Heart of Hope

Sponsored by Bright Magpie Charitable Foundation

Heart of Hope Alumni

Class of 2022

Ashley Wan

I’ve been a volunteer at HOH for the past 8 years. Through these years I truly feel like I got to grow not only in the organization but alongside it. I’ve been given the unique chance to form unique bonds with many members and other volunteers, and these friendships are ones that I will cherish for many years to come. I’ve made friends in handbell, HOH, & HOM, and countless unforgettable memories alongside these amazing individuals. I was also an HOH Officer for many years, where I was able to learn valuable lessons on leadership. Through my years at HOM I’ve truly found how to carry myself, and performing often helped me come out of my shell and be less shy. Overall, HOH has given me a sense of community. I used to look up to the older volunteers as role models and I wanted to be good leaders like they were. Over time I realized I had become the role model for younger volunteers, which to me is still crazy to think about. I’ve seen HOH grow as a community & come closer together even amidst the pandemic, and I cannot wait to see how much more will happen. I am truly glad that my childhood was spent here, and I can’t imagine where I would be if I hadn’t joined all those years ago.

Bianca Yen

Hi everyone, my name is Bianca and this is my 7th year at HOH. So first off I would just like to say that I am so happy that we are finally able to see each other and get together in person after almost 2 years of zoom meetings. And thank you to the officers, leaders, parents and everyone else that organized this mothers day event.
From when I first joined HOH to now, I can say that HOH has grown tremendously in all aspect. This organization has brought me a lot of joy and memories through making crafts, learning handchimes, meeting new friends, and calling our members. One of my favorite memories is preparing for the Christmas concerts. It is always so much fun to learn new dances and perform with all the volunteers for our audience that has continuously supported us. These performances make me so happy to see that everyone is enjoying themselves, while being confident in performing in front of hundreds of people. These memories will forever stay with me.
I am also really proud to see that HOH was able to work through the pandemic. It was an amazing experience to have these HOH meetings on zoom, and I would like to say that I am very proud of everyone for pushing through and continuously volunteering despite the conditions we were given.
Overall, HOH has been an amazing organization that has taught me many life skills including leadership and networking that I will carry on in my life. It has also given me the confidence to speak out in larger crowds. Not only has it given me this confidence, but it has also made me a better person. HOH has been a great teaching organization that allowed me to view the world in different perspectives. Thank you to HOH, and especially Mrs. Lo, for giving me this experience that can not be replaced. I am so excited to see what the future holds for HOH. Thank you!!!!

Tony Wu

Hi everyone, I’m Tony and I’ve been volunteering at Heart of Hope for the past 6 years. During those years, HOH has provided me with a wonderful environment to grow myself. I find the work I do with special needs members meaningful because I know when I see them smile that I have been able to make their day a little better, even in a small way, through our interaction.

As a volunteer, I am asked to draw members into games and activities such as birthday celebrations, dancing, singing, playing hand chimes, and concerts. I have made many wonderful memories with HOH members. Contributions go both ways. I provide assistance for the kids, while HOH makes me a better person. I have learned to be more patient and confident in front of others, and to think of members first before myself. Developing genuine empathy for others is part of the experience. Shy when I first joined, I now have the courage to lead others in various activities as an officer. I have made friends with other volunteers, but I am especially proud of the relationships I developed with members such as Charles and Larry. I know in my heart that most members want not to be ignored or treated as if they are “different.”

HOH taught me that small kindnesses can produce aggregate effects. Sometimes a small gesture can begin a change that just makes someone else’s day better. Caring about others and leaving an impact on people brings happiness. I would like to express my gratitude to every student and parent in HOH, especially to Ms. Lo for supporting the organization. I will carry with me the spirit of HOH wherever I go.

Sarah Wang

My name is Sarah Wang and I’m a current senior at Walnut High School. I have been in HOH for five years. I’m so happy to see so many new faces, and i hope this organization continues to grow so we can positively impact more lives.

When I first joined HOH in 8th grade, I was immediately welcomed into this community with open arms and bright smiles. Although I was afraid of reaching out in the beginning, this fear soon disappeared when I noticed the sense of family within Heart of Hope.  Everyone is so kind to each other; the members and volunteers I had been able to meet have created such a positive place that made me look forward to Sundays. A moment that will forever stay in my heart is during the first robotics event, where the members were able to experience something new, hands-on, for the first time. Watching their faces light up as they learned how to cotntrol the differnet mechanisms of the robot made me realize how important it was to give back to the community and share your passions. Being apart of this organization has helped shaped me into the person I am today. It has taught me the values of leadership, giving back, and the importance of giving back to the community. I’m very grateful for everyone here, for being apart of this wonderful experience.

