Thursday, August 13, 2020

Youth Brings New Life to Boutique

Yijia (Cindy) Xing was finishing a chalk drawing of a long slender tree. It seemed to gracefully bend, following her fingers. Branches with hanging leaves spread in different directions, extending its reach.

“This represents the mother of life,” the 16-year-old artist said. Child-like angels under the tree, she noted, “bring news of new life.”

Drawing of tree with student artist
Yijia (Cindy) Xing (photos by R. Stronach)

Likewise, Yijia has been helping to bring new life to West Side Boutique as it prepared to reopen during the lingering pandemic. The boutique’s blackboard walls also feature characters from the Disney movie, Lion King, and from the Disney cartoon, Lilo and Stitch. Flanking a display of costume jewelry are portraits of two princesses – Cinderella and Snow White.

Soup kitchen guests got to appreciate her artwork when the boutique reopened Aug. 12, and Yijia and three other students (Grace Zhang, Richard Chen and Leon Zong) got to help them (under pandemic guidelines that included temperature checks, face masks, limited visitors at one time).

Yijia (Cindy) Xing
Yijia, who is entering her junior year at Notre Dame High School, learned about West Side Kitchen and Boutique from her “host sister,” Grace Zhang. A long-term international student, Yijia hails from Liaoning Province in northeast China.

“She has been here since she was in 8th grade,” noted Grace, who herself just completed her freshman year at Cornell University. After high school, Yijia hopes to attend college in the States, too. 

Regarding the soup kitchen and boutique, she noted:

“This is a very good place. They’re helping people, which is very valuable in this community. I am very glad I have the chance to be a volunteer here.”