09-27-2006 13:53

"Everybody has some kind of disability, it could be physical, it could be mental, but you have to learn how to accept this disability. The most important thing is don't let it stop you from doing what you want to do", said Patrick Chang, Founder of PEN, Patrick English Network.

Born in 1973 in the United States, Patrick speaks fluent Chinese, thanks to his keen interest in Kung-fu novels at a young age. With a dream of becoming a knight, he was a versatile student good at martial arts, tennis and swimming. Practising swimming three hours everyday, he stood a good chance to attend the 1992 Olympic games. But a diving accident at age 13 paralyzed him from the chest down and turned his life path in another direction. Though one dream ended, a legend began. With support and love of his family and friends, he overcame many obstacles to become a Ph.D. candidate in Economics at Stanford University only six years later. Amazingly, he even got a driver's license. Patrick said his driving test was the lowest score he has ever received in all examinations. But, as we can see, it was a big step that displays his determination of leading an independent life.

At the age of 18 when Patrick came to China for the first time, he experienced the warmest welcome in his father's hometown in Beilu, Ningbo city. Realizing the importance of education, he made a decision - to establish a scholarship foundation with the 200,000 US dollar trust fund given to him by his parents. Since then, over 100 students receive a scholarship every year.

Patrick's experience and character attracted a lot media attention. Tianjin TV Station produced a TV drama named "The Symphony of Life" based on his life story. By chance, people noticed his magnetic voice. Inspired by their compliments, Patrick, together with his sister Michelle, created PEN Radio and the PEN123 website, Now Patrick is working on a new project which will provide free training to over 1000 volunteers of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

But English Education is not Patrick's entire career. His current job is as a consultant of many big names in the corporate world, such as Yahoo and Johnson & Johnson.

Join us in this episode of "Up-Close" to know more about and learn from Patrick Chang, a role model who teaches much more than just the English language, he teaches life lessons.

-- Written by Chai Haoran


Editor:Wang Ping