Kidsburgh Hero: 11-year-old wins President’s Volunteer Service Award

An 11-year-old boy won the 2020 President’s Volunteer Service Award from President Biden for the time he’s spent volunteering during the pandemic, and it all started with an interaction with his sister.

When Upper Saint Clair schools went remote last spring, Aaron Chi’s mom, Annie, saw that her son, then in 4th grade, was bored and encouraged him to learn something new so he picked up origami and Rubik’s Cube, but that wasn’t enough.

“I noticed that he was still bored, although he picked up two hobbies,” Annie said. “There was one day that he was trying to teach his 2-month-old sister the Rubik’s Cube so I think he probably was bored.”

So when Annie learned about kids teaching other kids on the website Youth Development Resource Consortium, she suggested Aaron try teaching.

He started teaching Rubik’s Cube and origami and now also teaches reading, all live classes online with kids around the country.  Aaron, himself, has learned a lot by teaching.

“I’ve learned how to organize myself because you can’t have this jumble of words, your slides not organized, when you present to people,” Aaron said.

Aaron learned to be patient — something that’s helping while teaching his baby sister to walk, talk and even read.

He also learned to find the positive in challenging situations.

“The thing about the pandemic was unexpected, but then, once it led to so many great benefits to us, that was also unexpected,” Aaron said.

Aaron and his family never expected recognition for his volunteering (the website nominated him), but they hope it leads to more people both taking and teaching the online classes.

“We were very surprised and happy, too, for him to really realize the value and the benefits of helping each other, especially during this challenging time,” Annie said.

You can take Aaron’s classes for free on this website.