Heart of Hope

Sponsored by Bright Magpie Charitable Foundation

Heart of Hope Alumni

Class of 2023-2024

Irene Huang

Hey guys! My name is Irene Huang and I am a senior graduating from Chino Hills High School. Some of you know who I am and some of you don’t, but that’s okay because, after today, I will become just another alumni of Heart of Hope. This is my fifth and final year at Heart of Hope. It truly has been a pleasure to be able to work with all of you and get to know you guys. This organization and community has taught me so much over the past 5 years. I would be lying if I said HOH does not have a special place in my heart. Before I go on and on about my experiences at HOH, I would just like to thank my friend, Josephine, for introducing me to this wonderful organization. This is a very welcoming and friendly group of volunteers, parents, and teachers. If it wasn’t for Josephine, I wouldn’t have these special moments and everlasting memories. Now, back to what I planned to say, we learn something new and valuable in each thing we try. For example, by taking on leadership roles and developing my public speaking skills. Working with the other Heart of Hope leadership members taught me the value of cooperation and communication. And I am certain that while organizing activities for Angels 1 and 2, I acquired patience. Ultimately, I’m happy that our community was able to overcome these obstacles and enable our program. I want to express my gratitude to everyone who has supported me along the way at Heart of Hope before I go. We are grateful to all of the parent volunteers who have helped make our program possible by supporting it and putting in countless hours of labor. We appreciate all of the student volunteers that are a part of this incredible organization for coming to work with us here. I am grateful to Mrs. Lo for being a constant mentor, director, and supporter over the past 5 years and for encouraging me to become the person I am today. Finally, but just as importantly, I want to thank all of my friends who have helped me have so much fun at HOH; you guys are a big part of the reasons I have been with this organization for so long. I appreciate everyone listening. Thank you.

Class of 2022

Caleb Lee

Hi everyone, my name is Caleb Lee and I have been with HOH for 4 years. When I first joined Heart of Hope, I believed that I just needed to talk to my members and play with them. I soon realized, however, that it was not that simple.

HOH taught me that communication takes effort, patience, and dedication. Everyone behaves differently so I learned to adapt to different members when I worked with them. For some of the members, their responses are non-verbal so I learned to pay attention to their actions so I can understand them better. Working with my members at Heart of Hope has taught me to be more patient with others. I learned how to communicate better, such as asking questions and sparking conversations. I realized that our members love being asked questions because they would feel a closeness to you if you do ask them.

Through my interactions with HOH members, leaders, and officers, I have become better at listening and being more sensitive to others, being responsible and accountable on my assignments, being proactive, flexible and creative in planning. I have also learned that everyone can benefit from hearing small words of encouragement.

All my experiences at Heart of Hope have taught me many leadership qualities and helped me to develop to be a better person. Heart of Hope is an amazing organization and I am sure HOH will continue to brighten hearts and bring hope to many in the organization. Thank you to HOH, to all the members and the wonderful people that I work with and especially to Mrs. Lo, for her encouragement and guidance to me throughout these years. I treasure all the experiences, friendship and learned life attributes from Heart of Hope and will carry them into my next chapter in life.

Dylan Chen

Hello, my name is Dylan Chen and I’m a senior graduating from Ayala High School. Some of you might know me as a familiar face from the HOH leadership you’ve come to recognize over the past years. A few of you might know me better as one of your volunteering friends. Or others might know me as that one random person that Mrs. Lo keeps talking about. But soon I’ll be known as just one of the many alumni we have here at Heart of Hope.

This is my sixth and final year with the HOH community, and it’s truly been a pleasure to be able to work with all of you. Whether it be working at the clothing drives, manning the information booths at festivals, or running the programs at our biweekly meetings and performances, my volunteer experience here will always be something that I’ll remember fondly

I still remember when I first joined Heart of Hope back when I was in junior high. Believe it or not, but I was a shy kid and I rarely talked. I didn’t have the confidence to stand up in front of people and talk, and it was hard for me get to know people. And on top of that, I was one of the only volunteers from the Chino Valley Unified School District, I felt really out of place because I didn’t know anybody, but I do truly believe that I was really lucky that I was introduced to such a welcoming group of parents, teachers, and volunteers. Over the past few years, I’m really grateful to have had the opportunity to work with such an amazing group of volunteers. With all of the supportive parents, to our talented leadership team, and of course the guidance from Mrs. Lo, I’m proud of how much I’ve grown from my experiences here at HOH.