Above all, I would like to thank Mrs. Lo for always leading me in the right direction. When i first started piano classes in 2nd grade, Mrs. Lo taught me lessons beyond the keyboard. she taught me the values of perserverance at a young age and shaped the hardworking character I am today. She cared a lot about me, making sure I was doing well in areas of my life beyond music. She taught me to reach out of my comfort zone, giving me opportunities to become the MC in events, while also putting me in piano competitions. WIthout her guidance, I could not have accomplished the things I have been able to accomplish today, and for that, I am forever grateful.

Volunteering here every sunday has taught me a lot about the values of community service that I will continue to carry with me throughout my life. I will definately miss everyone! If you have any questions about college or high school feel free to reach out to me any time!
Thank you

Jason Wang

My name is Jason, I woud like to talk about how HOH has impacted my growth, and hopefully you can take away some key points as to why you should continuously push yourself to be more involved in the org.

So, my journey with HOH began since 7th grade, and prior to joining, I was never aware of the difficulties that people with special needs have to face every day. They have to deal the fear of not being “normal” and negative social stigmas that I was once compliant with. However, throughout the years as I worked with people like Kurt, Ryan, Jingben, and Brandon, I saw that HOH was a community of individuals with lots of tenacity and resilience, and through observing them, I was able to broaden my world-view and cultivate important soft skills such as compassion and patience. Through the members, you discover that everybody learns at different paces and finding alternative ways of communication can be a better way of connecting with them. For example, your member may strongly gravitate towards art, games, or sports. If you focus on working with them using those activities, it will be much easier to communicate with them.

To all the volunteers – utilize HOH as not only a place to connect with others and form new friendships, but also see that it is a great opportunity for you to develop as an individual. Go run for that officer position, and if things don’t work out the first time, try again the next year. Lead an activity. Make a couple of mistakes. Learn from them. If you are more shy like I am, a lot of this can be hard and some of those mistakes might be very embarassing, but when you look back in the future and reflect upon your experiences, you will see that you have indeed grown, but that growth process will only start if you initiate it. A lot of moments that you experience in the present may bring you feelings of discomfort, but as you sort of become habituated to that feeling, you can tackle your mistakes with much less fear and appraoch them with a more carefree attitude. You will see that in the end, discomfort can yield you unexpected results and bring you to a place you never thought you would end up in.

Lastly to close off, I would like to thank Mrs. Lo for giving me the opportunity to join HOH early on. At first, I thought I was just going to be with her for piano lessons, but I actually ended up learning a lot more through activities like HOH and handbells

Class of 2021

Ricky Luo

Hi HOH families, my name is Ricky Luo, and this is my fifth year being at Heart of Hope. I still can recall back to my first day coming to this great and unite organization. I was extremely shy because I did not know how to speak English at all. I struggled with communicating with the volunteers and our members. But when I fully realized how valuable the purpose of Heart of Hope is, I took a step forward and tried out for leadership positions at HOH.

Over the past 5 years, HOH have provided me with endless opportunities for my personal growth and development. I boosted my confidence through performing at the senior center; strengthened public speaking skills through engaging with volunteers; developed leadership and teamwork skill through my officer experience at HOH. HOH has definitely transformed me into a strong leader, an outgoing communicator, and a better person overall.

I would like to thank all the volunteers for your dedicated work at Heart of Hope, thank all the members for enjoying our meetings and making new friends, thank all the parents for your hearted support and guidance along our journey. Of course, last but not least, thank you Mrs. Lo for creating this amazing organization that is not just helping volunteers to grow, but more so supporting our members and continuing spreading the love and care. I thank you all and I am forever grateful for this wonderful experience.


Hi, my name is Thordar and I’ve been volunteering at Heart of Hope for the past 5 years. Over that time, I’ve been able to build really meaningful connections with both members and other volunteers. Throughout the period of time I’ve been at HOH, I’ve also been pushed to explore outside of my comfort zone and try a lot of new things, which helped me mature and grow a lot throughout my high school experience. I’ve learned a lot about empathizing and interacting with people who I would never have met if it weren’t for HOH, and I definitely have a more open mindset as a result of being exposed to so many different kinds of people on the range of neurodiversity. Everyone who contributes to HOH has been so giving, welcoming, and open to such a wide array of volunteers and members, and I’m also grateful for the fact that by volunteering here I’ve been able to engage with the broader community through all of our special events, like Relay for Life, our bi-annual concerts, and the Diamond Bar SnowFest. I’ve gotten to see and learn a lot of new things through HOH, and I hope that anyone who continues volunteering here gets to gain the same value from this organization, especially when quarantine is over. I would advise other volunteers to be open-minded to putting yourself out there and pushing yourself to try new things, because that’s the best way to figure out who you are and what you like to do. So, to conclude, I would like to thank Ms. Lo for providing this opportunity for all of us, as well as the other students and parents in the group who have made my time with HOH so memorable.

