YEAH Kick-Off 2012

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” –Nelson Mandela

YEAH audience are too excited to start the school year!
YEAH audience are too excited to start the school year!
Senior Program Mentors, Alyssa Tio and Denice Sy
Senior Program Mentors, Alyssa Tio and Denice Sy

We are in school for a reason. We know the advantages of receiving formal education as well as the positive impacts that we’ll be able to draw from it for our community and ourselves post-graduation. We all have ambitions and we are driven to achieve them. Otherwise we would not be in Haas in the first place. However, what if we were deprived that opportunity? What if we only lacked the initiative to do better because we did not know life outside our zones of comfort? This is the problem that Young Entrepreneurs at Haas (YEAH) seek to address in hopes of creating a progressive future for underserved youth.

Hundreds of volunteers, parents, and student participants came together at the Andersen Auditorium today to kick-off the school year with YEAH. There was a diverse mix of new and continuing YEAH participants and volunteers, all equally eager and enthusiastic to learn from the program and contribute to YEAH’s success.

The UC Berkeley Men's Octet put on an awesome show!
The UC Berkeley Men’s Octet put on an awesome show!

To start the orientation with energy and excitement, the UC Berkeley Men’s Octet graced the attendees with their presence, singing a handful of songs that made the audience burst with smiles, amazement, and laughter. One of YEAH’s 12th Grade mentors, Kashyap Valiveti, is also a member of the male a cappella group, making their performance all the more gratifying.

Now that the YEAH parents and participants were hyped up, YEAH directors proceeded to talking about the advantages of being in the program and the lifelong impacts that YEAH elicited. YEAH’s mission is “to excite, educate and support” low-income students into developing a passion for something larger than themselves. This is done so by helping the youth take advantage of their education while integrating business principles and the spirit of entrepreneurship in the process. Haas’s director of diversity initiatives, Eric Abrams, had a few words to say regarding the issue.

Eric Abrams speaks at the YEAH Orientation

Abrams defined entrepreneurship not simply as a means of starting a new business, but rather in the context of taking ownership and control over each of our own individual lives. He shared the powerful message of taking education and making the most out of it, as opposed to simply receiving it. We cannot afford to wait for it to be handed to us. Finally, emphasis on “Doing well and doing good” was the core action that Abrams conveyed. We have to do well so we can do good for others, and this genuine urge to go beyond oneself is what YEAH hopes its graduates or alumni really take away from the experience once they’ve achieved their goals and become accomplished in life.

Nonetheless, there are still more steps to take before that can be done. It is part of YEAH’s aspired outcomes that its participants leave the program with a healthy self identity, as well as healthy family relationships, in order to become economically self-sufficient after pursuing their AA and/or BS degrees. YEAH’s curriculum’s will definitely set the youth for success. Participating students are expected to become skilled in written and verbal communication, be able to work in teams, speak and present oneself confidently, think critically, and become determined to take on life’s challenges and opportunities.

Lucas talks about the High School Program
Lucas talks about the High School Program

Overall, YEAH is truly an avenue where both student participants and mentors can benefit from. There is experiential learning, leadership experience, networking opportunities, and potential advancement that volunteers simultaneously develop while assisting and working with the kids and giving back to a greater cause. I am a mentor for the high school senior program at Haas, and I am beyond stoked to guide my students in their UC applications and personal statements.

There is much more to the middle school and high school programs, and each grade level involves various expectations and outcomes. YEAH volunteers do not need to be in Haas. As long as you are a Cal student with a desire to have fun and positively influence others, you are more than welcome to join the team! What are y’all waiting for? This is your chance to make a change. GO BEARS!

YEAH Seniors enjoy a little ice breaker game before heading back into the auditorium
YEAH mentors have fun!
YEAH mentors have fun!

To donate, contact: Jennifer Bevington at jennifer_bevington@haas.berkeley.edu

For the middle school program: Olive Davis at omdavis@haas.berkeley.edu

And for high school programs: Lucas Abbott at labbott@haas.berkeley.edu

Or visit YEAH’s website at: http://www.haas.berkeley.edu/groups/yeah/

Denice Sy
Class of 2014

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