Today’s guest post is written by Liu Zhen Huang, a graduating senior at Baruch College Campus High School and a member of the inaugural generationOn National Youth Advisory Council. She first began her volunteer work with generationOn’s Service for School Success program and through work at Asian American for Equality, a nonprofit that works to help new immigrants from China. Most recently, Liu worked independently with students in her community including Asian Americans from her own school to educate them about staying in school.
Through attending service events and being a member of generationOn’s Youth Advisory Council (YAC), I have broadened my views on the importance of youth service. In March, The Points of Light Tribute Event and the generationOn Youth Advisory Council leadership training event brought the YAC members together in Washington D.C., and it was a remarkable experience. I met not only the generationOn staff but the nine other YAC members who have since become my close friends and trusted colleagues. I was also able to serve alongside my new colleagues at a local community for veterans with many more volunteers.
Later in April, I was fortunate enough to attend generationOn’s Hasbro Community Action Heroes Award Ceremony. I found myself learning to socialize and interact with adults, many of whom work under the umbrella of Points of Light. It was a great opportunity for social networking and meeting like-minded youth that share my passion for service.
Furthermore in June at the National Conference on Volunteering and Service (NCVS), I gave a presentation called “Let Us Lead” in New Orleans, encouraging adults to involve more youth to serve in their organizations. Never before had I ever been involved in such a big conference, I became familiar with a variety of nonprofit organizations, received a Daily Points of Light Award not to mention engaging myself and my mission to the media. The past year, I’ve experienced a great deal of unique learning experiences full of different opportunities and personal accomplishments – and I owe this all to becoming a member of the generationOn YAC.
Joining the YAC has changed and transformed my life. I have learned to be a more assertive, independent and responsible civic citizen in my community. I am now more aware of the environment I live in, am able to recognize the community issues that I am unsatisfied with, and by cooperating with my YAC peers, I know I can make a difference in my community. Throughout my journey with the YAC, I have galvanized more and more of my peers to donate their time and talents, like painting and planting flower bulbs at local parks in New York City. At the beginning of school year, I also managed a 9/11 tribute event. Joining the YAC has changed my attitude in life, I am now more mature. I feel appreciative when I hear other people say thank you to me or how they enjoyed serving others.
If you happen to be a teenager between the ages of 13 – 18, I encourage you to apply for the next generationOn Youth Advisory Council. GenerationOn is a platform that allows you to grow both personally and professionally. You will be forever bonded and supported by your YAC colleagues, and the adults and mentors on the generationOn staff are also always there for you whenever you need them. There is no greater position than being a member of the generationOn’s YAC. I recommend every youth across the country to apply today!