Hey everyone, Matt here. I finally figured out how to upload pictures on WordPress. Here is a picture with the librarian Dayni Kuo, that helped us coordinate the event that happened on December 5, 2009 (She was extremely nice and very receptive). Just to add on to what Cindy said earlier, we all had a great time and it was a good idea to bring many different brochures in various languages. In Chinatown, English is not the primary language. Many of the kids were young, but our target audience was the parents and I feel like we successfully spread the word on Hepatitis B.On the far left is Dayni, then Patrick, Jon, Myself, and Cindy. Not present but missed was Sarah Kim, who was slaving away in a classroom taking the SAT. She performed her own outreach with her school club.
It just feels weird to walk around town in a bright green Team HBV shirt. You, or rather I, feel very out of place and… poppy. But when I see another flash of green, I instantaneously feel a connection of brotherhood (sisterhood). We’re two oddballs popping to save the world.
Yet, even this fuzzy feeling of sisterhood fades when you stand alone with a sign, a sign everybody looks at, but nobody reads. During the Hepatitis B Awareness Week, I decided to carry on some outreach events at my school- I mean, literally. I made huge signs and hung them around my neck. Wearing that same verdant t-shirt, I held my head high. But my cheeks burned with… awkwardness? Embarrassment? It’s hard to say.
The sign had a bunch of hepatitis b facts such as “1 in 10 Asians or Pacific Islanders have Hepatitis B.” Great. And “1 in 4 carriers of chronic HBV die without proper treatment.” Impressive. When you think about it, these facts are surprising indeed. But people seemed more interested in me than those facts. And more in me with the funky sign than in me.
As I walked down the hall looking like one of those card men from Alice in Wonderland, I felt many eyes bearing into the sign, then on my face. “Who is this weirdo?” those eyes seemed to say. And my face burned.
It’s a good thing to carry out health outreach events especially because I live in a neighborhood where Asian sighting is very common. But why does it feel so awkward? Why is it so embarrassing to walk around school and pass out brochures to a bunch of normal kids? The kids’ suspicious yet amused looks are understandable. Maybe there’s something on my face, my hair. But when I look at them, I feel myself becoming small. I set out to save the world, to become a hero, but I stand in front of those who do not wish to be saved.
Perhaps it’s the indifference of the community that causes this awkwardness. People are naturally suspicious of fliers. They are scared that I might ask for a donation, or for a minute of their shopping time. They have places to go, I know. People walk busily past my outstretched hands and popping signs. They avert their eyes, preferring not to look upon my embarrassment. Or they hide their own embarrassment with loud laughs and false applauses.
But there’s a problem with me too. I do not wish to stand out, just as I loathe to think I might be the one in ten. I do not want to be so aggressively different. Our society demands that we conform, at least outwardly. And when something pops, we push it back down. Yet, there is something squirming in me that makes me want to pop, despite the embarrassment. No, it’s not plain teenage rebelliousness against society. It’s not all about the fuzz of sisterhood either. It’s about the purpose greater than myself, greater than that awkward moment. It’s the purpose that’s achieved every time a death is averted, every time someone completes the course of three shots for HBV. The day we hear that HBV has been eradicated, that purpose will have been accomplished. Then I’ll stop popping… Perhaps.
This is what I feel/felt as I participated in JRYC outreach events which made me stand out from the crowd. It’s based on last year’s hep b week events at California High School 🙂
2009 has run its course, and JRYC is about to face another exciting semester. How we started out as a group is amazing… Everybody is so talented, and we had so many good ideas that the meeting room was filled with brain sparks, if that makes sense. I want to start by thanking Mindy, Nicole, and Diana for being such faithful leaders and helping us to organize our ideas. It was great to have you all behind our backs as we planned various activities (especially those requiring legal permission and complex technological feats!).
I’m really excited to plan and carry out the numerous ideas that we came up with in the first semester. The project Asian is definitely impressive, and it has so much potential, just like the JRYC 🙂
I’m really glad that JRYC was able to close the semester with a great experience, carolling and “pitching” in SF. Although I couldn’t be there, I was there in spirit! What a picture it must have made, to see green elves singing around Union Square and calling out to people on a mission to save lives… sorry for the elf thing, but the poppin green shirts do look elfish… haha
I hope that everyone will get his or her thinking caps on as we meet again to discuss new exciting plans! Happy New Year!
