Written by Brandon Tran
I’ve been in REACH since my freshman year of high school and I’ve always enjoyed attending the events whether it would be a field day with friends or volunteering for the annual Lunar Parade Festival. However, as I’m in my last year with REACH I wanted to do something that would help out the organization and hopefully leave a tradition that will continue for years on. Thus, came the idea of hosting a social, as in the past I’ve attended multiple socials usually hosted by the Asian organizations of UCF (University of Central Florida) and I wanted to bring that to REACH as it would help raise money and as well as give opportunities for everyone to make new friends and have fun.Honestly at first, I was really nervous on how the social would turn out as it was my first time organizing a social, so I went to seek advice from some of the previous REACH officers and current officers of the UCF Asian Orgs. Eventually, I was able to schedule a date for our first REACH social with Ice & Bites on December 1st; Overall, I would say REACH’s first social was a success as we were able to raise around $50 and everyone who attended had a good time with boba tea and socializing with their friends! I’m glad that I was the first to have this opportunity of organizing a social for REACH especially in my last year before I head off to college and again, I hope this is something that will be able to continue on and help contribute to the future of REACH!
Written by Praveen Sundar
2018. What a year. Many events have happened this year, ranging from the good, the bad, and the ugly. Yet there is one positive that came out of 2018: Asian representation.
2018 has been the biggest year in terms of Asian representation, representation in all mediums. From BTS paving the way in the music industry by winning Billboard’s Favorite Social Artist, to Chloe Kim in sports by winning a gold medal in women’s halfpipe in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics. As well as most recently Catriona Gray winning Miss Universe for the Philippines. Yet Asian representation arguably reached its peak in the film industry this year.
With the release of films and TV shows such as: Killing Eve, Patriot Act,and To All the I’ve Loved Before Asian culture has finally made its way into pop culture. But the biggest movement in pop culture of Asian culture was made by the movie Crazy Rich Asians. Crazy Rich Asians, the first major movie with an all Asian cast in 25 years, since the Joy Luck Club. This movie was not only a breakthrough in Asian representation, but also a hit, with a 91% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Personally this movie was one of my favorites of 2018 because of the cultural significance. Being a Malaysian, I was instantly drawn to a movie set in Singapore. One specific scene in the movie struck a major chord, the scene involved the main characters Nick and Rachel and their friends going to a night market and buying food. This scene made me nostalgic of the times I used to do the same with my family, one of the few times I resonated with an American film culturally. Yet the ethnic background of the characters played a small role in the actual plot of the story, making the movie simply a rom com with a full Asian cast.
With 2019 just around the corner the opportunities for Asians to breakthrough on the silver screen are only increasing. Such as the upcoming live action Mulan and Aladdin along with a plethora of other movies and TV shows. In the future we also have the sequel to Crazy Rich Asians: China Rich Girlfriend to look forward to. 2018 has only been the start of major Asian representation.
Written By Alex Tao
This year was the second year that myself and REACH participated in the UAP Christmas Mall event. For those who don't know what the Christmas Mall is, every year, United Against Poverty, an Orlando-based organization that fights poverty, holds a mall where parents can shop for Christmas presents at an affordable price. This event always happens on the second Saturday of December and requires many volunteers and donations. This is where REACH is involved in the process. REACH officers from different schools collect toys from ASA's, honor societies, and other clubs that they are associated with. These brand new toys are then sold in the mall at either $1, $3, or $5. In addition to supplying toys, REACH officers and volunteers also help out on the day of the event. This year, we were able to have around 50+ volunteers show up and help around the center. One of our main focuses this year was in the recruitment of Spanish speaking volunteers, since many of the families shopping at the mall are of Hispanic origin. We were able to get around 8 volunteers from different schools by contacting Spanish Honor Societies and offering hours for their members if they came to the event. This year, I worked in the parking lot and I can definitely say that it was a lot more smoother than last year. UAP was able to assign families specific time slots, so, this year, there wasn't any congestion in the parking lot. My second shift was working in the grocery program, where I stocked and cleaned the shelves with a couple other volunteers. Overall, the event was a success, and we were even able to finish cleaning up ahead of schedule.
Written by Jiselle Lee
REACH volunteered at United Against Poverty (UAP) Christmas Mall for the second time on Saturday, December 8th, 2018. At this event, I was an in-charge of the grocery market volunteers. It was my first experience as an in-charge, so I learned a lot about my leadership abilities. Stepping out of my comfort zone, I directed the large group of REACH volunteers by separating them into smaller groups, and I managed their workload by assigning them specific jobs to do. Together, we were able to finish cleaning and sorting through all of the shelves in the grocery market in under eight hours, as well as help out some of the customers along the way. This was an exciting experience of self-discovery for me; we achieved such great success from our hard work. The UAP Christmas Mall is a great event to practice taking initiative and team building. Future REACH officers and volunteers should keep an eye out for this event because it is a great opportunity to exercise these fundamental life skills.
