The San Jose Chapter in the Hwarang organization consists of three major positions and a total of ten members with the President being Minjae Kim, Vice President being Joseph Lim, and Secretary being Kaylynn Park. Some of the activities we did as a chapter include volunteering at Hope Thrift (organized by Nathan Kim) and giving out food to the homeless (organized by Kenneth Park). At the same time, in preparation for the Vision Concert, the San Jose Chapter was also hard at work practicing for events such as Taekwondo and a musical ensemble. Right now, with all the history-changing events going on, it is an important time to reflect on what we have done in the past and think about how we can improve as a chapter in the future. Hopefully, this year will have many great things in store for us, and the San Jose Chapter is ready to go after them.
Hello, my name is Minjae Kim and I am the president of the San Jose Chapter in the Hwarang Youth Organization. When I first joined the organization in 9th grade, I was very new to the idea of what it means to work together at something of this scale. As I became Vice President, my sense of being a leader started to grow and develop, and now I feel that I owe it to Hwarang for how much I have learned about leadership. Throughout my time at Hwarang, I got to participate in a wide variety of activities from various committees. Last year, there were a handful of activities that we worked on ourselves as well. One of the activities our chapter does is volunteering at Hope Thrift, a store where underprivileged members of our society can buy amenities and clothes at a cheap price. Our duties there include putting clothes back on hangers, organizing books, cleaning the toys section, and throwing out broken hangers. The toys section was especially memorable. Many of the kids loved playing there; their eyes shone when they played with the various toys we organized on the shelves. I remember one of the kids visiting the store holding up a doll of Mickey Mouse and laughing with glee. The time we spent cleaning up the shelves gave happiness to the community, and it was a valuable experience. Another volunteering session that our chapter partook in was when we gathered money for the Salvation Army. Being able to dress up as Santa wasn’t the only benefit; we also gained a lot of experience. When we got to see firsthand the emotions that people feel when they donate money to a charity, we saw how powerful charities are to not only the people getting helped but also the donors themselves. Next, our chapter helped give food to the homeless. In this place, we saw how privileged we were, and how many people there were who needed help in our city. Before we started giving out food, there were a few stragglers waiting for the giveaway to begin. We quickly found out that some of them loved talking: one of the men immediately came up and started talking about his problems and suspicions. This showed us that the homeless aren’t nameless faces; they are individuals who want attention and relief. Later, when the homeless got their food, their faces looked happy. This gave us a feeling of doing labor for a great cause. Finally, before quarantine began, we got ready for the annual Vision Concert. Unfortunately, it got canceled, but the work that we put in to become a part of Hwarang in the concert taught us diligence and initiative. Looking back at all the activities our chapter has done in the past, not only have I learned a lot about others, I feel that I have also learned about myself. Hwarang lets us experience so many opportunities that we would otherwise never even dream of getting the chance of, one can get a sense of what perhaps want to pursue as a career in the future. As for myself, I now have the responsibility to not only lead my chapter right now but also prepare us for the future. While this year is going to be very different due to the pandemic, I believe we will fight through it and work even harder than before.