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Showing posts from December, 2012

Second Year Belle: Birtu Belete

I love Christmastime more than any Jewish girl that I know.  I'm not sure if it's the Christmas carols, cozy winter clothes or the spirit of giving, but there's something about the Christmas season that makes me happier than any other time of year. The Salvation Army's Annual Sears Holiday Shopping Spree  reminded me exactly what Christmas is about. One hundred  boys and girls between the ages of five and eleven were given a hundred dollar gift certificate to buy essential items for the holiday season. I had the privilege of shopping with four wonderful children all of whom inspired me and made me feel so lucky for all of the amazing opportunities I've been given. The children were so conscientious and good-natured, it was amazing to see how well these young kids understood the value of a dollar. They were so gracious and I could tell that they appreciated the time we were spending together. I think the highlight of my day was when one of the little boys I shopped …

Pauley Pavilion Opening

I have only known Pauley Pavilion as a large, closed off structure that I only vaguely noticed as I walked to campus. Rushing past construction workings, attempting to avoid large bulldozers and equipment as I sped down BruinWalk with my iPod blasting, I had no even considered the purpose or history of the building. Then, in a rush of donors, bright lights, and the rolling of red carpets, I was able to witness the unveiling of the new Pauley Pavilion.
A night of elegantly dressed donors, casually mingling with champagne, I was in wonderment of the prestige and sleekness of the Pavilion. I never would have guessed what was occurring behind that chain link fence last year as I passed by would lead to such an awe-inspiring structure. As a bruin belle representative, I welcomed guests and helped with the security and planning staff in charge. I felt privileged to stand there with my Bruin Belle nametag. Many donors attending the gala even commented on my association with Bruin Belles. Thre…

My Experience So Far

Coming in to UCLA as a transfer student, I have to admit that I was pretty nervous. The school I transferred from only has about 900 students, so going from that to the largest school in the state, with about 40,000 students, was a bit of a shock at first. There were so many people, so many activities to get involved in, and way too much to process at first.
I had known about Belles because my mom’s cousin was a Belle during her time at UCLA. I knew it was a highly regarded organization prided on professionalism, leadership, and service—but what I didn’t know is that I would find my true home on campus and become a part of it. Getting the phone call that I had been accepted as a Belle was the highlight of my week, but little did I know that it would quickly become the highlight of my quarter as well! Belles has literally become a second family to me, and a place to belong on a campus full of strangers. It’s 80 of my best friends. I have become a part of one of the most amazing groups of …

S.O.A.R.: Saturday Opportunities for Adaptive Recreation

“Don’t be afraid to throw the ball.” Normally, when playing the rough and rowdy game of dodgeball, you wouldn’t have to tell me this twice. But when you’re the only one left on your team, and the opponent you are facing is a 14-year-old girl with cerebral palsy leaning precariously on crutches, you have to be told twice, three times, maybe even ten times, that you shouldn’t be afraid to throw the ball. And there I was, clutching a foam dodgeball, mind racing a million miles an hour, and despite what the adaptive recreation supervisor was telling me, I was afraid of throwing the ball.


Backtracking a bit, this was my second time at the SOAR—or Saturday Opportunities for Adaptive Recreation—program. The first time I went, I had an eye-opening experience playing wheelchair basketball with kids who had various disabilities, ranging from cerebral palsy to Downs syndrome to autism. Nothing makes you realize how lucky you are like shooting a basket while standing, and then being put into a whe…