A Community Moved

Anyone who has been in the international community even a short time knows how tight-knit this circuit is. We are more than colleagues. We are more than friends. We are family. I have been teaching abroad my entire career, and never has that been clearer than in the past couple of weeks.

From requests to reach out to Canadian politicians, to updates on my news feed out of a ravaged Kathmandu, to fundraising pages set up for individuals in need, the past few weeks have seen this community move with an awesome display of force and love to support one another.

Today, I write because of a man I have never met, but who, as part of our network, has moved me to take action. Given the expansive reach of social media and the closely bound circuit that we international educators encompass, it’s likely you have already heard Jonathan Sokoloff’s story. Jonathan, a teacher at Beijing International Bilingual Academy in China, was in a horrible scooter accident this past weekend, and is currently on life support in Beijing. It is a tragic and horrible story that could happen to any of us. Nobody ever wants to think about the awful what-ifs of a life abroad, but this is the worst nightmare of our families…a nightmare that just became reality for Jonathan’s loved ones back home in the USA.

I do not know Jonathan personally, though I have seen posts of his on the Facebook page I help administer. These posts reveal a man who is passionate about education and who has been soaking up his last months in China before moving on to a new location this fall. He is one of us.

It is through this group that I learned of his accident, as well as the fundraising page set up in his honor. Jonathan’s friends and colleagues in Beijing, knowing that his family would need to secure last-minute visas and flights, set up an Indiegogo Life page to collect donations to assist them. The costs of medical evacuation and transfer are astronomical from China, and every contribution has been helpful and appreciated in the quest to bring Jonathan home to his family.

My week has been consumed with thoughts and prayers for a stranger who could easily be a colleague, a friend, a family member. In this community, none of those are too vastly different from one another.

If you would like to contribute a donation to help bring Jonathan home, please go to Indiegogo Life.

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One Response to A Community Moved

  1. Shannon Fehse says:

    I was saddened to receive news today that Jonathan passed away last night in Beijing. Thankfully, he was in the presence of friends and family. While he now rests pain-free, his family is charged with the immense task of dealing with the logistics and finances to get him home. The Indiegogo page remains open for donations during this time, and I’m sure that all thoughts and prayers sent their way are appreciated.

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