Fiona Zou - Gold Award
School: International School of Beaverton
Category: Teens (11-15)
Fiona Zou is a freshman at the International School of Beaverton(ISB). She has always had a passion for music and firmly believes that it has the power to connect and heal. In 2017, Fiona co-founded a volunteer group that later became a non-profit organization, “ Beats of Bethany”, whose mission is to empower youth to serve their communities with their talents. Fiona reached out to other young musicians like her who share a passion for music to join this volunteer group. The group grew from six volunteers when it started to around twenty over the course of four years. Together, they have contributed about 2,000 volunteer hours to community service. Fiona led the group to hold regular community concerts at senior living communities. It first started when Fiona was given the opportunity to visit some senior living communities. On her visit, she noticed that many senior residents live by themselves and do not get to see their family members often. Fiona saw them conflicted with physical pain and social isolation, which deeply touched her heart. It became very clear to her that senior living communities are one of the places where music is needed the most. Fiona presented to her group the idea of holding community concerts at the senior living communities, which was embraced by other musicians. Since then, Beats of Bethany has held twelve performances at nine senior living communities for hundreds of senior residents in Oregon and Washington. Another initiative was sparked when Fiona first began to play tennis at Portland Tennis and Education (PT&E) in 2019, where she was able to interact with students from low income and underserved families. It was a wake up call that made her realize the resources she could easily access are not available to this community. Fiona led Beats of Bethany to start a new initiative of making music and art education accessible to Portland’s underserved youth through providing music and art literacy workshops. Fiona has always been looking for other opportunities to help her communities. Even the pandemic didn’t slow her down. During the pandemic when they can’t perform onsite, Fiona led Beats of Bethany to put together virtual community concerts. Virtual concerts demand significantly more time and effort to edit performers’ videos. Fiona stepped in as one of the video editors and spent around 30 hours on this task alone. When there was a shortage of masks in the early phase of the pandemic, Fiona reached out to another volunteer group called “Love with Masks”. Together, they have made hundreds of reusable fabric masks for the senior living communities and PT&E to keep the residents and students safe from COVID. Now entering a new chapter in her life of high school, Fiona strives to lead Beats of Bethany to make a greater impact on communities that are underserved and under-resourced.
Oregon Chinese Coalition is proud to join the President of the United States in recognizing the volunteers who consistently take the time to make a difference in the lives of others. Therefore, it is a great honor to present the President’s Volunteer Service Award (PVSA) to Fiona Zou.