February 18, 2012- CAUSE/Arsalyn SAVE Youth Forum [RECAP]
LAPD Deputy Chief Terry Hara kicks off Arsalyn's Youth Forum Mini-Conference at UCLA
CAUSE recently partnered up with Arsalyn for it's SAVE (Student Advocates for Voter Empowerment) Youth Forum Mini-Conference at UCLA on February 18th. The day long conference invited over 300 students from various San Gabriel Valley High Schools to attend and participate in a variety of panels, presentations and activities geared toward youth civic engagement. CAUSE invited LAPD Deputy Chief Terry Hara to be the event's opening speaker, in addition CAUSE also organized two panels: the Legislative Staffer Panel and the Young Electeds Panel. The Legislative Staffer Panel featured Mike Fong from Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's office and Marisol Salguero from Councilmember Ed Reyes' office and the Young Electeds Panel featured Mayor of Diamond Bar Ling-Ling Chang, Councilmember of Campbell Evan Low, City of Rosemead Mayor Steven Ly, and City of Placentia Mayor Jeremy Yamaguchi.
The SAVE program is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that introduces and educates high school students about the democratic process through voter registration, voter education and political involvement programs. SAVE chapters are currently operating at high schools in the San Gabriel Valley of Southern California. The SAVE program was started by a former CAUSE intern in an effort to expose youth to government and to get them more civically engaged and involved. This program has benefited many, most notably, Steven Ly. Ly was a former participant of the SAVE program and has attributed his interest in politics to the program.
Director of Programs Carrie Gan moderated the Legislative Staffer Panel with Marisol Salguero and Mike Fong
Two of our high school Advocates who attended were asked to guest blog and share their experiences from the event:
I was fortunate enough to attend the Inaugural Civic Engagement Student Conference presented by Arsalyn and CAUSE. It was definitely a fun experience meeting the young mayors and other inspiring guest speakers at the event.
The young elected officials all talked about their road to success and patiently answered every question from the high school students present at the meeting. Humorous and engaging, the panel went on for more than an hour, and students listened carefully with great interest. It was absolutely inspiring to hear the young electeds talk about the pains and joys that they encountered in the process of achieving their goals.
Additionally, this event is a significant experience for me. Helping out at the event, I was able to see how an event was set up and organized. Planning and organizing an event was much more complicated than I thought it would be. This experience enhanced my understanding of event planning and also provided an opportunity to improve my skills in communicating with people.
I believe this event is a great opportunity for anyone who is interested in politics, business, or even communications. This interesting and inspiring event at UCLA was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me.
The Young Electeds Panel featured Evan Low, Steven Ly, Ling-Ling Chang, and Jeremy Yamaguchi
As Steve Jobs once said, "stay hungry, stay foolish". All of the young elected officials, including Jeremy Yamaguchi, Evan Low, Ling-Ling Chang and Steven Ly all have this in common: they fight for what they believe in while remaining humble and modest. Being part of the young elected officials panel, I'm honored to say that I've walked away with more motivation than I've ever had. This group of intelligent and ambitious people made me realize that I need to step my game up and think outside the box. We're trapped in a society where everyone strives to fit in and where many lack the drive to make a change in their community. While everyone was playing with legos and barbies at age 10, Jeremy Yamaguchi was looking into politics and campaigning! No matter how many times people told him he was too young and did not have the knowledge to do something so significant, Yamaguchi looked beyond those comments and turned himself into a successful mayor. Yamaguchi's ambitious character as well as his hunger for knowledge sets him aside from the other candidates. Same goes for Steven Ly, who engaged himself into politics at a young age and owns a real-estate business along with his duties of being mayor of Rosemead. Yamaguchi and Ly are certainly unafraid of hard work and making sacrifices, as that is the only way to success. Evan Low, on the other hand, is one of the few openly gay councilmembers in California. Despite the unnecessary, hateful comments thrown at him on a daily basis, Low used his difference to advise young men who are struggling with their sexuality. Low's story of successfully comforting a young man who had trouble coming out to his parents about his sexuality and thought of committing suicide really touched me and made me wonder if I had done anything recently to change another person's life. His story made me realize that putting a smile on someone else's face will also put a smile on my face. I've learned from him that taking out a few moments in my day to even make a small gesture such as complimenting someone on their new shirt or congratulating someone on their math test can make a difference and make that person's day a bit brighter. We must be selfless and take care of others the way we want to be taken care of.
I was also very inspired by Mayor Ling-Ling Chang's speech. No matter how busy Ms. Chang is, she always manages to look fierce in her fitted blazer and Louboutins. Having gone through all the backlash of being a female in the predominately male society of politics, Ling-Ling Chang has built a strong backbone and is not afraid of the difficulties thrown at her. I think of Ms. Chang as a role model for all young women, including myself. In my opinion, the biggest accomplishment in life is that of helping others and making a lasting difference in your world. Mayor Ling-Ling Chang did just that and I truly praise her for it. One day, I hope I can become a strong, yet graceful woman like Ling-Ling Chang.
CAUSE team in attendence: Sophia Islas, Carrie Gan, Stephenie Chen, Jessica Chang, and Carrie Sun