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Showing posts from 2018

Making a Difference

There are several Belles events that hold a special place in my heart, one of them being the quarterly dances at the Veterans’ Hospital. Some of my most meaningful moments in Belles were spent there, from dancing with some groovin’ veterans to meeting some of my dearest friends for the first time. It is a place where I feel like I am truly making a difference in the lives of others. Last year, I attended the winter quarter Valentine’s Day Dance where I met Bill. Bill was a kind, elderly veteran who I encouraged to join us on the dance floor. Though he was hesitant at first, he got up and started to dance, and happily at that. He smiled and twirled and laughed while telling me that he hadn’t danced in a long time. As we all boogied in a big circle to Come on Eileen, Bill told me that, in his youth, he had been an actor, a movie extra, and a stunt double in an old crime movie. We continued to talk about his life and mine, exchanging interesting stories. At the end of the dance, he thank…

A Sense of Belonging

Being surrounded by the incredibly driven, selfless and compassionate individuals that are Bruin Belles has been so fundamental to me finding a sense of belonging at the immensely intimidating and overwhelming institution that is UCLA. I am continually inspired by the ubiquitous drive to serve and learn among belles, despite the wide diversity of academic interests, campus involvements, and career aspirations. BBSA has allowed me to give, learn, and grow in ways I would have never expected, all while having a lot of fun. Some of my best memories range from making meaningful connections over coffee at Kerckhoff, engaging in hands-on philanthropy projects, and networking with incredible alumni and connected professionals. 
To be frank, this quarter was both mentally and physically exhausting for me as I continue on my search to find my interests and niche at UCLA. However, seeing Belles every week kept me energized, positive, and motivated as I navigated through draining back-to-back s…

Home Away from Home

During my second year at UCLA, my mentor and then current Bruin Belles member, Runi, convinced me to apply to Bruin Belles. She said it was her best decision in college and promised I would meet people that would inspire me. Her promise held true. I could not imagine going through college without having Bruin Belles in my life. As soon as I attended the first Bruin Belles meeting, I knew I found my home away home. All the members were so enthusiastic to meet me and the whole club welcomed me with open arms. Through Bruin Belles, I was able to participate in many philanthropy events, including my favorite, the Veterans’ Halloween Dance. At this philanthropy event, we serve food to the veterans at the VA Hospital and dance with them. It heartwarming to see the smiles on their faces when we would do the “Cha Cha Slide” or the “Cupid Shuffle” and it was rewarding to be able to give back to those who served our country.
Because of Bruin Belles, I have met a supportive group that has stuck …

The New Lana

I will never forget this conversation with my mom last year. She said “I like this new Lana, you seem happier.” It came out of nowhere but really encompassed how I was feeling. This was about one month into my acceptance into Bruin Belles, and I knew that it was the reason for my newfound optimism. In my first two years at UCLA, I joined a sorority hoping to find a community to belong to on such a big campus. Even though I had a great experience there, something was missing. When I had heard about Bruin Belles at the end of my second year, I was so excited to apply! It sounded like a great, service-oriented community. Bruin Belles has turned out to be so much more than just an organization- it became my home.
Bruin Belles has made me a better student, professional, friend, leader and just overall a better person. I have had the honor of meeting absolutely radiant women of different backgrounds and majors who truly inspire and support me everyday. I remember being at Open House as an a…

Finding My Family

As an incoming Freshman, I was incredibly anxious about going to college and finding my niche. I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to become involved in or how I was going to even find friends. After passing by the Bruin Belles booth at the Enormous Activity Fair, I immediately knew I wanted to be a Belle. It had already begun to feel like a second home, filled with passionate women with the kindest hearts. I was especially thrilled when I found out that one of my closest friends from elementary school would be in my baby belle class. I was so excited about everything in store for us and the amazing adventures we would have in our first year as Belles. 
Fast forward to a year and a half later and I am having the time of my life. I have participated in so many phenomenal philanthropy, women’s leadership, and campus culture events and bonded with all the amazing women apart of my organization. Over the past year as a Belle, I have connected with so many women who have become some of my…

