Daniel Choong responded to a request for volunteers to help create a mentoring center for youth in Littleton, which appeared in the Denver Post the day after the Columbine tragedy. He signed up to be a mentor and to help in any other way he could. He has kept that commitment by donating more than 2,000 volunteer hours in the past year. He has attended every event, every service day, and most extraordinarily, he has helped at the mentoring center almost every day since the doors opened on July 31, 1999.
Choong is the first in line to help with any problem or concern. He has overcome his own shyness to help others. He drives from Denver to help youth and has rearranged his work schedule, including reporting to work very early, so that he can be at the mentoring center to provide after school activities from 3pm until 8pm for the teens.
He also provides conflict resolution and helps teens to consider all aspects of their actions before making decisions. He provides help to learning disabled teens and helps students who have been expelled from high school to earn their General Equivalency Diploma (GED). Choong also helps involve teens in service projects such as Peace Day and making pasta for people with AIDS. He helps to motivate and empower teens to make their world a better place. Through his work, Choong has helped to bring together diverse groups – the cliques and stereotypes now melt away when teens walk through the doors of the mentoring center.
One teen that Choong has taken under his wing has gone from an angry introvert to an outgoing, assertive and fun young man. One time, when he was especially concerning about this child, Choong went to the teen’s place of work and told him that he would be at the mentoring center until the teen came in to talk. Choong waited at the mentoring center well past closing time until finally the young man came in for a game of chess and a heart to heart talk. Choong may have very well saved the life of this youth.
Daniel Choong has proven to be an incredible gift to everyone at the mentoring center. He is a teacher not only for the teens, but also for the adults. At just 26 years old, he has a wisdom that is well beyond his years.