CCA student named Bank of America Student Leader

Olivia Yang was selected as a Bank of America Student Leader.
Olivia Yang was selected as a Bank of America Student Leader.

Olivia Yang, a rising senior at Canyon Crest Academy, was selected to participate in Bank of America’s Student Leaders program, a program that offers students who are engaged community citizens the opportunity to build their workforce and leadership skills through a paid summer internship at a local nonprofit.

Unlike previous years, this year’s internship was completely virtual for the 300 students selected nationwide, including four from San Diego. Olivia’s internship with the YMCA San Diego started June 22 and ran through the end of July.

Olivia Yang

According to Bank of America, recent estimates suggest that the number of youth who aren’t in school and don’t have a job has likely tripled since last year and could be as high as 18 million. Without access to opportunities that build career skills, many young people may be left behind, leading to high rates of youth unemployment and hindering overall economic progress.

“Now more than ever, as we collectively navigate the challenges we face in our communities, Bank of America remains committed to supporting young adults of all backgrounds by connecting them to jobs, skills-building and leadership development,” said Rick Bregman, San Diego market president, Bank of America. “Creating opportunities for our youth to gain skills and build a network is a powerful investment in the future of our community.”

Olivia’s personal experience in founding her own nonprofit-affiliated club ignited her interest in the Bank of America internship.

When she was a freshman at CCA, she founded the Sports for Exceptional Athletes club. The San Diego-based Sports for Exceptional Athletes offers athletes with developmental disabilities opportunities to participate in over 20 different sports in four seasons. A competitive figure skater, Olivia helps coach these exceptional athletes on the ice. Due to COVID-19, the Sports for Educational Athletes program has also shifted online and Olivia and other student volunteers helped create online workouts for the athletes to stay active.

“I’m hoping to find a way to still help the athletes because we’re all stuck at home,” Olivia said.

Prior to the pandemic, Olivia was training with the San Diego Figure Skating Club about four to five times a week in the mornings before school, competing in figure skating competitions throughout the year.

Olivia also volunteers with the school Key Club, a high school branch of the local Kiwanis Club, and at Scripps in the radiology department. She speaks Chinese fluently and also is a paid tutor for middle school students. The college application process is just starting for Olivia—she is very interested in the field of STEM, especially biology, and is considering a medical career in the future.

As part of the Student Leader program, each student received a $5,000 stipend. Over the course in the six-week program, Olivia participated in virtual sessions to learn about the role nonprofits play in advancing community health and the importance of public-private partnerships to drive social change, while building financial acumen.

Along with the three other San Diego student leaders, she participated in a story banking project, developing an efficient process to collect and document impactful stories about YMCA of San Diego County member experiences that can be used in fundraisers to generate donations. She enjoyed the change to get a peek behind the scenes at the way local nonprofits like Goodwill and Ocean Discovery Institute run effectively and the impact they can have on the community.

“I thought the program was really well-run and organized, despite the pandemic. I personally was able to learn quite a lot because of the national and local components,” she said.

One of the most meaningful opportunities for Olivia was the virtual “Young America Together at Home” program. While the summit is typically hosted in Washington D.C., Olivia was able to virtually join the 300 other student leaders from across the nation to talk about policy issues such as the economy, healthcare, the environment and immigration. Delivered by the Close Up Foundation, the program encouraged the young leaders to use their voices in order to affect change and find solutions.

Olivia said it was impactful to be able to speak to all of the other students with diverse backgrounds from all over the country about the issues they are facing, “I got to look outside of the Carmel Valley bubble I live in,” she said.