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Showing posts from 2015

An Incredi-Belle Four Years

I remember the day my roommate, Victoria, came back from the activities fair with a small flyer that would have an enormous impact on both of our UCLA experiences. She told me about Bruin Belles, gave me the flyer, and encouraged me to apply. Fast forward to the end of the application process and the two of us are shopping in Westwood when I receive a phone call informing me that I was accepted into BBSA! I hung up the phone and my intense excitement quickly turned to stress, as Victoria had yet to receive a call. After a stressful few minutes (realistically thirty seconds), Victoria got the same phone call and we went back to our dorms beaming. At our first fall retreat, I met some of the kindest women I have ever known. They welcomed me into a family that has been a cornerstone of my time as a Bruin. As a car-less freshman, Bruin Belles gave me countless opportunities to venture into new areas of our exhilarating city with amazing new friends. Belles eased my transition from a small

BBSA and My College Experience

Coming to UCLA, my biggest fear was that I wouldn’t make friends. In such a large school, it is easy to feel lost and alone. I’ll never forget getting a flier for Bruin Belles on Bruin Walk, and making the last-minute decision to apply. Bruin Belles has been my family here at UCLA. It has been a blessing to work alongside women who are passionate, driven leaders. They inspire me to continually strive for social justice and equality. I see women to sacrifice their time and comfort in the service of others. The opportunity to grow and live alongside these amazing people has encouraged and strengthened me. As a senior, I can look back and confidently say that I have made some of my best friends through Bruin Belles, and have cultivated friendships I know will last a lifetime. To the girls who volunteer, dance, laugh, and cry with me: I love you to the moon and back, and thank you for shaping me into the person I am today. Nicole Albanese Distinguished Belle F

A Belle's Gotta Eat!

When people ask me what I love about Bruin Belles, of course, I tell them about the countless philanthropy events I have been lucky enough to volunteer at, the fantastic Women's Leadership Conference we hold every winter quarter, and the super fun PLAY day event we have during spring quarter. But in addition to that, I love telling them about all the fun socials we have as well, especially the food ones! From stops in Beverly Hills for Sprinkles, to boba runs and trips to Lemonade, we are always exploring and trying new places. These socials are always so much fun. They serve as an exciting way to get out and explore beyond the Westwood bubble (especially if you're an underclassman) and further bond with some of the best girls in the world - Belles! Angie Le Distinguished Belle Third Year Bruin Belle

PLAY Day Fun!

Bruin Belles hosted their 18 th annual PLAY DAY on May 17, 2015. Clarissa Borges, our wonderful Campus Culture director, along with her hardworking PLAY DAY committee did an outstanding job organizing and making this event come to life. Each year during Spring quarter, children from the Boys and Girls Club of Los Angeles take a field trip to UCLA to enjoy an exciting day of playing games with the Bruin Belles organization, UCLA NCAA collegiate athletes and Club Sports athletes. The children absolutely love meeting and playing sports with athletes they look up to. This year, we spent the day playing ultimate frisbee, soccer, kick ball and tag. We also had a special visit from UCLA’s very own Joe and Josie Bruin that kids could meet and take pictures with. The final activity of the day involved a water balloon toss that escaladed into a friendly water balloon fight. The young boys and girls absolutely love this event, seen by the charismatic smile and contagious lau

Robinson Garden's Tours: A Belle Favorite

Every year, I look forward to volunteering at the Friends of Robinson Gardens’ Garden Tour. It is always an absolute joy to be a volunteer at the luxurious tour, which raises funds for the preservation of the Virginia Robinson Gardens estate. This unique and incredibly classy day gives guests the opportunity to visit beautiful homes and gardens in exclusive areas of LA. This event has quickly become a Belle favorite and I always anticipate putting on a springy sundress and strolling through the gardens volunteering with fellow Belles. This year’s Garden Tour had a “Downton Abbey” theme and the anglophile in me was particularly fond of the stunning d├ęcor. I love that BBSA connects its members with parts of the LA community that otherwise might remain foreign to us. BBSA has such a wide variety of philanthropic service opportunities but volunteering at the Virginia Robinson Garden Tour is a truly extraordinary experience. I greatly appreciate the foundation’s focus on preservation and hi

iEmphasize: An Eye-Opening Experience

There are many Belle events that are lighthearted and fun. And then there are others that enable you to confront some of the grave injustices in our world. And I think it's critical that any service organization have both. That's why I am so grateful that one of the Women's Leadership events offered this Spring was a visit to the iEmpathize exhibit on the horrific realities of human trafficking and sexual exploitation, particularly of young women and girls. Although it was conveniently located on campus, stepping into the exhibit felt like I was stepping into another world. The iEmpathize exhibit was really heavy, and was a lot to take in. I felt like, for the time I was there, I stepped out of my own bubble of worries and stepped into a much deeper problem. As the exhibit puts it, I truly empathized by stepping into another person's suffering. And there was so much suffering. I am familiar with trafficking, however, for some reason the combination of videos, photos and

And We Danced (for 26 Hours)

