Visiting the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, China. Back Row: Sierra Long, Jose Alba , Jennifer Zamora, Sarai Camacho, Carol Ward, Sean Astley, and Christopher Pittman. Front Row : Angelica Castillo-Ibanez, Cayla Jackson, Julia So, Lucy Brookhart, Cassandra Larsen, and Roberta Gesling

The Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine (CFGM) once again earned the designation of partner organization for the 100,000 Strong Initiative to provide the opportunity for community youth to participate in the 2018 US-China Study Abroad Summer Program generously sponsored by the Chicago-based Wanxiang Group.
 Muscatine High School and Muscatine Community College students, as well as those interested in chaperoning, submitted their applications to the US-China Study Abroad Summer Program in early spring with a YouTube video telling the selection committee why they would like to serve as a US (Muscatine) Ambassador for the trip. The committee selected eleven youth and two local adult chaperones from the field of applicants. The Wanxiang Group provided scholarships to those selected covering all the month-long trip travel expenses, other than passports and personal spending money.
The Muscatine delegation’s trip immersed them in and gave them an opportunity to study Chinese language, culture and clean energy science at Wanxiang Polytechnic College in Hangzhou, China, from July 6th through August 3rd. Their itinerary also included cultural visits to sites near the college, as well as to Beijing and Shanghai. The experience truly gave them a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
The 100,000 Strong website provides the following background information on the program:
[ The US-China Study Abroad Initiative] was first launched by President Obama in 2009 as a US State Department initiative. In 2013, then-Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, announced the establishment of the 100,000 Strong Foundation, an independent nonprofit dedicated to deepening ties between the future leaders of the United States and China. Building off the success and goals of the 100,000 Strong Foundation, in 2016, the Foundation rebranded as the US-China Strong Foundation to reflect the organization’s growing and evolving mission. 100,000 Strong is now one of US-China Strong’s core initiatives; its mission remains the same – to continue increasing the number of US students studying in China.
Dan Stein, Chairman of the Muscatine-China Initiatives Committee (MCIC), noted, “This program is another example of our local students benefiting from our relationship with China.  Muscatine can be very proud of these students who did a terrific job representing our community.  And thank you to the Community Foundation for their great work administering the program.”
P.  Kelly Rushford, Manager of Programs and Services with the CFGM, commented, “the US-China Study Abroad Program is a rich academic opportunity allowing area high school and Muscatine Community College students to experience first-hand the many cultural differences and similarities between our two countries.  We are grateful to the Muscatine-China Initiatives Committee for building relationships to broaden and educate the global perspective of Muscatine’s students.” Cayla Jackson, Muscatine Community College student, added, “Traveling makes you realize that no matter how much you know, there’s always more to learn.”
 With this year’s US-China Study Abroad Summer Program on the books, the CFGM wants to offer a very big thank you to the Wanxiang Group and their skilled team of educators for providing students with this incredible cultural experience.