Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I currently attend the University of California, Davis. I started the first student GiveLight chapter at Dublin High School, which I just recently graduated from. I like to call myself a student activist and humanitarian. Throughout high school, I was involved in clubs and organizations focused around community service and advocacy work, whether it be for children and their rights to food and education, or educational outreach debunking stereotypes about my religious identity. Service and hard work are my most central values.
What compelled you to start the club at your high school?
Since I was young, I’ve felt the need to engage in things like community service, and do my very best to help people in whatever format possible. I took it upon myself to create an active, fast-paced, goal-oriented service club that would provide many students with the ability to make a change and impact the world as much as they could at this age. The GiveLight Club became a way for my voice to be heard, for me to speak out about the struggles of numerous children over the world, and for others to feel the need to help out in any way possible. The work they do is genuine, personal, and uplifting. I absolutely love that the outcomes of all their efforts are visible and apparent. I did some research on GiveLight before making the decision, and the multiple pictures of children’s smiling faces developed an immense excitement and love for the organization in me. I remember thinking, “This is the work I want to see done, and this is the type of work I want to be a part of.” I knew that the best way for me to make as big an impact as possible and help the organization in a positive way was to use the resources I had available and create a student club at my school.
What made you think that this was an important issue to be addressed?
Providing any support possible for children is important to me simply because I know that I have the power and resources to make a difficult life less of a nightmare. All people are deserving of joy, education, love, and support throughout their childhoods so that they can grow and live up to their fullest potential, and perhaps one day enhance the lives of more and more people.
By starting this club, what awareness do you hope was brought to light within your school’s community?
There are many community service clubs on our campus, but what sets the GiveLight Club apart is the reinforcement of why we do the events and activities that we do. Consistently, club members were reminded that they should be active and participate in activities not only because they can earn credit, but because the work we do and the efforts we make affect people around the world in ways that we can’t even comprehend. I hope that GiveLight Club members and others in my school community developed a love and desire for creating change and understanding what their work could potentially mean to another person.
How has the response been to your club on campus?
I witnessed the GiveLight Club grow every year. Over the years, it went from 80 members to somewhere close to 200. My officer team and I would swell with pride every time our meetings would cause our advisor to fret over the fact that the number of people in each meeting was doubling, and tripling the room’s capacity. But it wasn’t just the sheer number of members and attendance that grew – it was also the reputation and rapport the club developed. Especially during club fair weeks, walking along the halls of campus, we’d hear excited chatter, the name “GiveLight” tossed around dozens of times from corner to corner. I’d dare to say that over time, GiveLight has become one of the leading three reputable clubs on campus, with an army of dedicated and passionate humanitarians to back it up. What types of events did your club run? We had several events, but we mainly fundraised for international causes, participated in local community services (such as park clean-ups, volunteering at soup kitchens, and garden volunteering).
How is the club still thriving at your school even after you graduated?
I graduated last summer, and right around that time, my team and I held serious rounds of an official application process. We wanted to make sure that this key to teamwork was not missing from the next group to take over, and we knew we needed people we could trust. I truly believe that a strong organization is the result of strong leadership with an inspired, dedicated, and committed group of young students. The current president and I are in contact, and he keeps me updated about the major achievements and setbacks that the club faces as a whole. Their talents and hard work are evident in what the club has accomplished thus far this school year.