A Voice of Belonging: The Dragon Kim Fellowship

Updated: Nov 9, 2020

Photo Courtesy of The Dragon Kim Foundation

When I first learned about The Dragon Kim Foundation my sophomore year, I was scared to let my voice and experience be heard. However, Mrs. Hogan told me that my voice was more powerful because there were many children that needed to hear the story of someone like them. My partner Jessica and I ultimately decided that there needed to be people that will look out for these children and that should be us. We decided that we wanted to empower our students, our community, and our people to feel that they belong in this community and this country. So, we applied to the Fellowship with our project idea, “Children Read Together.”

There are times when students feel invisible, and not the kind where we are superheroes, but rather the ones that are never seen or heard. I felt that I needed to help children who were struggling with English being their second language with our project Children Read Together.  It is not a nice experience to feel that we do not belong in a place just because a student does not sound like the others. As a second language English learner, I preferred not to raise my hand in class because I feared that my words would not sound right. There are many times that my invisibility stopped me from achieving great things. 

Alexies and Jessica with their Children Read Together students

Completing the Fellowship was not easy. We received many “Nos” from principals and parents that thought we were not ready to start our own program. In the end, Children Read Together had around 60 elementary participants. We met many children who needed our help and our smiles. I met a little boy whose parents were separating and he was just so happy he was able to do something else than be at home. I let go of many fears with the Dragon Kim opportunity. The Foundation gave me power and made me feel that I was born with a purpose and that my voice matters. 

If you ask me, “Are you still invisible?” I would say yes, but in a whole new way.  I feel that I have this power in me that the Fellowship helped me discover. It’s something that I will hold in my heart for the rest of my life.  Now, I am invisible because I am a superhero and am here to help children become visible with the support of me and my partner.

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