I had a vision in 2013 to collaborate with other caring leaders in my community to promote Unity, Charity & Compassion:
Unity by encouraging businesses, schools, and individuals to work together in harmony
Charity by supporting the non-profit organizations in Orange County and helping raise awareness and funds for their causes.
Compassion by nurturing the spirit of volunteerism and participation among our youth to become part of a community solution.
My parents lived and demonstrated a life of giving and self-sacrifice. My father is a retired pastor that has a passion for mission work, and my mother is a Social Entrepreneur at heart who works tirelessly in her orchard to help support my father's self-supporting mission work in India and Bangladesh. In addition, my mother has helped many people start small businesses in farming and continues to help those in need. Their life of service helped shape my life and provided the foundation for the vision of OCCares.
While serving as a Commissioner of the Children and Families Commission of Orange County (2013~2016), I began to discover the great needs that were present in Orange County and the wonderful non-profit organizations that were striving to meet those needs. I also saw the effectiveness of the Commission’s model of supporting established non-profit organizations, recognizing that by aiding organizations with a proven track record, more dollars can go directly towards helping those in need.
While serving on the Visioning Council of my church and interacting with other churches and organizations, I learned that there were many people in organizational settings that were looking for ways to reach out to the community in need. Also, my experience as a volunteer for various non-profit organizations gave me the opportunity to meet many corporations and individuals that were looking to support organizations that were serving the community effectively and efficiently.
As a mom raising an only child in a society of excess, I realized that I was focusing a significant amount of time and energy on my daughter's achievements and accomplishments and one day I "woke up" with a thought that she may grow up missing out on all of the benefits of giving and caring for others. On speaking with other parents, I realized that many other parents shared my sentiments. Although many were preoccupied with their phones and social media, when asked to serve, most youth, including my daughter, were willing and happy to contribute their time and talents for a meaningful cause. I concluded that what our youth need is proper channeling of their energy and time to utilize their talents and resources for the benefit of others.
Since founding OC Cares in 2013, I have been struck by the fact that many of our youth have the desire to get involved in social causes but do not have the right tools or opportunities. As a result, while still maintaining its mission to help the people in need in our communities by supporting already existing non-profit organizations, OCCares made a decision in 2015 to accomplish its mission through a student-driven high school Social Entrepreneurship Club (Project Y Clubs) Program which provides opportunities for students to develop empathy and compassion while learning leadership skills that they need to become creative socially-responsible, entrepreneurial young men and women.
It is my hope that through OCCares our youth will become successful compassionate leaders that make a positive impact wherever they go in this world! We welcome those that share our vision to join us.
-Katherine Ahn Wallace, Founder
If you would like to get involved with OCCares as a volunteer or donor, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org