Orange County School of the Arts celebrates students’ acts of kindness and gratitude in a new social media and article series

In celebration of its 35th anniversary year, Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA) would like to recognize its incredible students for their outstanding acts of service within the community. OCSA is pleased to announce its ongoing Acts of Gratitude blog and social media series to honor the work students do alongside their extraordinary artistic and academic achievements. This spring, we will highlight the following individuals and groups from OCSA:

  • Ballroom for All: Hana Uehara (BR, ‘23) established Ballroom for All, a student-run community service club where talented dancers from OCSA’s Ballroom Dance Conservatory spread the joy of ballroom to the children of Santa Ana. Hana, Grace Kim (BR, ‘22), and their peers provide students at the nearby Orange County Educational Arts Academy (OCEAA) with weekly ballroom dance lessons on Fridays.

  • Bites by Sam: Bites by Sam, created by Samantha Johnson (CAH, ‘22), is a social media page dedicated to advocating for food, health, wellness, and eating disorder recovery. This is achieved by promoting healthy eating habits, physical and mental health, and intuitive eating while combating dieting culture and disordered eating habits in the media. Bites by Sam has been an immense success, currently reaching 19.9K followers.

  • Book Bears: Founded by Daisy Noh (IA, ‘22), Book Bears is a youth-led literacy organization that strives to promote literacy and make reading more accessible for kids in the community. With a team of over 30 students, Book Bears has been able to host library events, fundraisers, book drives, virtual story times, and more!

  • Clothes for a Cause: Led by Regan Mading (IA, ‘23), this amazing club collects and donates clothing to women who need it most. Clothes for a Cause has organized multiple clothing drives, collecting business wear for women's shelters all around Orange County, including WISEplace and Laura's House.

  • Creative Writing Conservatory Community Arts Outreach Class: This class, taught by Creative Writing Conservatory Director Josh Wood, connects OCSA students with local elementary school students and other community members in a fun, risk-free teaching environment. Some of their efforts include donation drives, beautification projects at the library in Downtown Santa Ana, a pen pal group, and much more.

  • Dragon Kim Foundation Music Program: Through the Dragon Kim Foundation, many OCSA Instrumental Music Conservatory students work as teaching assistants to provide young children with cost-free, high-quality music instruction. The children have the opportunity to join a band, choir, or string orchestra.

  • Eye Matter International: Anjal Jain (CV, ‘22) founded Eye Matter International to offer support and create an online community for individuals with visual impairments after a personal experience with a loved one. Eye Matter International offers free art classes, a summer camp, and more for those who are visually impaired. 

  • 4 the Border: Established by Abril Rodriguez Diaz (CW, ‘22), 4 the Border is dedicated to making $4 packages of nutritious food for the homeless along the US-Mexico border. The packages are handed out at the San Ysidro Port of Entry and at a Tijuana migrant camp. The organization hopes to demonstrate the love and unity between people of both countries.

  • ForYuMei: Amelie Fu (IA, ‘22) founded ForYuMei in honor of her grandparents, who devoted themselves to improving access to education for students in China. Inspired by her grandmother’s love for beaded pieces, Amelie creates and sells handmade beaded jewelry and uses all profits earned to provide continued financial support for elementary schools in remote areas of China.

  • Generation Bridges: Generation Bridges, helmed by Trent Horio (IM, ‘23) and Leo Sui (IM, ‘23), brings the arts to the elderly through a series of classes. The club has hosted a Music Appreciation class and an Origami class for seniors at Laguna Woods Village. The Music Appreciation class provides online lessons ranging from telling personal stories to analyzing the nuances and complexities of music, while the Origami class provides online origami lessons and information about the historical and cultural significance of the art form.

  • Giving Back Through Music: Kaylie Wise (IM, ‘24) has committed herself to giving back to her former middle school band by teaching students more about music. She has held sectionals to work with the students for both flute and trombone. She has also shown the section leaders how to teach their sections and has volunteered at the band’s fundraising events. Kaylie is part of the Tri-M Honors Society Club, where she is able to perform for the community. 

  • H.Arts: Led by Sonali Dhanidina (IA, ‘25), students in H.Arts use their artistic abilities to brighten the days of patients and hospital workers. Over the past two years, the organization has performed at Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) and made goodie bags for Valentine’s Day. They have also created music videos for children at CHOC and made cards for doctors and staff at Hoag Hospital.

