I am Leon Wang and I grew up in Beijing, China and finished my undergraduate degree in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. I love my home country in different aspects, including its 5,000 plus years of history, diversified culture—such as ceramics, religion, architecture, and cuisine—and the rapid development of the economy. Also, China has lots of places with historical interest, such as The Great Wall, the Terra Cotta Warriors, the Summer Palace, and the Forbidden City. If you want to travel to China, I can be your guide.
My week as a fashion design student and fellow at Operation HOPE started off intense as usual, but surprisingly it ended with a rewarding calmness. On October 3, 2014 I taught my very first Banking On Our Future session with Mike Sokolowski. For two weeks I prepared activities and a lesson plan geared on how I would execute teaching my peers about financial empowerment and dignity. My plan was to connect realistically with the intention of relieving frustration concerning financial literacy. When I arrived to the class I was excited to get started!
I was honored to attend the HOPE Financial Freedom Fair during my first week as a HOPE Fellow. The fair took place in Compton, CA at El Camino College Compton Center. The event attracted much participation from Compton residents and it provided a plethora of tools to promote financial freedom. Several partners and dynamic speakers attended the event.
This summer, in my various roles with Operation HOPE, I learned to see both the forest and the tree; a combined focus on the local with an understanding of the whole to create a more holistic approach to financial dignity.
As an entering high school senior, Valeria Diaz knew she wanted to do something important with her summer. She attends East Bay Arts High School where she took Video Production and was trained in Adobe Premiere her junior year. Halfway through the class she knew she was in love and started working on personal video projects with her friends after class. But Valeria is also interested in business, with aspirations to run her own video production company one day.
Considering my background in fashion public relations and marketing, my move into a HOPE Business-In-A-Box Academy fellowship might seem a bit disjointed. However, it serves to bridge two of my greatest passions: business and community service.
I had the opportunity to go to Occidental College today to attend a Leadership Development Breakfast in support of our HOPE Inside Fellow, Anne Novack, who is currently working on developing the online certification course for HOPE Inside Plus as part of her fellowship.
By Hannah Cho, HOPE Business In A Box Academies/ Casey Family Programs Fellow
My journey as the 2014 HOPE Business in a Box Academy/Casey Family Programs Fellow began by becoming instantly immersed in HOPE operations. Unlike other jobs, there was no gradual wade into the water. Instead, I had to dive right in and take on planning and carrying out HOPE Business in a Box Academies (HBIABA) and other HOPE youth...
So many programs, so many doors, so many faces, and above all, so many brand new opportunities here at Operation HOPE. I am mesmerized by the amount of people who are part of this organization, but more impressed by the amount of knowledge I have already gained in my first week as a Fellow.
After working on a fashion line that ensured sustainability and fair trade practices and several nonprofits, Natasha knew her purpose was to help others. Having recently received her MBA from Simmons College in Boston, MA, she attended the 2012 HOPE Financial Dignity Summit and began volunteering immediately at HOPE Inside Ebenezer.
It was on her way driving to Colorado that Hannah McFadden got the call offering her the position of HOPE Fellow. After two years in North Carolina working as a research assistant, Hannah had gotten her ‘itchy pants’ and decided it was time to head for the hills (literally).
It’s been an exciting first quarter for the Fellows, Interns and Loaned Executive (FILE) program! We’ve welcomed a new cohort of Fellows and Interns into the HOPE family and attended some special events.
I am frequently asked the following question by relatives, friends, professionals at networking events, teachers, you name it:
"So, what do you do?"
As I turn the corner on the halfway mark on my year-long Fellowship with HOPE, I have been looking back on my journey and exploring the true answers to this question. Immediately, it might seem that I run around Denver recruiting and training volunteers, scheduling classes with teachers, observing or teaching classes, picking up donations, or sitting in front of a laptop for hours answering emails but, it turns out, that’s really not 'what I do' at all.