Community: Meet Jared, Chairman of the Pathway Foundation in Bellevue, WA
Interviewer: Lillian Huang; July 19, 2020
Interviewee: Jared Hu
Jared Hu, chairman of the Pathway Foundation's Mayoral Internship Program (Jared Hu).
Could you tell us about yourself and your organization? What do you do within this organization?
My name is Jared Hu. I am a rising senior at Interlake High School in Bellevue, WA and I am also the Chairman of the Pathway Foundation’s Mayoral Internship program. The Pathway Foundation is a nonprofit that enables the next generation of youth in civic engagement through hands-on student projects that benefit the community in different ways. The students are not only learning the importance of civics, but they are also learning to take charge, building networking and marketing skills, and becoming team players and leaders through this experience. Throughout my time at this internship, I have led a project that promotes Awareness for the 2020 Census in students and ethnic minority populations by working with nonprofits and school districts. We have many other great student projects that are ongoing, such as Pathway Global Goals, which promotes volunteering and service through action; Pathway Media and Blog, which helps with our marketing; Civic Club Network, a series of clubs in different high schools that promotes civics education and discussions to students, etc. As the Chair of the internship, I work with my team to promote inter-project communication, organization, and to engage the interns so that they can get the most out of their internship experience. Targeting issues of the recent pandemic, my team and I initiated the Pathway Summer Tutoring program, which pairs our intern volunteers with low-income middle and high school students for a series of free summer classes on a subject of the student’s choice. Not only does this help the students that lacked adequate academic opportunities due to the pandemic by offering free tutoring help, but it also engaged many of our interns this summer in a service that is meaningful and beneficial to the community amid recent problems caused by the pandemic.
How has COVID-19 impacted your organization and the way that it runs?
In response to the pandemic, our organization cancelled our in-person weekly meetings a few months before summer began. Though we aren’t able to meet in person anymore, we are still trying to engage everyone to the best of our abilities. To celebrate our graduating seniors, we had a virtual party on Zoom and incorporated group games that could be played through our screens, such as charades and Kahoot. Aside from changing the format of our meetings, we had to change aspects of our projects as well. We boosted our online marketing efforts via social media and updated our website so that people can learn about our projects without meeting us in person. We have also initiated new projects and programs, which is our way of easing the pandemic-related problems that our community currently faces.
It can be assumed that things will never be the same after COVID-19. How do you think society and the way that we interact with one another will change after this outbreak?
My mom said that people will grow distant from each other due to the quarantine -- I disagree. I think that if anything, we will appreciate our friends and families more after this outbreak since we often take them for granted and do not realize how fortunate we are to have them. What is lost (in-person interactions) and found again is most precious; I won’t be surprised if social interactions after the outbreak become more awkward (since we are low on practice), but I think they will be more organic and sincere.
"What is lost (in-person interactions) and found again is most precious; I won’t be surprised if social interactions after the outbreak become more awkward (since we are low on practice), but I think they will be more organic and sincere."
If you are willing to share, how has COVID-19 affected you personally and your family?
Personally, I have been sending many more emails and I have gotten used to meeting people through my computer screen. On the other hand, I now have a lot more time to devote to family activities, and we often spend our leisure time visiting the outdoors (with social distancing and masks), which is something we didn’t do very often before the pandemic. I think the pandemic has truly dropped the fast-paced, non-stop high school life I was so used to; it really pushed me to slow down and pay closer attention to the people and things I have taken for granted in my life.
What is the greatest lesson we can learn from the current situation of COVID-19?
Personally, I think this pandemic has reminded our society of the importance of emergency preparedness, organization, and teamwork. We have lost many lives due to our lack of proper action and the government’s failure to respond in the early stages of this pandemic; after all, the number of deaths is still growing, even as I complete this interview. I think the greatest lesson we can learn from this outbreak is that we must work together as functional members of society to have mutual success, and that small sacrifices must be made to achieve wellness for everyone. On the contrary, we can also learn that failure will have consequences if we don’t try to fix the problem at its root.