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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Meet RSM 90-90-9 Winner: Jarin Hansen

Jarin Hansen | Audit Senior Manager | Cedar Rapids, IA
Bringing our family to Shanghai, China on an RSM expat assignment was the first of many steps to changing our lives forever. Among the experiences, we’ve learned a lot about the culture of this fascinating country, the customs and lifestyles that differ from ours in America. With that has also come the startling social systems, including the vast amount of children who are left behind in China. These are children who have been abandoned without healthcare, education, food, shelter, or even parents.

“According to the All-China Women’s Federation, an official body, and UNICEF, the UN organization for children, there were 61 million children below the age of 17 left behind in rural areas of China in 2010.” Of those, about 6 million reportedly were being looked after by distant relatives or by the state, such as in the cases of orphans and children with disabilities who have been abandoned; and another 2 million children who had been left just to fend for themselves.

After reading and understanding the truth and validity behind statistics like this, and coupling it with the mission and purpose of reactive organizations, such as the Baobei Foundation, we identified a clear opportunity to make an impact in one life. Baobei is a local organization in Shanghai which supports orphans undergoing life-changing surgeries. They are often the first call when an abandoned child needs immediate medical care because, through personal donations, Baobei is able to fund the necessary medical procedure. The organization goes one step further even, and matches these children with Healing Homes, where they can recover from the major surgeries under the care of a loving family. Frequently, the child will stay with that Healing Home until a Forever Home, or adoption family, is identified.

Within our current situation, raising three children in Shanghai for 2 to 3 years, we felt a personal calling to, at a minimum, open our loving home to be the Healing Home necessary for one of these orphans. With our eldest children being 7 and 9 years old, they have gained a clear understanding of the lifestyles of rural Chinese kids, they are familiar with the Houku system which prevents many from a good education and healthcare outside of their registered city or province, and they have observed first-hand the many children who are not as fortunate as them. Our eldest two children share in our desire to welcome, and care for, a native Chinese baby in need of a loving home.

The 90-90-9 funding opportunity at RSM aligns perfectly with this calling. Our family is committed to engaging with a Baobei child, and assisting as his/her healing home after surgery. We will provide the routine care for the baby 24 hours a day, until he or she is ready for adoption. We will work with the Shanghai Children’s Medical Center, orphanages and the Foundation to ensure his/her medical needs are met to assist in overcoming the child’s personal disabilities.

We will begin this journey by discovering opportunities to engage in the lives of these children and understand the true need that lies within the orphanage walls. Time will be spent undergoing an interview process with the Baobei Foundation, understanding the child’s medical needs and being trained to medically care for a baby. Once a child is identified as a good fit for our home, we’ll provide a room in our home and supply the child with daily necessities; all the while, hoping to give life to this child’s eyes. The length of time necessary to provide the healing home until a forever home is identified as unknown, so our commitment duration is also uncertain.

While Baobei does provide the financial resources for the surgery, we will utilize the $10,000 award in a combination of ways. First, a large portion will include a donation to the Baobei Foundation to fund the medical procedures necessary for the supported children. Should RSM fund a child in this manner, Baobei Foundation will recognize that as a sponsorship for the child in need, and provide updates and progress reports, with pictures, back to the company. Secondly, as part of a first-hand understanding of the living conditions and needs of the many children supported by Baobei, we will plan a family visit to an orphanage within China which will leave a lasting impact on our family. An orphanage visit would require travel from our home in Shanghai and therefore a portion of the award would be necessary to accommodate airfare, hotel, meals and other travel expenses during our visit. This visit would be the use of additional days off as provided under the program. Finally, to support the daily needs of the child, we will need to stock up on items such as seasonal appropriate clothing throughout the year, diapers, and food or formula. Any differences to the budget outlined above will be directly contributed to the Baobei Foundation.

This RSM initiative is an incredible way to give back, and for us it meets our personal and professional values as well as a passion that our family holds near. It goes without saying the use of the award is on point to the core values of RSM – Respect, Integrity, Teamwork, Excellence and Stewardship. November is national adoption month; what better time to take this step and make a life-changing difference for a child, just as this expat assignment has done for us.

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