Sun, Oct 22, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Taipei American School activities attract crowds

FUN AND GAMES The international school hosted a flea market with many local churches' booths selling a variety of wares to raise funds for orphans in Taiwan and abroad

By Max Hirsch  /  STAFF REPORTER

Expatriates were out in full force in Tianmu yesterday to attend a flea market and Taipei Youth Program Association (TYPA) activities at the Taipei American School (TAS).

Proceeds from booths run by TAS students at the flea market went to the Orphanage Club, a TAS organization run by students to assist Taipei orphans, said Richard Arnold, a TAS history teacher and the club's founder.

"We take orphans out on a monthly basis to have fun and get out in the community," said Melody Wu, a TAS senior and the club's president. She added that club members also teach English to orphans free of charge.

Many local churches' booths were also present at the market, selling a variety of wares to raise funds for orphans in Taiwan and elsewhere.

"One hundred percent of our proceeds today will go to orphans in Cambodia," said Debbie Swindell, an American volunteer with the Taipei International Church, which meets at TAS every Sunday.

The bustling fundraiser coincided with the last day of baseball season for little league players in the Taipei Youth Program Association, which is based at the school. Visitors strolled between the booths and games.

"[The association] has been around for decades, and it's great for the kids," said Richard Vuylsteke, executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei. Vuylsteke, a volunteer at TAS, added that the association will start its soccer season soon.

TYPA director Gerry Molan said the association boasts more than 2,000 children who participate in a dizzying array of activities, including team sports, martial arts, and dance and music classes.

Promoting camaraderie among international youth for 27 years, the association is one of the pillars of Taiwan's expatriate community, Molan said.

"Children are eligible to join [the association] as long as they have a foreign passport, which is a Taiwanese government edict," Molan said, adding the association was important to parents, too, because it brings them together -- as well their children -- at events.

"There is the potential for disconnection among expatriates in Taipei. For example, the Taipei European School is up on Yang ming Mountain, and the Taipei American and Japanese Schools are down here in Tianmu. So, it's important to have an organization like TYPA to serve as a bridge between the various expat communities," Molan told the Taipei Times.

He added that the association helps foreign families to adjust to Taipei, instilling a sense of community among international children and parents.

For more information about TYPA, visit its Web site at www.typa.org.tw.

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