If you are interested in United Against Poverty and want to learn more about how you can help their cause, visit their website: https://uporlando.org/get-involved/volunteer/
If you want to volunteer for the REACH in the near future, look out for the volunteer registration sheet for our next event, the 2019 Dragon Parade Lunar New Year Festival.
Written by Megan Trinh
I was excited to be the senior emcee for the Asian American Heritage Council’s scholarship event. I enjoyed the emcee meeting before the ceremony to gain an understanding of the program and learned the process that goes into the event every year. The board members of the council dedicate a lot of money and time to incentivize the next generation of Asian leaders to pursue the path of diligence and Asian preservation. As a member of a generation that is actively trying to connect back to their cultural roots, I felt a sense of importance and felt that I was part of something bigger. Harvard’s recent issue with affirmative action shows that there are obstacles that Asian Americans still face that limit their dreams, but now that Asian Americans are gaining more media attention and paving their own paths, there will be nothing standing in the way of them achieving their goals. The ceremony was carried on with efficiency and I am glad I got to meet Amber Wei, my co-emcee. She is two years younger than me and I already know that she will have a promising future. This was a great opportunity for me to practice my public speaking. I even want to emcee UCF Asian organization events in the future, if possible. Ms. Fontanilla who acted somewhat as a mentor for Amber and I said that I have a strong voice and could do great emcee work in the future.
Check out the event here! http://www.aahc-cf.org/scholarship.html
Written by Alex Tao
I started dragon boating around mid July, linking up with C.H.A.R.G.E and practicing with them almost every Saturday morning. Although it was grueling to wake up at 6 in the morning on the weekend, I still decided that I was going to make the commitment and try it out. Since I wasn't able to dragon boat last year due to my age issue, this year was my first year as a paddler at the festival. It was an amazing experience to compete in an actual race with my fellow REACH members. Although we didn't place, we were still able to make it into Division B, seeded at 24. It was impressive to see a team full of high schoolers take on teams that had professional dragon-boaters. At the final race I was approached by Anthony, one of the team captains, he told me that I was going to have to drum in the last race, something that I had never done before. Since a girl had not shown up and we had to keep the gender ratio balanced, the boat seating had to be moved around. I weighed light enough for them to choose me to be the drummer. I was really nervous in the beginning, but came to realize that being the drummer was actually quite fun. Overall, it was a good first time experience for me and I definitely plan on coming back next year!
Written by Tak-Kai Wong
Dragon boat is a great, fun experience that I would recommend to anyone! I paddled in REACH's 2018 Dragon Boat team for the Dragon Boat Festival/Asian Expo. Honestly, I was honored to actually paddle with the team. Dragon boat, to me, is a great way of keeping touch with my Chinese cultural heritage. Even so, everyone participating in Dragon Boat were friendly and helpful. Dragon boat, as a whole, taught me many new values that I would keep to heart. It taught me commitment and perseverance. Honestly, at the beginning of paddling, I was not a very good paddler. I'm still not even that great at it. But the feeling of passing the finish line, the feeling of wanting to accomplish a goal, is something that no one ever wants to forget. What's a better feeling than crossing the finishing line with your team? Rather than stick to the bottom, I loved the feeling of the team sportsmanship I encountered in Dragon boat. The teamwork in Dragon boat intrigued me. There was a variety of different characteristics in the people paddling for Dragon boat, but somehow, a group of teenagers from different schools banding together and synchronizing, utilizing their own strengths were able to create the REACH team. If given the chance to take up the paddle again and again, I would do it as many times as I am able to.
Written by Jesson Medenilla
Personally I was really excited for this event. Having to participate in the 1st annual REACH out as a high school coordinator for the organization was a blast in my opinion and having to take part of the 2nd REACH Out field day was truly an honor. This event helped me become more open towards other people, shaping me into a better person in a way, realizing that the world we live in isn’t always so gloomy. That we high school students (and even high school graduates) can always have fun and still meet new people that’s outside our respective realm. Personally this event is a great gateway for new members to understand the “human” side of REACH, having to interact with past and present members in games is always a joy in my opinion.
The event’s main purpose is to have members interact with other members, getting to know each other through playing games and/or simply just interacting with one another. This event is a pretty good gateway for fresh, new members to come into the organization and meet the current officers of REACH. Personally, this is the closest thing you can have as a family reunion with having games, food and fun, and being part of REACH already feels like having a second family, helping one another no matter who you are, it’s literally Reaching out.
Being part of this event and participate in it for 2 years always feels like an honor. I highly suggest new members to participate in it and to show the “human” side of REACH. This is a great way for relationships to build up with one another and a great way to improve one’s social skills and add up in those confidence points. Overall, 10/10 would do this event again, and will be excited for next year’s version of it.
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