BANGOR, Maine — The Bangor Chinese School and the Chinese Learning and Cultural Center have been awarded two federal grants that will mean more area children will be able to attend the “The Future Speaks Chinese” summer program.
The U.S. National Security Language Initiative awarded the school and cultural center the grants, which total $110,000, through their STARTALK program. The program is designed to “expand and improve upon the teaching and learning of strategically important world languages, languages like Chinese,” a press release states.
The funds will be used to help offer area students in grades four through 12 the opportunity to go to summer camp, Jing Zhang, president of the Bangor Chinese School, said Monday at a press conference at Bangor City Hall.
The school and cultural center, which have been offering programs locally since 2005, offer two summer programs at Husson University in June and July, one for teachers and the other for students, she said.
“This [student] program is four-week immersion in standard language and culture program,” Zhang said.
The camp, which runs June 29-July 24, will offer experience with cooking, arts, crafts, calligraphy, abacus instructions, tai chi, dragon dance and music, the press release states.
Jim Kenny, the school’s financial officer, said there are good reasons for teaching Chinese, in addition to the fact it is spoken by one-fourth of the world.
“Maine’s current exports to China are valued at $152 million — a new record,” he said. “This represents an export increase of 200 percent in the last couple years. Our trade to China is growing.”
The federal grants will help to offset the costs of the summer camps, Zhang said, who added that all interested should apply.
“If you know some children, let them know,” she said.