This quarter, I participated in my second Dance Marathon. Although last year I danced the full 26 hours with Belles, this year I was a Moraler, whose job is to come in for three hours and pump up the dancers who are completing the full event. The Bruin Belles Moraling crew chose 3-6am for our shift, and the theme during this time (much to my delight) was Disney! After an hour-long nap at 1am, I woke up and dressed in my best Disney attire (complete with a tutu and flower crown, of course) to join the rest of the Belles at Pauley Pavilion. I also drank a lot of coffee right before this, so as I skipped down to Pauley I was feeling pretty alive, and I seem to remember excitedly screaming in a couple of my fellow Belles’ faces before we ran inside (sorry Abby and Charlotte! I was a little pumped if you couldn’t tell). I know that right now, we probably sound crazy for wanting to wake up and dance from 3-6am, but it was honestly one of the best experiences I’ve had thi

Dancin' On A Saturday Morning

Over the last three years that I have been in Belles, I have been blessed with the opportunity to volunteer with countless of groups and organizations. Each and every one have them has opened my eyes to a new cause and widened my perspective. My favorite, however, would have to be SOAR. SOAR, also known as Saturday Opportunities for Adaptive Recreation, teams up with the Wooden Center to work with teens who have disabilities to inspire and promote fitness, build self confidence, and provide fun! Every Saturday, a group of our girls, get to buddy up with these teens and participate in an activity with them. My most memorable activity was the dance workshop we had where we all learned different choreographed dance moves and tried to put them all together. Let me preface this by saying that by no means am I a dancer. Most of us weren't. However, the teens had a sense of exuberance and enthusiasiam to learn that was so infectious and rubbed of on us all. By the end, we were all laughin

Countdown to Dance Marathon: Are You Ready?

Spring has now sprung, which means… Dance Marathon is right around the corner!!! Without a doubt, Dance Marathon has been one of the defining events of my time at UCLA.   Nothing beats a weekend spent dancing for 26 hours straight with the best of friends all while rallying in support for such an important cause. Although difficult to stay on your feet (and to stay awake!) through the weekend, it’s impossible to lose motivation even for a second when you’re an integral component to taking a stand against Pediatric HIV/AIDS. It’s seemingly such a small act in comparison to the bigger picture, but everyone’s involvement and effort makes a monumental impact. While a commitment to participating in the entire marathon may not be feasible, EVERYONE should sign up to morale!! Honestly, there is nothing better than seeing Belles’ bright, beautiful faces to reenergize you in the wee hours of the night, and when they come bearing popsicles and snacks it’s even better! Seriously, th

New Opportunities, New Friendships

As the Distinguished Belle in the Philanthropy office, I had the  opportunity to organize a philanthropy event. The other Distinguished  Belle in the Philanthropy office, Katie, and I decided to host our  event at the Westwood Plaza Retirement Residence. About 10 Belles  joined us at the home and we decorated picture frames with the residents.  It was so fulfilling to see the happiness on the  residents' faces as we talked with them. Several of the residents were  UCLA grads or had children/grandchildren that attended UCLA! My  favorite moment of the event occurred when a resident wanted to join  the event just as we were ending. Since there was not enough time for her to decorate her own frame, I offered to give her the frame I  decorated for myself. The joy on her face when she received my frame  was a look I will never forget. She was so appreciative and absolutely  loved my frame. I am so thankful that Bruin Belles has given me the  opportunity to not only learn how to plan and

Belles vs. Basketball: SOARin' to New Heights

Ok, I’ll admit it: I was always too nervous to sign-up for SOAR when it was a wheelchair basketball day. SOAR is one of my personal Belle philanthropy favorites, and has been since my first year in Belles (it is now my fourth year in Belles). We basically get to have fun with kids who have autism, cognitive impairments or muscular dystrophy as they get their “Saturday workout on” in everything from martial arts to rock climbing. It is honestly the best way to begin a Saturday, as it always adds gratefulness, humility, beauty and so much laughter to my day. But back to wheelchair basketball. Yes, I was nervous when I found out that this particular Saturday, we would be playing wheelchair basketball. What if I just could not roll in a wheelchair, what if I fell off? All of these crazy doubts kept filling my head! Well, someone once said that the only way to conquer your fear is to face it, and so I strapped myself into the wheelchair and tried to push. And boy, was it tough work! The amo

Momentum: The 2015 Women's Leadership Conference

As I write this entry on the eve of International Women’s Day, it seems only fitting to reflect upon and celebrate the monumental morning that was the 2015 Women’s Leadership Conference “Momentum!” Through my years of involvement with this organization, the Women’s Leadership Conference remains my very favorite Belle event. What beats an empowering, motivational morning engaging in intellectual discussions and surrounding oneself with some of the strongest, brightest, inspiring young leaders around? With the events and speakers from last year’s conference still resonating within me, I was eager to see what Angela and her phenomenal committee had planned for this year’s conference. With my eagerness for the conference bubbling over, I was even more ecstatic to bring my sister and her best friend along this time! Of course they’ve heard my incessant bragging about Bruin Belles and all its glory time and time again, and I was overjoyed to share with them our organization’s goals