To Two Glorious Years

During my two years at UCLA, I had been quite involved in various campus organizations. However, I still felt like I had not found that one organization that would make me want to eagerly wait for the next week just so I could attend meetings and work on events and programs with my fellow Bruins. After hearing about Bruin Belles, I thought I had found the one organization that checked all the boxes. However, after I applied, got in and went to our first event (Fall retreat) was when I was truly sure that Bruin Belles encapsulated everything I wanted in a college organization because Bruin Belles is so much more than just another college organization. Through Belles, I have met some of the most phenomenal and incredible women who inspire me everyday to help and empower others. It was at Fall retreat when all the older Belles welcomed me and all the other baby Belles with open arms that I found myself part of a community that has played such an integral role in my college career. From at…

My Support System

While there are many words that reflect all of the wonderful attributes of Bruin Belles, in my opinion the one word that best defines this incredible group of women is supportive. There is nothing that quite compares to the support that comes from Bruin Belles. Belles are there for you if you need mentorship, want to discuss world issues, need someone to lean on, want someone to volunteer with, and truly everything in between. These women are always there for you, especially when it comes to supporting the things that you are passionate about; for me that is fighting Pediatric HIV/AIDS. Every year the Pediatric AIDS Coalition at UCLA, an organization I am a part of, holds a 26-hour Dance Marathon during which we take a literal stand to raise money and awareness to support the end of pediatric HIV/AIDS and the stigma that surrounds it. For me what makes Dance Marathon special is the support of Bruin Belles. Bruin Belles never fails to have a team of passionate, fun, and philanthropic w…

Bittersweet End

It’s two weeks out from graduation. I just ordered my cap and gown and my diploma. I am finishing my final papers and presentations. I am beyond excited for the next chapter of my life, but I can’t help think back on my time with Belles. Joining Bruin Belles my freshman year gave me a home at UCLA. It is true that big schools are overwhelming and with 31,000 undergrads, UCLA sure is a lot to take in. So I took a chance on Bruin Belles, and it changed my life. I have met my best friends in the world in this organization – strong, independent, passionate woman who will always have my back and encourage me to be a better person. Bruin Belles has given me the chance to make a difference in the Los Angeles community and give back to the area that has given me so much. Between reading to children at elementary schools on Saturday mornings to pulling weeds at nature reserves, I truly believe I have improved Los Angeles over the past 4 years. On top of that, Belles has made me realize the pow…

The Impact of Others

Looking back upon the my last 3 years at UCLA, it's impossible not to reminisce about the people who have had a powerful impact on my time here thus far. Each and every member of my belles family has inspired me with their passions, taught me something new, and blessed me with their friendship. I am so grateful to have these incredible ladies alongside me! Each of them has something that they care about deeply, and they are willing to sacrifice so much to serve the people around them. 
Some of my best belles memories are when my big belle, baby belle, grand big belle, and all my other family members were revealed! It brings me so much joy to look back on all the memories and laughs we've had and to think of all that is to come. It's the moments like Women's Leadership Conference when you sit alongside each other while learning what it looks like to live empowered lives, like getting to know your future grand big for the first time at Disneyland, and like running aroun…

Expanding My Horizons

One of best things about attending UCLA is the sheer amount of diversity on our campus. From our student body to the number of majors offered, there are so many unique aspects to being a Bruin. And yet, as a second year pre-medical student, I found myself missing out on all of this. Day in and day out, I would be attending the same science classes, with the same classmates and participating in extracurricular activities with other students that had the same career goals as I did. As much as I loved being a STEM student, I knew I didn’t want to graduate from UCLA without meeting people with different interests, hobbies, career goals, perspectives, and experiences. Bruin Belles was the organization that made that dream a reality.
I remember walking into fall retreat (my first event ever!) for the first time and feeling nervous. I was outside my pre-med, science, healthcare-focused comfort box, and I wasn’t sure how I was going to fit in with all the other Belles. It only took a few minut…

