Communities are built on the strength of their relationships. Beijing is known to be a particularly relationship-oriented community, especially among those with global mindsets and long tenure. The ebb and flow of short-term expats adds to Beijing’s flavor, as each year new guanxi is made that starts here but then reaches across a world connected by a digital, rather than urban, landscape.
This issue we decided to celebrate the leaders and unsung heroes of this global community. We of course see the value in those who are driven by charity and the inspiration they give to others, but we are looking for the friends whose shoulders are wet from tears, the mothers who form community for other pollution-caused-cabin-crazy moms, and the chef who brings sanity to a group of suburban-placed expats.
These are the people who provide a renewable bond to those who ebb and flow in, and who also remain year after year once these short-term expats are long gone. Though these pillars may eventually move on, Beijing certainly experiences a painful loss when they do. They are the people we look up to, the people who are connected to other global influencers, and the people who will make an impact wherever they go. We asked schools, our parenting board, and other well-known charitable leaders for who they wished we would cover. We were touched and moved by the stories, and we expect you to be also.
Though we covered eighteen community leaders together in both Schooled (p28 of the magazine) and the feature (p48), we covered other pillars throughout the magazine, so be on the lookout for faces you know. In view of what these pillars do, we chose to cover a volunteer option for Playing Outside instead of a park or a playground (p24), along with including many other options for volunteering at the end of our feature (p56).
Lastly, we want to point you to our own community pillars here at beijingkids.
Celebrating 10 Years with beijingkids
This magazine was started 10 years ago to make sense of life in Beijing and to be an essential family resource for the internationally minded family. Mike Wester and Toni Ma have touched the lives of many of our readers by continuing to publish this magazine through the best and worst of times. Mike Wester draws his idea for how to steer the magazine focus based on a posting he had back in the US when a small town local newspaper was taken over by a larger media company. An angry mother came in and chewed him out, “You don’t know anything about this community! This newspaper is a shell of its former self.” As she was leaving, she asked, “And by the way, would you mind putting my daughter’s picture in the paper?” He realized then that close-knit communities care deeply about the stories of one another, and often these stories are more important on a daily basis than a re-run national news story. So we make it our job to be apart of the community, to know what’s going on in the lives of expat families, and to make sure we’re helping you with the information to live life well in Beijing. On behalf of beijingkids’ staff and readers, I want to thank them both!
Download the digital copy here.