Archive for November, 2010

October Update

November 16, 2010 - 9:35 pm 1 Comment

So much has transpired over the last few months; I cannot possibly record everything. As I settle into my New York City life, I continually discover new facets of this complex city and the unique character of the lifestyle here. Halloween astounded me, as the city streets teemed with ornate and creative costumes, each more outlandish than the next. Museums, ice hockey games, jazz shows, botanical gardens, wandering the streets aimlessly, catching up with old friends who I have not seen for years…the list continues. Time – seemingly on hiatus for the last two years – feels as if it has started to move again.

I went to Richmond one weekend to support the Circle of Peace School fundraiser, experiencing a joyful reunion with Joanita, Iria, Jia, and the Givology Spiders chapter. The kindness, goodwill, genuine interest in Givology, and outpouring of desire to help the Peace School truly reinvigorated my spirit. I can hardly believe that in less than one month, one year would have fully passed from my time in Uganda. As one of the most transformative experiences in my life, I still remember each day vividly, as if I were just there.

We released our Annual Report on Givology. In documenting our impact since launch, I felt a strong sense of pride. Over the last year, we more than doubled our footprint! To imagine, Givology started as an idea that came to me in a dream, as I pondered how to rectify the grave inequalities of this world.

This past weekend, I held a workshop on “Business Planning” for the first annual Social Enterprise Boot Camp at Columbia. In meeting so many aspiring social entrepreneurs and activists, I felt a powerful sense of renewal and belonging. In conveying my own experiences with Givology and Generation Enterprise, I only hope to instill a sense of pragmatic idealism, of never compromising a vision, but adopting flexible policies and good business practices to launch cheaply, leverage existing resources, and make a difference, no matter how small.  I never realized how much I missed the environment of a college campus until I entered the gates of Columbia. As much as I truly enjoyed my time at Oxford, it never had the same campus feel as Penn! If For those interested in my presentation slides, please e-mail me, and I’m happy to send them over.

Today, at the last minute, I went to the Upwardly Global 2010 Gala. After learning about the organization, I realized that their cause strikes close to my heart in light of my own family’s experience. Upwardly Global provides highly qualified immigrants the networks, training, and support to find a decent job. Too many immigrants in the US find themselves over-qualified in their current vocation, trapped in a job just to survive and lacking the resources to find a more suitable position. In particular, I found the story of Sandra Plaza inspiring. She was formerly a Professor of Law in Colombia, but after being involved in efforts to combat corruption and receiving death threats for the transgressions she exposed, she fled to the United States with her family as a refugee. Not knowing much English, she ended working as a babysitter for four years.

The Executive Director gave a rousing call to action to end the system where immigrants can gain social mobility only through the second generation. Even in my own family where my mother and father received nearly the identical education, there is a wide gap in their final vocation. I am truly appreciative and deeply grateful to my parents; they’ve given up so much for me, particularly my mother, who abandoned a comfortable and easily successful life in Taiwan to give her daughters the opportunity we have today.

Alas, my thoughts are barely coherent tonight. I will certainly try to post more frequently!