Belles Unite

From Bruin Belles events that we host such as Women’s Leadership Conference, Winter Retreat, and Play Day to events that we attend such as Dance Marathon, Relay for Life, Challah for Hunger, LAB School events, and more, there is always an event to look forward to during the year! The Women’s Leadership Conference is one of the most empowering events, not only because we hear from incredibly accomplished and inspiring women, but also because we create a safe space for open discussion among attendees. These conversations make us cognizant of our commonalities, differences, hurdles, and strengths as well as reduce stigma around issues that too often are not discussed. The conference this year was entitled “Rooted and Reaching”. I personally interpreted this theme as a reminder to embrace individual and collective strengths and values that come from each woman’s roots and how they have propelled her through obstacles to develop resilience in the pursuit of her goals. The conference unites…

Belle Bonds

As I finish up my third year in Bruin Belles, I want to reflect on the friendships that I have made. First, finding out who my baby Belle was and then, a year later, finding out who her baby Belle was are two memories that remain with me today. I remember feeling so excited knowing that I would have these two girls to share my experiences in Belles and at UCLA with. The countless number of events that I have attended plays a large role in the relationships that I have built. Bruin Belles has such a diverse group of women with so many different experiences. It is through these opportunities that I have really gotten to know my fellow Belles.

Sharing the extraordinary experiences with those in Belles helps strengthen the friendships we build. I have attended galas for several nonprofits, sorted clothes for children, decorated locker rooms, and so much more. I have been on the Golden Globes red carpet and on top of the Capitol Records building. I have been on many brunch excursions and h…

A Perfect Weekend

Being a part of Bruin Belles is undeniably unique because there is no other organization at UCLA that allows a person to undergo professional development, participate in campus traditions, and engage in rewarding philanthropy events all in one place. Although Bruin Belles makes a profound impact on the community when you look at the organization as a whole, the true secret to what makes Belles so special actually lies within each member. The success of BBSA is only possible because of the way that each individual Belle leads her life with selflessness, compassion, and confidence. I’ve witnessed these qualities embodied in every single Belle, but we’ve all heard countless times that you don’t really know someone until you’ve lived with them, and I was fortunate enough to test this theory by spending a straight 72 hours with a group of ten Belles on a recent trip to Lake Arrowhead. Whether we were discovering cheesecake in a cup, hiking on the set of The Parent Trap, or blasti…

Belle Family Forever

One of my favorite parts of Belles are Belle families which are essentially little “families” within Bruin Belles where everyone has a Big Belle and Little Belle. At our annual winter retreat, we run around campus in our pajamas, playing games and uncovering who our Little Belle or Big Belle is going to be. My sophomore year, we were given clues throughout the night to figure out who our Big/Little Bell was going to be. We had filled out a questionnaire earlier that week and they used those clues to give to your pair. I still remember that for the question “Who is one of you woman role models?” I wrote Marie Curie. Then, when I received my Little Belle’s answer, it was Marie Curie as well! I then knew the match with my friend, Liz, was meant to be <3. As a family, we bake together, go out to dinner, do homework, and just hang out. It’s a great way to become better friends with different woman in the organization and is one of my favorite Belle traditions.

Amberly Bark
Distinguished …

The Bruin Belles Community

When asked what Bruin Belles is all about, we summarize our focus on community service and women’s leadership, as we are united under these integral fundamentals. Yet, the experience of Bruin Belles extends far beyond those five words. Bruin Belles as an organization and the Belles in it are incredibly well-rounded. Attending community service events, campus sports and arts events, and women’s leadership events throughout every quarter connects Belles to fellow Belles, fellow students, the UCLA community, and the Los Angeles community at large. The wholistic nature of the events and goals of Bruin Belles provides Belles with the opportunity to enrich their UCLA experience. The significance of all the experiences that Bruin Belles provides is augmented by the caliber of the women themselves. Every Belle with whom I’ve had the incredible opportunity of becoming friends with is grounded, passionate, ambitious, and compassionate. I don’t use these words lightly. Regardless of major or int…