Rachel Xin

My name is Rachel, and this is my fifth year in HOH. First off, I would like to say congratulations and thank you to everyone for putting in the effort to make HOH a success this year, despite having to communicate online. From the past years I’ve been in HOH, I can confidently say that Heart of Hope has grown tremendously into a family of loving people. It has given me much support and satisfaction by simply connecting with each and every unique individual. Through the time spent making crafts, playing music, and even calling or chatting with the members, I learned to cherish each special moment. I have made many wonderful memories, but my favorite is definitely the first time I joined HOH, where I met Ryan, who gave me the biggest smile, and the other volunteers and members who welcomed me with open arms. My other favorite memories happened during the Christmas Concert, particularly the Wheels on the Bus and Frosty the Snowman performances. From building our own costumes to learning the steps to the dance and the lyrics to the song, my spirits rose whenever I saw what a great time everyone was having. It was also especially empowering to see everyone go out of their comfort zone to perform in front of hundreds in the audience.

Overall, HOH has become a parental figure for me, teaching me many vital skills including networking and leadership skills that will stay with me wherever I go. It has given me many meaningful friendships, along with the confidence to speak out in larger crowds and to be the first person to initiate conversations. HOH has instilled in me a new perspective on life: to seek happiness in the little moments and appreciate every person around you. Thank you HOH and especially Ms. Lo for giving me this once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for HOH.

Class of 2020

Ashley Lin

Ashley Lin

Hi everyone! I’m Ashley and I have been volunteering at HOH for the past 4 years. My time spent at HOH is a blessing to my life because I find much joy, taking time away from my Sundays in dedicating effortless amount of hours in engaging with these kids whether it be doing crafts or music class. One of my most memorable times spent at HOH would be the Frosty the Snowman performance because I was able to watch the kids have fun singing and dancing together on stage. Although I was not as involved in HOH during my Junior and Senior year because I was alway helping out the handbell classes, HOH has impacted my life because it helped me realize that we tend to separate ourselves from those who we may view as different or cannot be seen as one of us but in reality, everyone is brilliant and unique in their own way. Whether it be helping teaching HOH kids music in the previous years or helping out in handbells, my journey at HOH has taught me patience and the willingness to serve with a grateful heart, but ultimately to continue to learn from the many differences in life. To conclude, I just want to say thank you to all the volunteers and members for being by my side through my time spent at HOH and for all the wonderful memories we have created together, but I especially want thank Mrs.Lo for the constant support and the mother-figure she is in shaping me to who I am today! I hope that everyone continues to keep a positive attitude in everything they do in life and I hope to continue to see all the hard work you put into this program 🙂

Class of 2020

First off, I would like to thank Ms. Lo for introducing me to HOH and encouraging me to join. Because of this, I’ve been a volunteer at HOH for three and a half years. I still remember the first meeting that i ever went to. I was really nervous because I didn’t know anyone and I had no experience with special needs children. However, the parents, the volunteers, and even the members were so welcoming and made me feel included and comfortable. My favorite memory would probably be when we made halloween snacks from two years ago because that was the first time when my member, Henry, opened up and really started to have fun. I’ve made so many special bonds with both volunteers and members that I’ll cherish forever and I’m so blessed to have been a part of this amazing organization that’s helped me grow as a person. I hope to come visit in the future to see how much HOH and everyone has grown. Thank you!

Melody Kusnohadi

Melody Kusnohadi

Tiffany Chang

Tiffany Chang

Hi everyone! My name is Tiffany Chang, and I have been involved with HOH for the past four years. During those four years, I have definitely cherished many moments that I’ve had interacting with different members. From weekly activities such as playing Rock Paper Scissors with Ryan or drawing with Shao, to larger events such as playing handchimes with Nina at our Annual concerts, these are all fond memories that I have made through HOH.

Looking back, I can definitely say that HOH has not only allowed me to help those in my community, but also to grow as a person. I’ve grown to be more compassionate and patient, while improving my communication and leadership skills. I am definitely thankful for all of the opportunities that I’ve had through HOH, and I will always continue to support HOH and its mission to help others.”

