When they were juniors, Amy Yeung and best friend Katelyn Jacques started Hearts for Adolescents at Lewiston High School to raise awareness and money for homeless youth. Their next fundraiser is May 6 at Lewiston Middle School (6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., tickets $5 adults/$3 seniors and young kids).
So far, money’s gone to buy school supplies like backpacks and notebooks. At Christmas, they played Secret Santa.
This fall Yeung heads off to Georgetown University to major in international relations. Co-running Hearts has given her events-planning experience that she’d like to make a career out of.
Name: Jar Wei Yeung (however, I go by Amy)
What drew you to homeless youth? As a child, I watched my friend move and come back home every two months, living at her grandmothers, friends, aunts, etc. Every time she moved, she had to switch schools. This was very painful for both her and the Martel School students who were good friends with her. Just before our senior year started, she moved again. I can’t imagine going through high school without a stable home to live in. With all the peer pressure and changes a teenager already goes through during high school, it’s hard for me to imagine the problems homeless teens face. I chose homeless youth because I know how hard it is to fit in at high school, especially if they have to start all over every two or three months. It is also very hard for a homeless youth to excel in school when they are worrying about where they will be sleeping tomorrow night, or where they will find a proper meal to eat.
What can people expect at the fundraiser? We have asked for some guest speakers who have dealt with the homeless and are trying to get someone who has experienced homelessness to come and speak. We will also have little facts, slide shows, and/or video clips that will provide some information. As for the entertainment, we really wanted to promote all the arts so that young children, starting at the elementary level, will start getting more involved. We have performances from the drama club, dancers, musicians, vocalists, and even a culinary arts demo. There will be acoustic songs played, beat boxing, hip-hop dancing, and even fiddling.
After you graduate, what becomes of Hearts for Adolescents? I am really hoping that there will be a sophomore or junior who is willing to take over our foundation. At this point, we haven’t found anyone who is really dedicated to take over the responsibility.
You recently gave advice to eighth-graders getting ready for high school. Remember what you had been nervous about back then? Just like the eighth-graders, I was worried about the amount of school work, and how hard my classes would be compared to the middle school. I was nervous about trying out for the high school District II Orchestra and terrified of trying out for the All State Music Festival. I was a little nervous about being in classes with students older than me, mainly because up until eighth grade we were put into classes with people who were our age. Lunch was a big deal for a lot of my friends, hearing rumors about the seniors and upperclassmen scared a lot of the eighth-graders.
Anything you’re nervous about with college? In some ways, I feel like I am back in eighth grade. I recently received a scholarship that pays for the tuition and even more. Keeping that in mind, it makes me nervous about the work at Georgetown. I do wonder if the work is much harder and if I will be able to maintain my GPA and keep this scholarship. Georgetown is a very diverse school full of students who come from all over the world. I’m a bit nervous to meet them and to be in classes with people who may be much smarter and more experienced.
Two things you’re most looking forward to at Georgetown: Recently, I found an internship called the Event Planning Internship at the White House. This is the reason why I applied to Georgetown and it is exactly what I plan to do as a career. This internship helps students learn how to organize and plan events working closely with Congress. This internship sounds like something that I would really enjoy! I am very excited to get out of Lewiston and explore the world. I am really looking forward to study abroad (hopefully in China and London) and join many of their extracurricular clubs.
DC is a hotbed of social activism — plan to get involved in any causes down there? If I get a chance, I am thinking about starting Hearts for Adolescents down there, and helping the homeless adolescents in the D.C. area.