By Kristine Sorensen

UPPER ST. CLAIR, Pa. (KDKA) — An 11-year-old Pittsburgh-area boy won the 2020 President’s Volunteer Service Award from President Joe Biden for the time he’s spent volunteering during the pandemic.

It all started with an interaction with his baby sister, who was born two weeks before everything went into lockdown.

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When Upper Saint Clair Schools went remote last spring, Aaron Chi’s mom — Annie — saw her then-fourth-grade son was bored and encouraged him to learn something new. He picked up origami and Rubik’s Cube, but that wasn’t enough.

“I noticed that he was still bored, although he picked up two hobbies,” Annie said. “There was one day that he was trying to teach his 2-month-old sister the Rubik’s cube. So I think he probably was bored.”

Annie learned about kids teaching other kids on the website Youth Development Resource Consortium, so she suggested Aaron try teaching. He started teaching Rubik’s Cube and origami and now also teaches reading, all live classes online with kids around the country.

“I’ve learned how to organize myself because you can’t have this jumble of words, your slides not organized, when you present to people,” Aaron said.

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Aaron also learned to be patient — something that’s helping while teaching his baby sister to walk, talk and read. He also learned to find the positive in challenging situations.

“The thing about the pandemic was unexpected. But then, once it led to so many great benefits to us, that was also unexpected,” Aaron said.

Aaron and his family never expected recognition for his volunteering, but they hope it leads to more people taking and teaching the online classes.

“We were very surprised and happy, too, for him to really realize the value and the benefits of helping each other, especially during this challenging time,” Annie said.

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You can take Aaron’s classes for free here.

Kristine Sorensen