Today marked the advent of the first ever Jade Ribbon Youth Council Caroling Outreach Event at Union Square in the decked-out city of San Francisco. Donning the vibrant, green Team HBV shirts, the JRYC, under the leadership of ALC intern Dylan Kim, caroled away the afternoon. Singing classic songs such as “Frosty the Snowman” and “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer,” we made sure to wish our spectators “A merry Christmas and a Hep B free year!” But, of course, it wasn’t all about the singing. I mean, we do have a cause. After a quick recap of the perfect elevator pitch, we split into two groups – the caroling group and the elevator-pitching group, with council members alternating between groups as the afternoon progressed. Ultimately, the caroling attracted quite a few people, and I, personally, was able to “pitch” to around ten families.
But the outreach didn’t end there. I guess there is much credence to the statement that things happen when you least expect it. For example, after our caroling, we went to dinner at the food court in the Westfield Shopping Mall. While I was placing my order at the savvy Bistro Burger, the cashier, spotting the Team HBV across my chest, casually asked me about Hep B. (Time for an elevator pitch). And when we were heading home on BART, a man, seeing all of our HBV shirts, also inquired about the Hepatitis B virus. Needless to say, we were all prepared to answer.
And lastly, to me, this outreach was as much about Hepatitis B as it was about the JRYC, and by that I mean the first thing Nicole told us at our first JRYC meeting – team bonding. Riding on a train, trudging through San Francisco, singing in Union Square, eating dinner together, how could we not bond? And so to conclude, I can merrily say that the JRYC emerged from this outreach as one stronger, more cohesive council.
Archbishop Mitty High School
The Jade Ribbon Youth Council tackled yet another library this past Saturday (December 5, 2009). Members present included Jessica, Anna, and myself; we were also fortunate to have Diana, Mindy, and Brittany, a member of the Gunn High Team HBV, join us as we performed yet another Peter and the Wolf at the aesthetic Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library in downtown San Jose. Even better was that one of the staff working in the children room (where this event took place) – Rigo – happens to be affiliated with the Asian Liver Center (connections!).
Unfortunately, while the set-up and run-throughs went well, the rainy Saturday afternoon did not bring many people to the children’s room. Yet, a quick library announcement (I can hear it right now – “Jade Ribbon Youth Council presents Peter and the Wolf…”) was all we needed to bring in a crowd. Ultimately, the turnout was not bad as we were able to perform to around 10-15 children plus their parents.
In the end, it was yet another Peter and the Wolf success story for the JRYC. Next on the list: caroling!
Archbishop Mitty High School
Our very last meeting was packed with food, jokes, progress and at the end a smidgen of caroling. While another fruitful semester awaits us, there is still one last project we have—caroling! We have decided to sing a selection of popular Christmas songs like “Deck The Halls” and “Jingle Bells” in Union Square next week and outreach through elevator pitches, brochures, posters and other items. Look out for a group of high school students wearing bright green Team HBV shirts and Santa hats! Our earlier project, the Peter and the Wolf library skits, have been great outreach successes to kids and parents. Groups generated between 10 and 30 spectators.
We have also decided to minimize our focus on our B-Linked newsletter, so instead of a newsletter or blog digest, we will be incorporating a JRYC section into the Stanford Asian Liver Center Annual Review. We are currently ramping up our online presence through the Team HBV site and JRYC Google site to direct more viewers to this blog.
Until our angelic voices can be heard from Union Square to wherever you may be, have a magical winter holiday.
Aragon High School/Middle College of San Mateo
On Saturday, December 5, members of the San Jose/Cupertino group tackled the Cupertino library to put on the stellar play: Peter and the Wolf. Led by returning members Yvi and Evaline, members present included Stefanie, Angela, Anne, and myself. (I hope I didn’t forget anyone?) After some minor technical difficulties in raising the projector to the desired level (a problem settled by placing the projector upon stacked children’s books – how convenient), we were ready to go. Unfortunately, the audience wasn’t. Yet, after some serious recruitment and multiple library announcements, we had slowly amassed quite a crowd of around ten families. The play went without a hitch, but the true stars were the children. One boy, who looked to be around four years old, answered Evaline’s question “What does a vaccine do?” by answering something along the lines of “It helps make antibodies.” Talk about smart. As we wrapped up the play, we got the craft project – Make Your Own Liver – underway. I must say we had some very interesting livers – blue, purple, flowery, squiggly. You name it and it was there. Ultimately, my first Peter and the Wolf outreach was a smashing success.
On to MLK,
Archbishop Mitty High School