Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2019

Jingle-belle, Jingle-belle, Jingle-Belles Rocks!

My very first year in college before I joined Belles, I distinctly remember the overwhelming feeling of homesickness during the holiday season. From every direction I heard students lamenting that “Christmas just isn’t the same anymore”. Being 1,000 miles away from my family who normally makes this time of year feel so special definitely did not help. Our holiday traditions leading up to Christmas like setting up the Christmas tree, baking holiday cookies, and listening to Christmas music together was exchanged for the dimly-lit bookstacks in Powell, the occasional *real* dessert at Bplate, and searching up “one hour of soothing piano music” to study to. Every fiber of my being just wanted to return home to the joyful festivities my family had in store.
Fast forward to two years later, I am sitting at home during Thanksgiving dreaming about coming back to school. What changed? I found a home away from home — Bruin Belles! I was so excited to come back for Belle’s annual Holiday festivi…

How Belles are Protecting the Planet

On September 20th, 2019, more than 4 million people, who were mostly young adults, took part in a Global Climate Strike to protest our political leaders’ failure to take action against climate change. This call to protest was inspired by Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish activist, and her Fridays For Future movement. Though Greta is currently the most renowned climate activist, the Global Climate Strike was also led by many other young women, such as Isra Hirsi, Alexandria Villasenor, Hilda Flavia Nakabuye, Leah Namugerwa, Freya Brown, Adriana Salazar, and Jamie Margolin. This overwhelming leadership by young women in the global climate crisis is a true testament to our ability to inspire change and protect our planet.  Belles, too, have been doing their part to protect our planet, especially through their everyday actions. For example, many Belles use reusable water bottles and to-go cups rather than single-use plastic water bottles. Though this may appear trivial, Americans still…

Simply Having a Wonderful Holiday Season!

The leaves have fallen, Thanksgiving Break has past, and the all turkey has been eaten.   To me, this can only mean one thing: December, the best + most magical time of the year, has finally arrived! I’ve always loved the holiday season, the sound of Christmas music on the radio, the twinkle of colorful holiday lights on the homes in my neighborhood, and the opportunity to finally break out all my warm winter coats. While this chilly month always goes hand and hand with the culmination of another quarter at UCLA and finals stress, this season always remains joyful for me when I get to spend it with my fellow Belles!
A few weeks ago, on a Sunday evening leading into Week 8, a group of Belles and I went to the 18th annual Christmas Tree Lighting Celebration at the Grove! This magical night was hosted by Leslie Odom, Jr. (the original Aaron Burr from Hamilton) and featured special musical performances by Issac Slade of The Fray, Tori Kelly, and Aloe Blacc. The show featured the first “snow…

Our Big Belle Family

To paint a picture as to how Belles has impacted my life at UCLA, I’ve decided to reflect on a recent social event put on by our Public Relations office, the Alumni Brunch! A few Saturdays ago, about fifteen current Belles and fifteen Belle Alumnae gathered together at Bplate to enjoy some yummy brunch and bond over our mutual love for Belles! There was so much love in the room, and everyone from baby Belles to recent graduates and Belle alumni from literally 40 years ago were able to connect over a shared passion for philanthropy and the friendships Belles has given each and every one of us.

I felt especially blessed to be a part of this particular event, because two of the Alumni in attendance were part of the very reason I joined Belles myself! When I first got into UCLA a year ago, my Aunt Carrie Khouri raved to me about some organization that she just loved during her time as a Bruin, where she met her still-best-friend Jill. I didn’t think too much of it, and figured that it prob…

Where I Belong

Having joined Bruin Belles last year as a second year, I truly can see how my college experience has been shaped by this wonderful organization. During my first year at UCLA, I felt that something was missing-- a sense of belonging to a community where I felt like I could contribute to something larger than myself and a community where I would form long lasting relationships. Bruin Belles was exactly that. Joining Belles has been one of the best decisions I’ve made here at UCLA. What makes Belles so special is that every individual is so supportive of each other. I am always so in awe of how diverse, ambitious, and inspiring everyone is!

I have made so many strong friendships here. It is crazy to think that girls who were once new faces to me, are now some of my closest friends. From taking pictures at pumpkin patches to late night runs to Salt and Straw, from learning about sustainability and women’s rights to reading to kids, from singing our hearts out to High School Musical to scre…

My Family

We are now exactly one week away from graduation and I truly can’t believe it. Bittersweet is an understatement. While I am so excited for what the future for all of us holds, I can’t help but get sentimental about Bruin Belles. Coming from a small town where all of my closest friends were people I had known for 10+ years, I was naturally worried about building those kinds of lasting relationships in a school as huge as UCLA. But you know what they say, when you know, you know, and when I joined my sophomore year I immediately knew I had finally found my family at UCLA. Now, three years later, it is so hard for me to believe that I have only known these women for a few years when they truly feel like sisters.
It’s hard to comprehend that I survived most of my life without these women. These are the women with whom I can have a deep conversation about important social issues that we are passionate about one minute and be dancing around my living room and singing at the top of our lungs…

Leaving Our Mark

Stepping foot onto the campus at UCLA, I felt overwhelmed yet excited about the multitude of opportunities that were available for students. After reaching out to a senior friend at UCLA about her experiences, I noticed she mentioned an organization called Bruin Belles Service Association that she wished she applied to. After visiting the activities fair and the open house, I knew Bruin Belles was exactly what I was looking for at UCLA. The past two years in Belles has given me the opportunity to volunteer at autism research events, attend the American Music Awards, assist at a pie eating contest, play basketball with individuals with cognitive disabilities, and so much more. I found myself especially fascinated by the events where I worked with children and individuals with disabilities. The social implications of science and medicine was an aspect I believed had much potential needing to be unlocked. This past quarter I was fortunate to join another Belle in playing weekly basketbal…

