With the support of the Dragon Kim Foundation – http://dragonkimfoundation.org – an Orange County, California-based nonprofit whose mission is to inspire our youth to impact their communities while discovering and pursuing their passions, a motivated Los Alamitos High School student has answered a familiar question: What will you do on your summer vacation?
For sophomore Riley Yew, the answer was to combine her love of chemistry with her passion for cosmetics to create Cosmetic Chem for Kids, a hands-on camp that demonstrates how chemistry can be fun and integrated into the everyday lives of underserved kids to encourage them to follow their interest in science and consider academic careers.
Through interactive projects and fun experiments, Cosmetic Chem for Kids shows them a side of chemistry that is interesting and applicable to everyday life and allows for an outlet for self-expression at home. Additionally, the camp encourages kids to use more environmentally sustainable products that are homemade rather than mass produced.
Recently, her lab partners were eager kids at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Anaheim and Cypress. During the course of the camp, they made bath bomb, toothpaste, sunscreen,
moisturizer, lip balm and bubbles.
“Cosmetic Chem this summer has been such an amazing experience,” said Riley. “The joy and amazement on the kids’ faces every time they learned something new is the most rewarding feeling. Listening to them talk about how excited they were for the next project and how much they would miss us when we had to leave made all of the work worth it. I am eternally grateful for this experience and all of the connections I was able to build.”
Her project is one of 28 sponsored this year by the Dragon Kim Fellowship that will be putting almost $150,000 back into our communities by granting up to $5,000 to each Dragon Fellowship team to bring their community service project to life.
The teams receive three weekends of leadership training and hands-on guidance from mentors from the community with experience in their project area, who are bringing diverse backgrounds in business, real estate, engineering, finance, computer science, healthcare, education and more.
“As a first year Dragon Kim Foundation mentor, I am thrilled to be a part of Cosmetic Chem and working with Riley,” said the project’s mentor, Tammy Ho of Canyon Partners. “It has been an amazing journey so far watching her create and develop her ideas into a program that finds unique ways to make chemistry relatable. I admire her passion for education and her enthusiasm to make an impact to the kids and families in her community.”
“We applaud Riley for sharing her love for science with children who might otherwise not have the opportunity to learn more about how everyday products are made and become inspired to keep learning more about the world around them,” said Foundation Executive Director Grace Tsai Kim.
At the end of the program, Dragon Fellows will present their project to a panel of esteemed judges at the Dragon Challenge on September 19. The top projects may be eligible to compete for additional funding to continue their projects.
The Fellowship was founded in honor of the late Dragon Kim, a talented young musician, athlete and scholar who wanted to help others. It has become a seedbed for the next generation of creative thinkers and entrepreneurs who want to create positive change.