By: Maria Ruiz
It’s almost been a year since I was introduced to 22 young adults who were nominated as Youth of the Year by the Los Angeles County Alliance for Boys & Girls Clubs. They were eagerly sitting in a conference room in ABC7 studios in Hollywood getting ready their workshop with Coolpad. It wasn’t long ago that I was in their shoes, counting the days until my high school graduation and when I would be in the “real world.” As we were waiting for the workshop to commence I would casually ease drop on their small talk about what schools they were going next and what they were majoring in.
I was having those same conversations with classmates seven years ago and felt them so fresh in my mind, as though they took my sleep away the night before with all the nerves. But I must say, these kids weren’t lost, OH NO, these kids had GUTS. When they introduced themselves to Coolpad they would say their names in bright bold letters and in that moment was when I realized I’ve never met such a young bunch so BOLD. I was ready, ready to embark on this ten-day trip with them to the other side of the world, China.
So how did these kids mark their future?
First of all, they hustled. They hustled to the extent that they stood out among the group of all the Boys and Girls Club in Los Angeles and were nominated Youth of the Year. Let’s be clear here – this trip wasn’t handed to them, they worked for it in ways that are nothing but inspiring. They earned a round trip to China, how crazy is that? What’s even crazier was watching how much they grew day by day during this awesome experience.
They became true travelers. They traveled half way across the world. Some have never even been on a plane before and not only did they get on a plane for their first time, but they traveled all the way to China! They arrived in China, where the culture was vastly different from that in the United States, and took it all in with a smile on their face and a cheerful “Ni Hao” everywhere they went. I could see them swallow their fear and embrace their experience. They conquered the art of travel as they hopped on and off airplanes and hotels through Xiamen, Shenzhen, and Shanghai, tried authentic Chinese food, and embraced the Chinese culture.
They met with global innovative companies. As we went city to city, we met up with the most amazing and innovative companies that are impacting us from a global perspective. The most common message these companies would give is that they are the future, and after working with Coolpad on this project, I couldn’t agree more. BYD Motors and COMAC were a great example. BYD is innovating at a fast rate, creating automobiles, buses, trucks that are all hybrid electric or all-electric vehicles. They want to change the world and the way we live in it, cutting down gas emissions and bettering the environment. COMAC is a commercial Aircraft Corporation of China. When we met with the CEO, he told us how their young ideas can change the way aircrafts are made, making them faster, manufacture them with new materials, or even have them be see-through so passengers can enjoy the ride with amazing views. They showed them that their ideas can become big innovative companies like these and how they can leave their fingerprint and change the world.
They met local students. During our trip we met with local college students from Xiamen University. As the students sat together I thought it would be a quiet and shy classroom, but it turned to loads of ongoing conversations between one another. They learned from each other and realized that they have a lot of similarities – career goals, hobbies, and even taste in music! It was inspiring to hear that one of the nominees was taught to write “Anything is possible” in Chinese calligraphy by local student. Who would have thought this amazing trip would have allowed for new friends from different backgrounds connect in such a meaningful way?
They met Coolpad! Well helloooo, they met US and it was AWESOME! They met Coolpad in Shenzhen at our Headquarters. We put them into teams to challenge themselves and learn more about the smartphone industry. They also learned how to market a product to customers using creativity, teamwork, and new ideas. Additionally, they learned the importance of creating, which requires patience, hard work, and stepping out of your comfort zone. Coolpad strives for exploring new ideas, build great teams, and doing things never done before. It was an honor to open the doors to the Boys and Girls Club and explore this amazing industry together!
Lastly and most importantly, they took their experience back to LA. They returned CONFIDENT AND WORLDLY. I personally grew and learned so much from the young adults on this trip and even after a year, I still take the things I learned and the memories I made with them with me everywhere I go. Boys and Girls, if you are reading this, I leave you with this: The world is yours. Take it with confidence and with guts just like you took this trek to China. Keep on traveling and taking on the world with your smiles and positivity. Keep on inspiring and most importantly, keep on showing the world why you are here. With love, Maria.
Coolpad is passionate about giving back to the communities it serves. We are proud to have received the Community Excellence Award from the China General Chamber of Commerce for our partnership with the Los Angeles County Alliance for Boys & Girls Clubs and commitment to help cultivate a global culture mentality in the community. We look forward to continuing to work with the Boys and Girls Club LA Alliance and other organizations in our communities across the country.
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