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Young adults recognized for social service

Young adults recognized for social service

Taipei, March 26 (CNA) Nine young Taiwanese individuals and groups received national awards Sunday in recognition of their contributions in areas such as volunteer work, sports, and public service. The National Youth Contribution Awards, presented by the Cabinet-level National Youth Commission, selected the winners from over 600 candidates. Lu Yi-chieh, a 15-year-old junior high school student in Taichung City, was the youngest recipient, winning in the category of "filial piety and virtues." She was honored for taking care of her mother, who suffers from depression and anorexia, for the past three years. Lu not only managed to take care of her mother, but also worked part-time in a night market during her holidays to earn extra money. The teenager also sets aside one day per month to volunteer with a charity group, singing and playing games with mentally challenged children. Lu said she is just doing what she is supposed to do and hopes to become a nurse one day to give back to society what she and her mother have received from it. Her family was among those in central Taiwan that suffered losses in a devastating earthquake on Sept. 21, 1999, which left more than 2,400 people dead. Another award recipient Hsu He-chieh, whose family was also a victim of the 921 earthquake, first became involved in volunteerism when he was in junior high school after he saw how volunteers helped rebuild his hometown. During his period of military service, Hsu helped train young volunteers at a children's foundation. He now owns a beverage shop that he hopes to use as a base for volunteer work and to encourage his community to become involved in such work. At the awards ceremony, President Ma Ying-jeou said he hopes more young people will learn to share and that the number of volunteers in Taiwan will grow. (By Chen Shun-hsieh and Christie Chen)