese School students do a lot of volunteer work,” said Andrew Sun-Yan, one of the recipients. “Some activities include singing in a choir, performing a ceremonial Confucius dance, cooking food for the homeless, becoming teacher’s assistants at this Chinese School, being summer camp counselors, and participating in the double ten flag raising ceremony. There is nothing quite like the feeling of helping out other people and the community, both while promoting Chinese culture and education. It’s truly an honor and a productive way to spend weekends.”

This year’s NNJCA recipients were Andrew Sun-Yan (gold level) and Emily Liao (bronze level), who are students of Montville Township High School; Charlize Chen (gold), Sabrina Hu (silver) and Ryan Lo (bronze).  The gold level recipients have volunteered for more than 250 hours, silver is more than 175 hours, and bronze is more than 100 hours.

Each student received a certificate signed by President Barack Obama and a letter from the President, which stated in part, “Your volunteer service demonstrates the kind of commitment to your community that moves America a step closer to its great promise. Thank you for your devotion to service.”

To search for service opportunities near you, please click on:  NationalService.gov or JerseyCares.org