The children of migrant laborers in China are frequently left behind at home while their parents move to other cities or provinces for work. These “left-behind children” in China total more than 61 million and struggle with the problems caused by the absence of one or both parents. A 2010 study found that on average, the absence of one or both parents substantially worsens children’s psychological development, emotional well-being, social functioning, and school performance (Shanghai Second Military Medical University, 2010).
The GROW program, by connecting these children with university student mentors, aims to help enhance parent-child relationships, as well as provide the support and encouragement that physically can’t be provided by the working parent(s).
The majority of GROW volunteers are previous recipients of CWEF’s high school scholarship program, and many of these GROW volunteers also participated in other CWEF programs while in high school, such as the REACH student development program and career workshops.
GROW provides training and support to university students and young adults, equipping them to give back to young left-behind children in need, and providing an opportunity for both children and young adults to ‘grow up together’ with a greater sense of service for others and hope for the future.