CityU Students Help Out at North Helpline Food Bank

CityU Students Help Out at North Helpline Food Bank
CityU Volunteers at North Helpline Food Bank
From left, CityU students Deyong Li, Chutirat Sarathanah, Tam Minh Nguyen and Jiawei You volunteering at the North Helpline Food Bank.

When students in CityU’s English Language Program graduate they’ll leave our university with much more than improved English. A great benefit of  CityU’s Washington Academy of Languages programs is the extra-curricular activities that allow students and alumni to not only experience American culture first-hand, but each other’s cultures and values as well. During Seattle’s holiday season that meant volunteering at the North Helpline Food Bank, along with an impromptu civics lesson.

Unbeknownst to the seven CityU students who volunteered over Christmas Eve, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray was working right alongside them helping clients.

Abdulaziz Bakhsh, a student in the English Language Program, said he spoke with the mayor and told him it was his first time volunteering in the U.S., and that he was honored to lend a hand at North Helpline.

“He was helping people too,” Abdulaziz said. “It doesn’t matter who you are, everyone can help.”

“I felt comfortable to talk with him because of his man-of-the-people style,” said Sophy Chen, an alumnae of the English Language Program and a current CityU MBA candidate.

Sophy, who is originally from China, said she appreciated her experience at North Helpline partly because “volunteering is a component of American culture,” and she enjoyed speaking with clients and knowing she was helping them “feel better.”

“It is a good way to help people who are lacking food,” she added.

Abdulaziz said he was happy to participate in an activity that was beneficial for other people, and that this experience has inspired him to seek out additional volunteering opportunities. Originally from Saudi Arabia, Abdulaziz said he enjoyed being able to give back to a local community.

“Life is about challenging yourself, so why don’t you try something a little different than what you’re used to?” he added.

In thinking of activities for Washington Academy of Languages (WAL) students, Debbie Chan said she asks herself, “Where can they practice their English and feel like they really communicated with others? Volunteering in the community is often the best answer!”

“What a wonderful experience it was for all,” Debbie said. “It was real work, helping real people and making a real positive difference in people’s lives at a time when many need it most.”

Volunteering at North Helpline Food Bank
CityU students from left are Abdulaziz Bakhsh, Fadhel Barqah, Sophy Chen, Chutirat Sarathanah, Tam Minh Nguyen, Jiawei You and Deyong Li with WAL Student Services Coordinator Debbie Chan.


-Pictured at top are Sophy Chen at left and Abdulaziz Bakhsh at right next to Seattle Mayor Ed Murray- 

Additional photos can be found here

For more information about WAL, please visit our website. For more information about WAL events, please contact Debbie Chan at or view our listings.

Published January 12, 2015



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