YG Celebrating Its 10th Year
This summer 2021, Young Governors celebrated its 10th anniversary with a huge reunion. We welcomed all of our alumni and current members to rekindle old friendships and build new ones. It was a day to come together to reminisce about old memories. Some founding YG members attended and got to see how their legacies continued since 2011. Young Governors has progressed so much over the last decade. Everyone attending saw how this program was built, continued and changed by our community's youth.
The celebration included a variety of fun activities such as games, photo booths, summary videos and speeches. The games included human scavenger hunt, what's in the box, spontaneous storytelling and human bingo. The official YG mascots were also present, delivering an amusing performance for the audience. Members were able to interact with each other with the photo booths and tours of the old YG room were available.
The planning committee coordinated the whole event and Mandy Yang created the 10 year summary video detailing all the groups and their community projects throughout the decade. It illustrated all of the accomplishments of Young Governors since it began. Since 2011, our members have had ten successful community projects that not only helped better this community but also empowered over 80 teenagers in Elmhurst and Corona. The video was followed by a speech by Delia, our founding director. When she started this program, it was a mere dream, and now it has progressed so much with the help of our youths.
Following her, the Year 10 members introduced themselves and the main project for 2021, “Join the Revolution, Stop the Pollution.” They held a presentation to inform Elmhurst residents of pollution, alongside two park clean ups to advocate for a cleaner community. The members also wrote to the Department of Sanitation, requesting more garbage cans around the neighborhood. The project was a great success with the park clean ups.
Year 10 also surprised Delia, by creating a “Thank You” video with the help of YG alumni. Everyone took part in it to show their gratitude to Delia for creating an empowering place for youth to find and practice their advocacy.
The dinner at Pulau Pinang took place after the reunion party. This Malay restaurant has been a long term friend of YG and the food was delicious. We also had beautiful cupcakes from Anais. A wonderful end to the wonderful reunion celebration. We hope to continue this tradition for years to come.
Our Founding Director,
Delia Kim Sorto
Written by Nhi Tong in March 2014
Before starting the youth-led program, Delia had been through a long life journey where she discovered her dream of working with teenagers.
“The best way of empowering communities is by empowering youth,” she declared. With this firm belief, she worked for over ten years as an active social worker, running youth programs in low-income locations. Indeed, she was in awe to realize the resilience and enormous potential that teenagers possessed. Labeling them “loyal and passionate”, Delia found it a disturbing reality when many youths did not have access to opportunities that channeled their energy into something positive and ended up undervaluing themselves. This sparked in her a desire to develop a program that concentrated on developing youth strength that later would become Young Governors.
Delia with the1st year YGs
However, founding a program independently was not an easy task. To prepare for this endeavor, Delia decided to earn another Master's degree in Public Administration at Baruch College. Having staunch supporters and great professors who affirmed her vision, she ultimately developed a plan. Delia remembered feeling the fear of disappointing people that believed in her, yet she told herself: “If it only lasts for a year, so be it.”
Setting out to build everything from scratch, she sought advice from numerous people. “I probably talked to more people than I needed to,” she recalled. Partnering with Redd Sevilla, the Executive Director at New Life Community Development Corporation, and an old high school friend, Delia found the location for her program.
Delia (in the middle) with the 5th year YGs
One time, when a Young Governor curiously asked her how she remained so happy and youthful, Delia answered: “Don’t stay up late. Don’t smoke. And do something you love.”