My name is Lyon Ui Chung, and I am the founder of Leaders United for Change. I created this organization on March 2019 in hopes that students could share their talents with their community. Initially, our organization focused on sharing our love for instrumental music with our community. I created a small ensemble with friends at my school orchestra to play at nursing homes and hospitals—sharing live music with those who could not move to other areas.
On September 2019, I realized that students could also share their gifts from school, whether it is academic knowledge, study strategies, or even school experience. Initially, we started with only five mentors and five students teaching at a small office every other Saturday night. Fortunately, as time passed, we were able to discover many more mentors in our community! As the number of our mentors increased, we looked for spaces that could fit our members and tried contacting various schools, gyms, and churches. After speaking with the pastors of a local church, they offered us their space at the Oriental Mission Church where we grew to over thirty mentors and thirty students. Our first crisis occurred with the coronavirus pandemic. It prevented us from meeting face to face and the mentoring program was unable to continue.
About a month without any mentoring sessions, our students started to ask us if there was any method they could still receive mentoring, as they were having difficulties learning with online school. We thought about possible solutions to this problem and decided to move our mentoring sessions to Zoom with inspiration from our school. With this solution, we were not only able to continue our mentoring service, but also mentor more students from all over the world without the necessity to move to the same location. Currently, we are proud to announce that we have over two hundred fifty mentors and two hundred fifty students that attend our sessions every week. Our students are from over fifteen states as well as South Korea and China. Also, our mentors are from over ten different states and four different nations, including South Korea, China, and Colombia. Some of the schools represented by our member are Harvard Westlake, Marlborough, Philips Academy, Choate, Seoul Foreign School, and Shanghai International School. Further, alumni members will be or are currently attending respected schools such as Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, Yale, Colombia, and Brown.
Our goal is to create a society where no student fails in their educational adventure because of a lack of resources. Further, we call ourselves as a mentoring service because we wish to create relationships with our students to become older brother and sister figures whom they can trust rather than just robotically inputting information into their brains. In the future, we hope that our students will return as mentors to share their knowledge to their community for a continuous cycle of love and volunteerism.
Although this small dream only started with a few people, I am surprised and touched by the volunteerism of leaders from all around the world to help their community. The collective volunteerism of our leaders have allowed us to provide thousands of hours of service, and I believed our leaders have joined together to truly embody the name of Leaders United for Change.