Tuesday Dinners

Bruin Belles is full of incredible women that never cease to amaze and inspire me. No matter what is happening, or how busy they are, if you need a friend- someone will be there for you to lift you back up. Trying to think of my favorite Belle memory or event to highlight was really difficult because I had so many great moments within Belles that it seemed limiting to just pick one. What I think makes Belles so special is more than the events, but rather the relationships and support you gain by being surrounded by such genuine women. An example of this has been Tuesday night dinners. For the past two quarters myself and another Belle have dinner every Tuesday. No matter how stressful our weeks are, we make sure to go to our weekly dinners. Sometimes we talk for hours about social media and body image, other times we will just laugh about the most random things. Our Tuesday dinners have become such a special part of my week and remind me that I have someone on my side. Her love and su…

Endlessly Inspired

When I came to UCLA, I was extremely overwhelmed by the copious amounts of clubs offered here. I felt the pressure to follow those around me and sign up for multiple commitments, so passionate about being a part of everything. It was difficult to keep my true passions in mind and which clubs would align with what I was truly searching for. This is why it took me until my 2nd year to find out about Bruin Belles. In this club I have found more than I could’ve wanted in an organization on this huge campus. I have found opportunities to get involved in the community, something I had loved doing in high school and had been missing during my first year in college. I have found mentors who have shown me genuine support and effort in helping me pursue my professional endeavors. Most importantly I have found an amazing group of women whom I consider some of my closest friends. Every Belle I have been able to get to know has inspired me in one way or another. Coming from all different backgroun…

Happiness Amongst the Rain

There is no doubt that winter quarter was filled with more rain than I thought I would see in Los Angeles. Amidst the stress of winter quarter, trudging across campus with wet socks and bundled in 4 different layers seemed to only make the quarter go by slower. However, on a Saturday leading into week 6, it seemed we may have reached a turning point. Myself and 3 other belles traveled through LA this sunny morning to a local elementary school. Upon arrival we were greeted by a volunteer coordinator who showed us to a beautiful garden full of a variety of plants and colorful signs. Along with the other volunteers, we spent the morning weeding and mulching garden beds as well as getting to know fellow volunteers. Despite our aching knees we laughed throughout the morning as we struggled to pull out large weeds. As the event came to a close, light rain began to fall from the sun-filled sky, making the morning all the more magical. Finally, volunteers were invited to join families of the …

Genuine Support

Coming to college, I knew I would be entering a phase of my life where I’d be learning from some of the best individuals in their field. However, I never would’ve expected the greatest lessons to come from the friends I surround myself with. For me, joining Belles began as a way to be involved in the community and make a local impact. I never expected a Philanthropy based organization to introduce me to a group of women who would be my greatest support system, mentors, and friends.
The past year, I’ve tried to live my life following two mottos: 1) Be the person you needed when you were younger, and 2) Prioritize people over worries and material things. Belles is a constant reminder of these values. It continually impresses me how everyone in Belles devotes their time because they genuinely care about making a difference. Some of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in college have sparked from Belles events that morphed into deeper conversations. I can’t express how much I appreciate the …

Food Bank Fun

There are several amazing BBSA events throughout the year, but perhaps my favorite was BBSA Alumni Philanthropy Event. One rainy February morning, we ventured downtown to the Los Angeles Food Bank for the first ever all-belles philanthropy event. The LA Food Bank provides for those experiencing food insecurity, which is roughly 1.4 million Los Angeles County residents, many of whom are children, senior citizens, and families. BBSA is a philanthropic organization at heart, so it was great to have the opportunity to reflect upon our mission and have a hands-on experience with a direct impact on our community.
During the day, we sorted over 18,000lbs of apples and oranges to be distributed to elementary schools in underserved neighborhoods so they would have fresh fruit in their lunches. There are several things we often take granted in our everyday lives, so it was impactful and humbling experience to participate in the Food Bank’s efforts to ensure LA County residents have the basic nec…

A Beautiful Day in May

The drenched t-shirt after an epic water balloon toss turned water balloon fight, the smiles from completing an obstacle course, and the laughter of accidentally running when red-light is called instead of green-light highlight just a few special moments from PLAY Day. Bruin Belles Service Association annually hosts PLAY Day in collaboration with the Boys and Girls Club of East Los Angeles as well as UCLA Athletes. Approximately 100 kids come to UCLA for the event on a beautiful day each May. The excitement as the kids arrive and join their teams for the day is electric. Playing duck-duck-goose waiting for the rest of Team Pink last year, we bonded over our shared love of dogs, math, and carrots. We proceeded to play soccer, tug-of-war, sharks and minnows, and more throughout the course of the day with our teams comprised of Belles, UCLA Athletes, and kids from the Boys and Girls Club. I have been on the same team with some of the same kids for two years in a row, and I’m hoping that …

A Single Click

Before my first year of UCLA even started, I was already reading all the Reddit pages about the school’s environment, predicting my dorm life through various Youtube videos, and following all the major UCLA social media outlets to get a sense of what college would be like. This was all done in anticipation for the next four years, but mostly stemmed from my nervousness! However, because of all the UCLA content I clicked on for college preparation, the Bruin Belles Instagram account showed up in my suggestions tabs.
And from that single click, my college experience has been life-changing.
Growing up in a mostly Vietnamese populated area, I was able to learn so much about my roots and culture. However, because of this comfort, I felt that I lacked a deeper understanding of the world around me. Thankfully, through UCLA and Bruin Belles, I have befriended and been surrounded by the most diverse, powerful, driven, altruistic, and passionate individuals. Not only do I get to share my intere…