David Wang is not your typical 16-year-old student. Not only is he a zealous teenager enrolled in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program at Richmond Secondary School, but he is also the founder of the registered non-profit organization, Support Diversity in Children (SDC) Blue Ribbon Foundation, a group that helps children with special needs. Since 2010, Wang has successfully upheld the responsibilities of running this organization as the chairman and president. Run by like-minded teenagers who believe in the power of equality, the future goals of the foundation are to spread nationally and set up another base in Europe. Wang was able to set aside some time for Youthink to talk about the goals of the organization, his plans for the future and what makes a good leader.
YT: What inspired you to start your own charity?
DW: During the summer of 2010, I had the opportunity to visit a school for children with disabilities in China. While there, I noticed the difference in standard of living for children with disabilities there [compared to] Canada. I thought to myself, “I have to do something.” These children were thought of as an embarrassment to many families. In fact, the entire school was surviving solely on donations from charitable individuals and philanthropic organizations. The impact was so incredible that I knew I wanted to be able to give these children more opportunities to succeed in life.
YT: What is the purpose of SDC Blue Ribbon?
DW: The purpose of this non-profit organization is to make a difference in the lives of children with disabilities, and to give them the opportunity to succeed in life. This may be through financial or social means. The SDC Blue Ribbon organization is also able to give young people an opportunity to help make a change that will truly impact not only our own community, but communities overseas as well.
YT: What has been the most memorable event of your journey so far?
DW: When I went to the school for children with disabilities in China and gave them school supplies. The thank yous they said and the smiles on their faces was an indescribable feeling.
YT: What are some current goals for the SDC Blue Ribbon Foundation?
DW: Right now, we are running an after-school program for children with disabilities that is concentrated on music and drama appreciation. Some future goals are to help more children with special needs and to expand our programs throughout the Lower Mainland.
YT: How do you balance being an IB student and leading this foundation?
DW: As long as you truly want to, you will always find time. Time management plays a big role in my life. Of course, I have so many roles I must fulfill but starting and running the foundation is something I am driven to do.
YT: What qualities do you think are necessary to be a good leader?
DW: A person who develops the ability to view all positions in any conflict and be able to accept these different points of views.
YT: Do you have any advice for teens who would like to start up their own non-profits?
DW: Don’t let anyone stop you from fulfilling your dreams. There may have been some brick walls I’ve run into since the start of this organization, but I have never let that affect me too much. Now, I’m glad I didn’t let those issues get the best of me because I’ve had some great experiences, met some amazing people and learned some unexpected lessons.