Navigating high school isn’t easy. But Richmond High senior Ryan Saechao has still found time to serve on student councils and volunteer at a soup kitchen, among other community advocacy efforts.
The hard work has paid off. The student’s civic and community involvement is partly the reason he is one of five Bay Area teens — and among nearly 300 young people across the U.S. — named Bank of America’s Student Leaders. As a Student Leader, Saechao will embark upon a paid summer internship at YMCA of San Francisco, where he’ll learn the daily ins and outs of what it takes to be part of a successful nonprofit, according to Bank of America.
To become inspirational, it’s helps to have been inspired. Saechao said his drive to become a leader who helps others derives from his parents, who endured five years in a refugee camp after fleeing war-torn Laos.
“My parents went through a lot of hardships coming to America and from these stories it made me more passionate about improving the lives of others,” he says.
Joining Saechao as Student Leaders: Essence Burroughs, Oakland, Skyline High School; Christine Chen, San Francisco, Lowell High School; Elia Garay, Hayward, Leadership High School (recent graduate); and Ricky Lam, Oakland, Oakland Technical High School.
Student Leaders will either work at YMCA of San Francisco and at Junior Achievement of Northern California.
The internships “can help prepare a young person for long-term success,” said Gioia McCarthy, San Francisco – East Bay market president, Bank of America. “Investing in youth and young adults is part of our broader commitment to connect people to the training and jobs needed for success, ultimately strengthening our community.”
Also in July, Student Leaders from across the country will be invited to an annual leadership summit in Washington, D.C. (July 8-13), where they will build advocacy and inclusive leadership skills, develop a peer network, meet with members of Congress and participate in a service learning project at the American Red Cross.