After starting work, I felt like something was missing. Back at UC Santa Barbara, I was very involved with my community from the extracurricular orgs I was a part of to the events I helped organize. I was itching to be involved in my community again since I’ve moved into the city. Over the past 4 months, I got to do exactly that and had the privilege of working with BAYCAT, a Bay Area non-profit who seeks to end stereotyping by providing education, jobs, and access to low-income and underrepresented youth in storytelling and filmmaking.
BAYCAT caught my eye from the get go with a mission that truly resonated with me and is contributing towards a positive social change that I see happening today. In recent years, Hollywood has made more of an effort to include more diverse stories like Fresh Off the Boat, Crazy Rich Asians, To All The Boys I’ve Loved, and The Farewell... Growing up though, the landscape was very different. One of the few instances of Asian representation that I could remember as a child was Mulan, and Mulan became my FAVORITE movie of all time (and still is haha). It incorporated so many dynamics I experienced day to day -- from the internal struggles between duty to self vs duty to family to learning how to have faith in myself. Most importantly, Mulan looked like me. I felt like I COULD become a badass warrior if I put my mind to something.
My hope is that as I grow older, there will be more stories put out into the world that are more representative of everybody and at the same time, perhaps inspire someone or teach people to become more open-minded. That is what attracted me to BAYCAT and the experience has been nothing short of fulfilling. My team and I have been working on building a recruiting model that can simultaneously place BAYCAT’s talented students into the creative industry, which notoriously has high barriers to entry, while creating a source of funding for the nonprofit so that they can increase their self-sustainability.
This opportunity was only possible for me through YCore, a philanthropic organization, which partners with local community-based nonprofits. YCore connects young professionals who want to make a social impact to nonprofits who are over-worked and don’t have the resources to hire more people for their amazing initiatives. Through YCore, I was able to directly work on a cause I care about and help make a difference, all the while developing new skills, having challenging conversations about the overlap of ethics and technology, and working with people who are passionate about driving positive social change.
I usually never ask for donations, but working with BAYCAT through YCore has truly been a terrific and rewarding experience for me and YCore would not be able to continue to drive social change with their nonprofit partners without the resources necessary. I am raising $1,500 to support YCore’s growth and to spread this incredible opportunity to more young professionals. It would mean the world to me if you can consider donating your next Starbucks coffee/boba fix or anywhere from $10-$100 to my fundraiser. Donations can be made through GoFundMe, my Venmo @AnnaL724, or PayPal paypal.me/AnnaL724. Contributions made via my Venmo or Paypal would allow me to apply donations to my workplace’s 1:1 matching. This means for every $1 you donate, my company contributes an extra $1 as well!
More on YCore below:
YCore mobilizes young professionals to advance community-based social impact by teaching them to deploy their time, money, skills, and influence as partners and advocates.
We envision a world where local community members—regardless of age, background, and socioeconomic status—learn from one another, advocate for each other, and work hand in hand to advance equity and social justice.
As today’s young professionals, we are hungry to make a difference on issues we care about, but many of us lack the tools, knowledge, and connections to be effective agents of change. We want to support equitable solutions to systemic problems, not just as a reaction to social media and current events, but as part of our daily lives. Positively impacting our communities is not a task for the future. It’s an imperative today.
Community-based organizations work hard to address inequities in our society, but though they are experts in their fields, they often lack access to diverse resources that allow them to effectively pursue their missions. We have the opportunity to leverage our energy, skills, and networks alongside those already working towards sustainable positive change. We seek to be neither consultants nor saviors, but partners and amplifiers of the voices most impacted by social, environmental, and economic challenges.
In YCore's four-month, after-work program, fellows partner with community-based nonprofits to work on a strategic volunteer project. During this time, they attend bi-weekly workshops on design thinking, nonprofit fundraising, and the systems that contribute to inequity in their communities.
Our programming is designed to help fellows build the knowledge, connections, and foundation they need to reach the next stage of their impact journeys. Our alumni stay involved as volunteers, associate board members, donors, and advocates, and many transition careers to mission-driven or nonprofit organizations with the help of the YCore community.
My nonprofit group:
BAYCAT: We are working with BAYCAT to empower low-income, diverse youth to use their passions in filmography and videography to elevate their economic position.
Other Summer 2019 YCore Projects:
826 Valencia: Develop a dataset tool to help understand the current status of their volunteers’ involvement and form a strategy to improve volunteer engagement so that the organization can support more under-resourced students with their writing skills.
Acumen America: Provide marketing content and impact communication strategic guidance and produce 3-4 thought pieces to highlight key successes and learnings of Acumen America its social impact investments to date. Build a communication framework and handoff materials to make this a repeatable process moving forward.
Housing Rights Committee: Identify strategies and tools to effectively gather, analyze and act upon key tenant and petition data at scale for HRCSF, an organization that prevents eviction and displacement in San Francisco.
Larkin Street Youth Services: Redesign their website to better convey the scale of the Youth Homelessness issue in San Francisco today. Focus on rethinking the messaging on this organization’s home page, simplifying their site navigation, and enhancing the flow of the website to guide visitors to donate and sign up for an email list.