Hi everyone, I’m Tom, and I’ve volunteered with Heart of Hope for the past 5 years, and throughout those 5 years, I’ve taken great joy in dedicating hundreds of hours to the organization and engaging with our members in the various games, crafts, and outdoor activities we do as part of HOH. One of the most fulfilling parts of my experience at HOH was working with different members and discovering what makes them unique and lovable in their own ways. The very first member I worked with, Ryan, was a very kind, sensitive person who always wanted to make sure everyone was enjoying themselves, and that positive energy was so infectious. It was the best introduction I could’ve possibly had to HOH and served as the catalyst for me continuing to put my best foot forward every Sunday to help our members learn and grow. I’ve worked with many other members throughout my time at HOH, Benjamin, who’s the most energetic kid I’ve ever seen, Evan, who I bonded with the most and who I proudly call “my best friend”, and most recently Justin, who possesses such a profound curiosity for everything around him that just lights up your day. Ultimately, my time in HOH has made me realize the enormous struggles those less fortunate than myself face on a daily basis and that it will always be my passion, and my duty, to set aside my own problems to help them. HOH played a huge role in shaping me into the person I am today, and I will be forever grateful for all the people I’ve met and the experiences I’ve had with the organization. So to conclude, I want to extend a huge thank you to every volunteer, member, and parent in HOH, and most especially to our founder, Mrs. Lo, for being one of my biggest supporters from the beginning, and being the mother figure for everyone in this organization. Thank you all for the last few years, some of the best years of my life.

Class of 2020

Tom Murickan

Tom Murickan

Ethan Cheng

Ethan Cheng

Hello, my name is Ethan Cheng and I am grateful for the opportunity to have been able to volunteer for Heart of Hope over the course of three years. Volunteering for Heart of Hope was not only an act of community service but also a chance to connect with other volunteers and members of the organization. During my time with Heart of Hope, I have been assigned many members. Working with these different members was an experience that will stick with me throughout my life. Each member had their own unique personality and along with that, they showed me optimism in finding joy in the smallest of things. While in high school, I was often stressed, but I knew that I could always look forward to every other Sunday. The member that I have spent the most time with was Marcus. Marcus could easily be described as one of the most enthusiastic children I have met. The best part of every day that I volunteered was when Marcus would run up to me with the biggest smile. I would like to express my gratitude to this organization and everyone that I have worked with for helping to shape the person I am today.

Class of 2020

Jocelyn Pan, UC Berkeley Class of 2021 Diamond Bar High School Class of 2017

As an alumni of Heart of Hope and Mrs. Lo’s handbells program, I am forever grateful for the ample opportunities and experiences I was fortunate enough to be a part of. Not only did I gain leadership and interpersonal skills, but I also became more empathetic, kind, and appreciative. My time at HOH stroked my passion for service and primed me to bridge my passions for business and service as a student at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business through various initiatives. The strong community we’ve built here is a safe place where everyone is encouraged to be their best self. As a result, the friendships forged here are unbreakable. HOH is a wonderful program that I’m proud to have been a part of and highly recommend it to anyone interested.

Ryan Liu, UCSD class of 2021

Heart of Hope has helped me better understand how to treat people and help others, not only for those with special needs. Through my time volunteering at Heart of Hope, I can confidently say that I am able to better empathize with people and connect with others through many activities. The activities and exercises done at Heart of Hope were all thoughtful for helping members to bond with volunteers and allowed for everyone to better express themselves. The organization has not only taught me how to treat others and behave with respect, it has also helped me understand how to act as a leader and how to plan for activities through observation and understanding the limits of others.

Norman, UCSB class of 2021

Hi everyone! My name is Norman, and I’ve volunteered for Heart of Hope from middle school until the end of my high school days. Throughout all these years, I’ve learned a lot from dedicating my time to helping the organization and the members. By helping our members it gave me a different perspective on how others go through their life. This allowed me to realize how blessed I was with my life, and I put my own issues aside to help others instead. HOH helped me to grow and made me a better person, and I am very thankful for Mrs. Lo, for introducing me to this organization, ultimately giving me the opportunity to join HOH.

Kaden Yang

I joined the Heart of Hope family when I was in 8th grade. From a young, clueless middle schooler, to a matured incoming college freshmen full of confidence, this purposeful and committed program has changed me in so many ways. When I first started, being pretty shy and timid myself, I didn’t really know how to approach the members. I would often rely on other volunteers to help me communicate with them. As the years progressed, not only was I comfortable and enjoyed being around the members, they also became a big part of my life.

It is very interesting to me of how easily we can relate to our members just through the activities we go through together. They enjoy the same things that we do but are even more passionate. It is also very rewarding to enjoy the special friendships and bonding we’ve developed over the years with the members and other volunteers. I’ve had the privilege of teaming up with Jinben for the past 4 years and a lot of times, I feel I benefit more from being with him than he benefits from me. Seeing Jinben’s exuberant smile and receiving warm bear hugs from him every other Sunday definitely brightened my day. I will always treasure the time we spent together whether it was playing board games, doing PE, learning how to play the handbells, or performing on a stage together.

Heart of Hope is more than just an organization to volunteer. It is a meaningful community where everyone can learn and grow together. I learned how to take care of others with patience and compassion. I learned how to work well with others and coordinate events with everyone. I learned how to prioritize and take initiative as a leader to get things done. I’m so grateful to have been a part of HOH through all my high school years as it has shaped me into who I am today and prepared me to explore the next phase of my life. Thank you Heart of Hope.