Thursday, Apr 15

A family joins the Tzu Chi family

June 09, 2019 | Jonas Trinidad

Shanelle Ngo admits to being an introvert before joining the camp. Her fears of adapting to an entirely different social environment, however, are short-lived as she found new friends among her fellow camp attendees. 【Photo by Aaron Pugal】

Story Highlights

  • From watching programs on DaAi TV, the Ngo family walked into the Tzu Chi path by becoming volunteers. Shanelle Ngo is the latest in the family to take this path, having just earned her Tzu Chi Youth uniform.

  • Shanelle joins her father Paquito and her elder brother Patrick among the ranks of Tzu Chi’s growing family. A self-confessed introvert, she’s no longer afraid to show her feelings with others.


The recently-concluded 19th Tzu Chi Youth Still Thoughts Camp is the springboard for youths who wish to make a difference in today’s world. Over the course of three days, youths ages 14 to 25 learn what it takes to be a Tzu Chi member, they learn about the discipline and the responsibility that every member of the Tzu Chi family uphold. For many, it’s a path that they have chosen for themselves.

For Shanelle Ngo, such a choice is relevant to her family—nearly everyone in her family has their own way of being a part of the Tzu Chi Foundation.

Being the younger of two siblings, Shanelle joined the camp after her father and brother urged her to. Her father Paquito became a Tzu Chi volunteer after joining the New Volunteers Training Camp in February. Her elder brother Patrick is a Tzu Chi Youth member on his second year and serves as this year’s camp disciplinarian.

“Our family knew about Tzu Chi a long time ago since we grew up watching [DaAi TV]. My brother Patrick was the first one to join in the Youth camp two years ago and he was influenced by the Master’s teachings.” said Shanelle.

Their father Paquito saw a drastic change in Patrick’s attitude after joining the camp. He became more helpful and grateful, not to mention more modest in his words. Upon learning about the New Volunteers Training Camp, Paquito wasted no time in signing up. His experience in the Volunteer camp was real and profound.

“In the past, each one of us will be minding own businesses. But now, thanks to Tzu Chi, we have a common topic to talk about and we work together to bring happiness to others and help them realize what Tzu Chi has done for us,” said Paquito, who had been wanting to join Tzu Chi for the past ten years.

Paquito also invited his own brother to attend the English version of the New Volunteers Training Camp last March, this time, it was Shanelle’s turn to join the Youth Camp.

“I want [Shanelle] to experience a new environment and meet a new circle of friends. As human beings we should be able to mingle with different kinds of social environments,” said Patrick.

But for a self-confessed introvert like Shanelle, the first few hours of the camp were not easy. In her sharing on the last day of the camp, she admitted to being insecure and losing interest in public speaking upon reaching adolescence. Nevertheless, she had something to prove by sharing in front of her fellow attendees this time.

“Even though I don’t like public speaking, the reason I volunteered to speak here on behalf of my group is to show all the introverts here that we don’t always have to hide or keep things to ourselves. We have the people around us to share our feelings with, and I think this is something that Tzu Chi has taught me and something I’ve learned from this camp,” she shared.

  • Patrick Ngo, the eldest child of the family, is the first to join Tzu Chi as a Tzu Ching. Years of watching DaAi TV programs with his family has influenced his decision to join the foundation. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • Shanelle (second from left) joins her groupmates in performing their group cheer. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • Words flow from Shanelle's pen to her letter for her parents. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • Shanelle reunites with her family after the camp at the Great Love Campus's Jing Si Hall. 【Photo by Abraham Torres】