Skip to main content

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 space I have found in Belles to make meaningful connections and engage in real life experiences.

When I look back at the past couple of years, I can see tangible moments where Belles has shaped me for the better. This organization continuously reminds me to go into my life with humility, gratitude, and confidence. At Share A Meal, I was humbled by the opportunity to go directly into the community and see exactly how homeless individuals were living their lives, cuddled up in tarps, so densely packed you would guess the bundle was a pile of trash not a person’s entire collection of material possessions. Being able to go directly into the community and have genuine interactions with others is what I cherish most. When I say I am reminded of humility, I mean nothing compares to the feeling post Reading to Kids when the shy 8 year old in the back, who didn’t want to speak up or raise her hand to answer the questions even though you could see that she knew every answer by the way she shifted in her chair, asks you to sit next to her for crafts. When it’s time to leave, and you slip away to the bathroom, the little girl, runs back, dragging her grandmother away from the walk home to give you a hug goodbye. In that moment, I realized if nothing else, my few hours there that Saturday made a difference to her. When I sat in Music Mends Minds, one older man began to tell me his life story, and I couldn’t help but be reminded of my grandfather. He had a sense of ease, and you could tell by the way that he spoke that time was not one of his concerns. He was just there to experience the present, spread some kindness, and talk to anyone who would listen. Moments like these constantly remind me that the greatest gift we can give someone else is often our full attention and time. When I say I was given confidence, I mean that after years of assuming I’d go into science because that's where the careers are, through this organization I began to listen to my own passions and interests.  When the speakers at Women’s Leadership Conference said to “follow your passion” and “art can be turned into a career”, I finally heard it. When I say I am grateful, I mean I have met friends who share and celebrate one anothers successes like each success is their own. There is nothing more refreshing and empowering than sharing your aspirations with a group of people who not only encourage you to push higher, but also remember, genuinely support you, and help along the way. There is no animosity or competition, just genuine support.

Kara Justeson

Philanthropy Distinguished Belle








Comments

Popular posts from this blog

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…

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…

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…