Of course, that’s not to say that everything here at HOH went smoothly, though. There were definitely some lengthy meetings, or awkward activities, and a lot of rough transitions while we transition onto Zoom and then back to in person this year. For those of you guys who were with us from 2020 to 2021, you know what I mean. If I’m being honest, those Zoom monologues I had to do to lead activities were not it.

Still it’s important to remember that from each challenge, we learn something valuable. By stepping up to leadership positions I learned how to speak in front of others. During my work with the rest of the Heart of Hope leadership, I learned communication and teamwork. And I know I definitely learned patience while teaching Angel 3. In the end, I’m proud that as a community we’ve been able to work through these challenges and make our program possible.

Before I go, I’d like to give a special thanks for everyone that’s been a part of my journey here in Heart of Hope. Thank you to all of the volunteer parents who have supported our program, and have worked tirelessly to make this program possible. Thank you to all the student volunteers who are part of this amazing orginization, for choosing to dedicate your time with us here. Thank you to Mrs. Lo, for always acting as a guide for me over the past 11 years and pushing me to grow into the person I am today. And last but not least, thank you to all of my friends here today that have made HOH so much fun for me; you guys mean the world to me.

Thank you all for listening!

Angie Sun

My name is Angie Sun , I am going to UC Berkeley study business and I have been involved in Heart of Hope (HOH) for about 5 years. Before joining HOH, I was not very aware of the needs of special needs children nor was I a very active part of my local community. In addition, I was a somewhat shy and introverted individual who hesitated to take on any leadership positions. Joining HOH at the urging of Ms. Joanna Lo was an action that changed this. On my first day, I remember being somewhat tense and nervous, as I did not really know anyone or what to expect of this experience. However, after being welcomed with open arms by many of the volunteers who encouraged me to join them in taking care of children with special needs, I felt incredibly happy. Week after week, I looked forward to going to HOH’s weekly Sunday meetings, ready to have fun with the special needs kids I was assigned to take care of. Seeing their enthusiastic smiles prompted me to take on leadership positions so that I could enhance the impact I had on the community. As activities leader and treasurer, I assisted in managing and designing fun and enriching activities for the children. HOH has made me more outgoing, more skilled in public speaking, and overall more involved in my community. To this day, HOH remains one of my most treasured activities that brightened my days throughout middle school and high school. Words can not express how thankful I am to Ms. Lo for encouraging me to join HOH, as it has had such a deep impact on my life. Even though my time in HOH is ending, the memories I have made within this organization will carry on with me. To anyone who is contemplating on joining, I wholeheartedly encourage you to do so.

Jolie Wang

Hello everyone! My name is Jolie Wang and I am a senior at California School of the Arts! This fall, I plan on attending Carnegie Mellon University for a BFA in Acting!

I’m so grateful to have been a part of Heart of Hope for the past 6 years. HOH has taught me to be communicative, more open minded, and resourceful.

Heart of Hope has provided me with experiences that I would not experience anywhere else. Having been both a leader and officer, I have been able to have closely helped with the organization of HOH. The skills that I have acquired from HOH are skills that I can take with me to college, in future careers, and the rest of my life.

Kelly Wang

The past 6 years at HOH have been such a blessing. When I first joined in middle school, I begun my journey as a small helper in Angel class. I recall assisting in small activities and passing out snacks with my good friend, Katrina. Before I knew it, I became a leader for Eagle class during my early high school years where I started planning weekly activities and becoming more involved with our members. Now, in the blink of an eye, I’m a graduated alumni of Heart of Hope. HOH was such a precious experience for me. Here, I was not only taught countless lessons but I also had the pleasure of meeting so many promising individuals. There are so many people I want to thank supporting me on this journey, but today I would like to dedicate a special message to Mrs. Lo for always understanding my schedule as a student athlete, supporting me on competitions, and letting me off the hook when I couldn’t attend meetings
HOH has an extremely talented and bright group awaiting and will be left in great hands. I can not wait to hear what the exciting, great news the future holds for HOH. Thank you, for the past 6 years.—Kelly Wang

Andrew Huang

Hi everyone, I’m Andrew, and I’ve had the pleasure of volunteering with HOH for 6 years. Throughout my time here, I’ve grown as a person and developed new values that I will keep throughout life. 

