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A sense of service

By Yang Feiyue | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2024-02-23 08:07
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Beijing Jiaotong University volunteers talk about teenage psychology with residents at Du Xiaojie's cultural center in the capital's Xicheng district. CHINA DAILY

Beijing has recognized a man from rural Shandong for his public welfare work at his community center in the capital, Yang Feiyue reports.

Residents of Guangnei Street in Beijing's Xicheng district have come to celebrate Du Xiaojie as a fixture of their community. They've grown fond of the 30-something, who has enlivened their lives over the past four years since he founded a cultural center on the street. His space has evolved into a hot spot among neighbors, who go there to read, play instruments and dance.

"They treat me like their close friend and often give me feedback about their experiences at the center, which helps me make improvements," Du says.

He usually arrives early in the morning to sort books and prepare events. He was still working according to a tight schedule, even as Spring Festival approached.

"Actually, we get busier when the holidays come," he says.

Since the neighborhood's children are on their winter semester break, Du has made a point of arranging more science popularization and handicraft classes.

"We're offering four to five classes a day in science, traditional culture and art," he says.

He invites experts to host the courses, which can be booked through social media for free.

"Each class attracts 120 to 180 people a day," Du says.

During the winter break, it usually takes only a few minutes before all the slots are booked.

The center has welcomed more than 380,000 visitors since it was founded in 2019.

"This figure has been uplifting to team morale," he says.

Many people from the area have made the programs part of their lives, he adds.

The municipal publicity department named him a Beijing Role Model in December in recognition of the role his entrepreneurship has played in enriching cultural life in the city over the past decade.

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