Every so often, someone steps up and proves themself to be a real hero. At HOOP, this could be someone who has made sacrifices to personally help the Flora Tristán community, or someone who has gone to great lengths to support HOOP through fundraising or simply spreading the word about what we do here in Arequipa. So, to celebrate the heroic deeds of some of HOOP’s best and most dedicated supporters, we’re delighted to be launching our new HOOP Hero Award for people who have made significant contributions to the Flora Tristán community.
Our first winner is so awesome that if you gave him the power of flight, it would probably only be his fourth or fifth best superpower. He has made sacrifices in his medical career to set up HOOP as an official charity and has gone to remarkable lengths to help give the people of Flora Tristán better opportunities in life. He has even published a book to spread the word about HOOP in his home country (oh, with 100% of the profits supporting HOOP!).
I am of course talking about Li Shang-Ju from Taiwan. I don’t want to go into too much detail about all the great things Dr. Li has done, since (as such a great hero) he is super humble. Li has accomplished some inspiring feats for HOOP. He once sat outside San Fransisco church here in Arequipa writing down the names of HOOP’s kids in Mandarin on paper to raise awareness and donations from passers-by. He also hosted a Taiwanese camera crew in Flora Tristán to document his endeavors, and once travelled to Lima to seek support from the Taiwanese Embassy and a Taiwanese company, which is now donating a whole new building to Flora Tristán.
Fellow HOOP co-founder, Teresa recalls some of his other heroic deeds: “Li started the HOOP Scholarship Program and raised the money for it on his own. He would prepare and teach the first three scholarship students before and after school or even during the weekends to make sure they weren’t falling behind. If we couldn’t solve a math problem, we would sometimes take it home, figure it out in the volunteer house and then Li would go to school in the early morning to explain it to one of our kids before their class started. No one is as respected and loved by the community as he is!”
As songwriting legend Bob Dylan once said, “A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with freedom.” Li understands this and has shown it through his heroic powers of kindness, dedication and an infectiously positive attitude. So we are delighted to announce him as our very deserving and gracious recipient of the first award. Thanks, Li, you’re our HOOP Hero!