Camas teenager honored in national “Call for Kindness” campaign

A Camas teenager is among a small group of ‘changemakers’ being honored for inspiring kindness locally, nationally and globally.

Brooklyn, New York-based Riley’s Way Foundation, named for Riley Hannah Sandler, “promotes a future where caring leaders build a better world and” empowers young leaders to use kindness and empathy to create meaningful connections and positive change,” according to the group’s mission and vision statements.

The Foundation’s annual Call for Kindness campaign, which began in 2019, recognizes young “changemakers” between the ages of 13 and 22 who have created projects that the Foundation says “inspire kindness and strengthen their local, national communities. or global”.

Jean Lin, 17, from Camas, is one of those changemakers recently honored by the Foundation’s Call for Kindness campaign.

The teenager Camas founded her award-winning project, Leaders Across the World, in July 2020 after participating in the US State Department’s Youth Ambassador Exchange Program in Belize and meeting students from around the world.

Today, the non-profit organization Lin’s Leaders Across the World conducted four 6-week virtual exchanges with more than 450 young people from at least 45 countries with the aim of “promoting cross-cultural understanding, developing global knowledge and to empower international participants to eliminate social problems within their communities”.

Lin, the founder and CEO of the nonprofit Leaders Across the World, works with a team of five other young people from across North America, including a social coordination director from Chicago, an events director from Philadelphia, a resource manager from Boston and an outreach manager from Canada. Lin added that while the core team resides in North America, the nonprofit’s regional leaders are scattered across the globe.

The group organizes 6-week virtual exchanges with other young people. Each week has a new theme — young people can discuss environmental issues one week and women’s rights the next — but week six is ​​still focused on leadership skills, Lin said.

“A major thing that comes from cross-cultural learning…is that (young people from) other cultures, other countries have different solutions to problems,” Lin said. “Young people talk to each other about issues within their own communities…then break into groups to (discuss) community changes or solutions.”

The program also provides young experts to help Leaders Across the World participants better understand certain issues and solutions, Lin said.

“We bring in some pretty young experts — under 30 — who have made changes in their communities,” she said. These experts included journalists, environmental activists and members of Future Business Leaders of America.

The nonprofit Leaders Across the World was one of 36 winners of the Call for Kindness and will receive a $3,000 prize.

Lin plans to use the money to help fund projects organized by Leaders Across the World members during the group’s Environmental Advocacy Month in September.

“We are interested in funding about 30 projects and have also secured funding from other sponsors,” Lin said. “It’s an exciting initiative.”

Shonda Smith, director of communications at Riley’s Way Foundation, said the organization’s Call for Kindness project is dedicated to giving “incredible young leaders like Jean more exposure.”

The Foundation also likes to continue to uplift its Call for Kindness recipients, Smith said.

“Once you’re a Call for Kindness Fellow, you don’t leave,” Smith said. “We had fellows come back and do demonstrations for us, for the staff.”

When it started in 2019, the program had between 10 and 20 Call for Kindness Fellows, Smith said. Today, the program rewards nearly 40 young people each year.

Founding her own cross-cultural nonprofit proved to be an uplifting and eye-opening experience for Lin.

“This experience was a really good learning opportunity…to learn more about my local community and places around the world,” Lin said. “These young people are passionate and really invested in what they do. They invest in helping their communities. It inspired me.

Lin, who was born in Taiwan and immigrated to Clark County in 2008 and moved from Vancouver to Camas in May 2021, is an incoming senior at Union High School.

When not busy hosting virtual youth exchanges for leaders around the world, Lin is involved with her local Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) group and has served as a state officer for the FBLA for the past few years. last four years.

“It’s been a huge part of my life,” Lin said of FBLA, “(teaching me) essential leadership skills, public speaking, planning events (and doing) social media presentations. “

Lin was a competitive swimmer for eight years. Although she stopped swimming during the COVID-19 pandemic, Lin said she plans to get back into sports.

Lin lives in Camas with her family, including her parents, Roger and Doris Lin, and her sisters, Ashley and Joanne.

The family’s move to Camas in 2021 proved successful for Lin.

“I love nature here. I like going for walks with my parents,” Lin said. “We go there every day if the weather is good. We walk around the neighborhood and cross the park. I like Camas.

Lin also enjoys traveling from her home base.

“I would like to visit different parts of Asia,” Lin said. “I’ve been to Taiwan…but I’d like to visit Korea or Japan. I love the culture there.

To learn more about Leaders Across the World, visit leadersacrosstheworld.org. To learn more about Riley’s Way Foundation and its Call for Kindness campaign, visit rileysway.org and rileysway.org/call-for-kindness.

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