December 22, 2010
By Darla Martin Tucker
RIVERSIDE, Calif. – (www.lasierra.edu) For 20-year-old graduate student Jaylene Chung, aiding those in need is a priority and focus. It matters not whether one person or hundreds are helped in her view, and she hopes to inspire those with resources to take on a similar mindset.
The La Sierra University student is aiming for a career in humanitarian or philanthropic work and has already established a substantive resume of activities that have raised thousands of dollars and aided hundreds. As an added bonus, she’ll be able to jump into her field earlier than most, thanks to a strong work ethic and keen intellect that allowed her to graduate high school at age 13. She attended Pacific Union College and enrolled in La Sierra’s Master of Business Administration program at an age when most students are just starting college.
On Nov. 17, 2010, at Riverside’s Mission Inn, the Inland Empire Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals awarded Chung with the Youth Volunteer of the Year award as a result of her accomplishments over the past months. Those activities included the organization a multi-event fundraiser through a REVO chapter she started. The fundraiser brought in $23,000 for an orphanage in Rwanda. Chung has also volunteered as La Sierra’s short-term missions director and helped at least 50 students travel overseas and within the United States to serve others. This year she will direct a mission trip to Rwanda.
La Sierra’s Office of Advancement nominated Chung for the award, which was among several the fundraising association handed out as part of its National Philanthropy Day celebration. “Whatever organization she works for will be fortunate to have someone who is so in tune with philanthropy and humanitarian concerns,” the department wrote in its nomination letter.
Chung said she was honored and surprised “to be even just nominated for the award. That my school thought I qualified to get the award was enough. When I first found out I was the winner I think I screamed a little because I was so surprised.”
Chung’s interest in nonprofit and humanitarian work came about through her efforts to establish a REVO chapter on campus after her arrival here, and through her involvement in a philanthropy course as part of the MBA program. REVO, based in Hilo, Hawaii, is a movement that helps individuals find ways of raising money for their charitable causes. Its motto is “start a revolution, start with love.”
Chung was involved in Pacific Union’s REVO chapter and wanted to bring the movement to La Sierra. After setting up the chapter, she organized a REVO fundraiser to benefit the Gakoni orphanage in Rwanda. The fundraiser included performances by several music groups, an art exhibit and auction and fashion show with student-designed clothing lines. The effort involved coordinating dozens of volunteers.
“I’m interested in humanitarian work, as well as philanthropy, and I know those two are a good combination,” Chung said of her future plans. “... So I guess we'll see where that takes me. I didn't initially enroll in the MBA program to pursue nonprofit work, but after I did all the work with REVO and kind of got hit with that bug, I thought, ‘yeah, this is it.’ I actually happened to be enrolled in the philanthropy course with Jim Erickson as I was planning for REVO, and that helped me a lot, both practically and philosophically,” she said.