On Saturday, June 29, 2019, the Linens N Love Southern California Chapter hosted a one-day intensive summer leadership certification program for exclusively eleven applicants. Students from Valencia High, Portola High, Canyon High, and Del Norte High all came together for this exciting event! Many people did not know each other, but by the end of the event, all of the chapters became one great big Linens N Love family. President of the Portola High School Linens N Love Chapter Tanner Hsu stated that "Working with people that I didn’t know very well and being able to get to know them and become friends" was his favorite aspect of the day. The event began with the Linens N Love team organizing and participating in a delivery to the Moreno Valley Animal Shelter. Volunteers first arrived at the Courtyard by Marriott in Riverside, where the volunteers lifted boxes of linens and placed them into the cars to be brought to the local Moreno Valley Animal Shelter. Upon arrival, volunteers transported and moved 400 linens into the Moreno Valley Animal Shelter! After unloading the linens and meeting the faculty, Linens N Love leaders embarked on a tour of the animal shelter. Lauren Nguyen of Valencia High School shared with the group that "...seeing young kittens and puppies" was her most memorable part of the leadership certification program. Linens N Love had the opportunity to interact with the shelter animals there, from the dogs to the kittens.
Following the tour, the Linens N Love team traveled back to the Courtyard by Marriott in Riverside to continue their day of leadership activities and team bonding. The leadership activities ranged from learning about communication skills to how to arrange a delivery. The first session was a reflection session on the delivery to the Moreno Valley Animal Shelter. Lauren Owen from Valencia High School told the team during the reflection session, "My favorite part was seeing people around me with a similar mindset who I knew wanted to work to improve the world around us". For Linens N Love volunteers, many students enjoy the reflection session the most because this gives everyone an opportunity to reflect upon the shelter tour and express their thoughts on how they can further make an impact. Bailey Cooper, an avid member from Portola High said to the group, "Meeting new people, learning about animals, and negotiating and how to sell and also being able to become closely involved in the organization, which I have come to love" was her favorite aspect of the leadership day.
Additionally, another exciting session was a leadership and communications session on both accountability and media. Leaders participated in an activity of Telephone where students communicated lines that pertain specifically to Linens N Love. By the end of the activity, students learned how important good communication is and how communication is essential for the success of Linens N Love. Samantha How, a Linens N Love member from Canyon High School, stated that her favorite part of the day was "...meeting new people during team bonding games".
Attendees participated in exciting games in which they were split into two groups and immediately made friends with one another in their groups! The two teams created their team names: Team Clifford and Team Boba. Many attendees wondered why our group for the day was so small and intimate. We strived to create an uplifting and bonding environment, so the application process ensured that we would be able to include everyone who was accepted into the program in our discussions, reflection activities, and team bonding games. The most exciting team bonding game was a game called "Bubble Tower" in which Team Clifford and Team Boba split into their teams and had to work together to build a tower of bubbles entirely out of soap and water. By the end of the activity, students learned how important teamwork and collaboration is. A common theme that was discussed during our reflections was that a strong foundation and leadership is essential for success.
Diya Vanmali from Del Norte told the reflection group, "It was also fun meeting new people" and Manav Sarolia also shared that "....the animal shelters was my favorite part". Near the end of the leadership event, Linens N Love leaders participated in an activity led by Yale-NUS student May Wang and co-founder of Linens N Love. During this activity, leaders learned successfully how to communicate with one another and how compromise is essential for proper communication. Valencia High student Shweta Shah shared, "My favorite part of the leadership training today was the Harvard Business School simulation regarding negotiations. It was a great way to experience how we would have to negotiate in the future, not only in Linens N Love, but also in our real life. In order to gain, one must compromise and reach a deal". By the end of this activity, participants learned successfully how to negotiate with one another and reach a consensus, although some members had the better end of the deal than others! Charlotte Hsu, our video editor and board member from Portola High, said "meeting new people and getting into groups to work together or negotiate situations" was her favorite part of the day. After reviewing and discussing the results of the activity based on each group, the results were shocking to see that some people did not receive the better end of the compromise and negotiation. Grace Owen, a passionate member from Valencia High said that "it really got me to focus, think, compromise, and talk with other people".
At the end of the event, students reflected upon the event and everyone was so bummed to have to say goodbye to each other. Khushi Sarolia, a student and member from Del Norte High School told us that "More students should experience more of the day we have" and she enjoyed the event greatly. Participants were awarded their certificates of completion for leadership training and all hugged goodbye. We can't wait to meet up with each other again to change the world as a team!
The entire Linens N Love team would like to thank the Courtyard by Marriott in Riverside for supporting us by providing a large meeting room for us to use for over six hours! Thank you Courtyard Riverside for making our leadership certification program possible!
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