  • Luke Madrigal Indigenous Storytelling Nonprofit: Sophia Madrigal (ACT, ‘22) founded the Luke Madrigal Indigenous Storytelling Nonprofit in 2020 with the goal of bringing healing strategies to Indigenous people around the world. Sophia wrote the play "Wildflower: Indigenous Spirit,” telling the story of the indomitable and reaching over 10,000 people. In partnership with the Drama Therapy Institute of LA, Sophia implemented two theaters for social justice workshop curricula in order to help heal through cultural revitalization.

  • MaxLove Project Farm-to-Fork Dinner Fundraiser: Earlier this school year, students from The Mekjian Family Culinary Arts & Hospitality Conservatory participated in the MaxLove Project Farm-to Fork Dinner at Tanaka Farms, which raises funds to fight childhood cancer. In addition to this experience, Culinary Arts & Hospitality students are often seen volunteering their time and skills to give back to their community.

  • Mural at the Source Mall: With the help of their OCSA peers, Hannah Kang (VA, ‘22) and Kristie Lee (VA, ‘22) painted a 24 x 12 ft. mural at the Source Mall in Buena Park in honor of Korean culture. The mural serves as an homage to their Korean roots and offers viewers an interactive experience using a QR code that links to an essay by Isabel Hanh (CW, ‘22). The mural depicts a girl at a bus stop with posters that represent iconic elements of Korean culture, surrounded by the scenic landscapes of Korea.

  • Music Angels Hands: Members of this club, led by Brandon Lim (IM, ‘26) and Paul Seo (PD, ‘26), dedicate their time to serving children in the community through the use of their musical talents. Music Angels Hands hosts concerts to collect donations for children and organizations that need it most. The club has so far donated money, food, and clothing to Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) and The Ronald McDonald House. They have also donated masks to OCSA for students and staff to wear to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on campus.

  • OCEAA HeArts and Crafts Day: Each semester, students from the Visual Arts Conservatory partner with elementary school students from the Orange County Educational Arts Academy (OCEAA) to create fun and enriching art projects. This opportunity allows OCEAA students to connect and be mentored by OCSA students, while also experiencing a preview of the campus.

  • OCSA Peer Mediation: Sein Yun (IM, ‘22) established a peer mediation program to develop a more welcoming and positive school campus for all. Peer mediation allows opposing student parties to peacefully come together and have a facilitated conversation. This time allows students to peacefully talk out their misunderstandings, work toward conflict resolution, and rehabilitate relationships, all of which allow for growth and learning. OCSA Peer Mediation has received two $2,500 grants to help fund the program and to ensure the best training education for peer mediators.

  • Pacific Bridge: The Pacific Bridge YouTube Channel aims to bridge the cultural gap between Asia and America through videos that explain differences within Asian culture. Through this channel, founder Eric Zhu (FTV, ‘22) has already created five 10-minute documentaries about a variety of subjects.

  • Page to Stage: Page to Stage is a program that gives kids a healthy outlet for expressing their emotions using theater, playwriting, and storytelling. Jacki Vellandi (ACT, ‘22) organizes partnerships with local elementary schools to provide learning sessions that encourage children in the program to express their thoughts and feelings through creative writing prompts and video examples. All of their writing materials are combined into one cohesive play or short film that members of the OCSA Thespian Troupe 6826 then bring to life with the goal of giving the students confidence while also providing the world with more art.

  • Strike a Chord: This club, currently led by Shayna Kaplan (IM, ‘23) and Sarah Parigela (IM, ‘23), aims to bring people together through music and provide underprivileged children access to music. Club members perform at retirement homes and volunteer weekly at the Orange County Rescue Mission, where they teach the kids about music and the violin. Strike a Chord also accepts donations of second-hand instruments to bring to the kids at the Orange County Rescue Mission and to donate to schools with underfunded music programs.

  • Womenwurld: Led by Abril Garcia (CW, ‘23) and Allison Wong (CW, ‘23), Womenwurld’s mission is to empower women, girls, and non-binary individuals by providing them with resources concerning the female experience and intersectional feminism. Womenwurld offers support and celebrates womanhood. They have donated over 30,000 feminine hygiene products, designed a brochure on menstrual care to be distributed to schools and facilities in underserved communities, and fundraised more than $5,000 to help end period poverty.

For more detailed information about these amazing acts of gratitude and kindness, be sure to follow OCSA on social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter) and check out the OCSA Blog regularly.

Written By Julia Gutierrez & Trinh Hoang

Director of Public Relations & Public Relations Jr. Associate