The performing arts have provided Lana Lee and Lily Jang with a sense of belonging, purpose and joy since they were little girls.
The Irvine residents are now working to help others discover what they found early in life.
Lee and Jang volunteer at Find Your Light, a nonprofit providing free weeklong musical theater camps to children from underserved communities in Orange County.
“Musical theater has always been a passion of mine,” says Lee, 15, a sophomore at the Orange County School of the Arts who serves as the nonprofit’s co-founder and executive director. “I’ve seen firsthand that huge impact it has on confidence, mental health and creating community.”
At Find Your Light, Jang teaches students while helping with fundraising and community outreach.
“I know I’m blessed to be living in Irvine,” says Jang, 15, a sophomore at Woodbridge High. “To see others who don’t have the same opportunities makes me want to give back and provide them with the opportunity to do what I’ve been able to do.”
“We want to give kids the chance to try something new, enjoy themselves and find their passion.” – Lily Jang
Through her service, Jang hopes to build self-confidence and encourage a sense of community among the students, empowering them to pursue their dreams and become leaders.
“Musical theater isn’t necessarily an affordable thing to do,” says Jang, who coaches students through vocal warmups, singing and choreographed dances during the weeklong camps. “We want to give kids the chance to try something new, enjoy themselves and find their passion.”
Lee and Jang were among five Irvine high school students selected as 2023 Dragon Kim Foundation Fellows, a program providing leadership training and $5,000 in seed funding for community service projects.
Since 2015, the foundation has supported more than 300 high school students across L.A. and Orange counties. This year marks the foundation’s seventh fellowship class, which is made up of 48 teams led by 82 students.