When I first started volunteering with HOH, I was paired with a twelve-year-old named Brian. At the time, I was like him: quiet, unsure of what to do, and intimidated by the crowd of people who seemed to know exactly what to do. However, through our various mutual interactions, I began to develop a strong bond with Brian. I have many fond memories of running around campus, playing cards, and making crafts with Brian. I will always cherish the moments we shared, and this type of connection is something that we should all strive for. 

Through HOH, I’ve become more confident and empathetic. I’ve learned about the value of being patient and finding joy in each and every little interaction. By taking the time to connect with others on a personal level, we can create meaningful experiences that will stay with us for a lifetime.

Finally, I’d like to thank Mrs. Lo for her valuable guidance and her abundant positivity which have helped me progress through the years. Her leadership and enthusiasm have been instrumental in creating a welcoming and supportive environment for all volunteers. 

Volunteering with HOH has been an incredibly fulfilling experience, and I’ve learned many valuable life lessons all while making a positive impact on the community. Thank you HOH for all the wonderful years, and thank you to all the volunteers, members, and parents for making HOH what it is.

Henry Wang

Hi Everyone my name is Henry Wang.
I am a graduating senior from Walnut High School and I going to UC Riverside for the next four years for college.
I joined HOH at the beginning of my high school career, meaning that it has been nearly five years since I joined.
In this five year period I have grown and changed a lot.
From a normal community service to an online one and coming back to normal again is the most the unique and unforgettable experience I will ever have next to my high school career.
Throught this experience, I have learned skills that will stay with me forever. I have found a place where I am welcomed by everyone.
A place where I have gained new friends and memories I will never forget
My faviorite memory of HOH is a very recent one. It is when I signed up for the clothing driving at diamond high school and staying there from 10am in morning to 5pm, loading and unloading all those donated clothes to the donation site. Who knew it would be that fun to work together with friends and having a laughing getting buried by bags of toys and clothing thrown around.
For the new and remaining members, I want to give two pieces of philosophical advice that I think is very applicable to you because I found truth within it while I was preparing this speech and reflecting in my memories. “a man loves walking will walk further than a man who loves the destination.” The second piece of advice is “trust the process”. If you do both of these things you will become a far greater person than you were before
I want to thank my mother for taking care of me and allowing me to participate in HOH

I want to thank my friends that had made this journey especially memorable for me and had to put up with my shenangens.
Lastly, I want to thank the parents, especially Mrs. Lo, for organizing HOH and giving us a place where we can feel at home and help those that are in need. Without the parents it would be impossible for all this to take place.
Thank you for listening everyone and I hope all of you have a fantastic future.

Aaron Luan

Hello everyone, my name is Aaron Luan, and I will be studying Economics for 4 years at NYU!

When I first joined HOH, I was a very different person from who I am now. I was very quiet, shy, and afraid of talking to groups of people. Yet here I am now, doing something I never would have imagined years ago. For me, it was all about trying new things. As cliche as it sounds, trying something new can take many forms: from jumping into conversations, to asking questions, making friends; or, even applying for leadership at HOH. I guarantee you that will be a rewarding experience.

I have learned so much from being both a leader and a follower at HOH. I would like to thank all the leaders and officers, the parents, and of course Mrs. Lo for all of their support of HOH and its volunteers and members over the years.

Katrina Sung

Hi everyone, my name is Katrina. I can’t believe it’s already time for me to make my graduating speech. I started volunteering with Heart of Hope six years ago and it’s very bittersweet to leave. I feel that I’ve grown as an individual a lot in my time with HOH.

From my experience, Heart of Hope is an more than a volunteer organization. It is a nonjudmental community that offers an open space for expression, creativity, and meeting new people. I joined HOH in 6th grade and as an incoming middle schooler, the idea of meeting new people and creating lasting bonds was intimidating. At first, I remember feeling timid around the older volunteers who had more experience than I. However, volunteering with HOH has helped me come out of my shell more and it’s really helped me become more confident when meeting new people.

I truly believe HOH is a wonderful community and I’m very grateful to had have the chance to volunteer here for all these years. I’ve learned leadership skills and most importantly made lasting bonds with our members. To all the new and younger volunteers, I hope you continue to volunteer with a positive attitude. I also encourage you to talk to our special needs friends and interact with them because you will find out how lovely everyone is. Don’t just stick to familiar faces and try to challenge yourself, open up to others and you might be surprised at the friendships you’ll create. I have many high hopes for HOH and I’m excited to see how this organization will continue to grow and evolve. Good luck to our new leaders and I can’t wait to see what you guys have planned!

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.