I had a vision in 2013 to work with the leaders and volunteers in the 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 needs is proper channeling of their energy and opportunities to utilize their talents and resources for the benefit of others.
Since founding OC Cares, I have been struck by both the desire of our youth to get involved in social causes, and also that many of them did not have the tools to fully-achieve their desire. As a result, OC Cares, while still having a primary interest in funding beneficial causes to help people in our communities, has decided to focus our efforts on providing tools to our youth who want to grow as socially-responsible entrepreneurs. We created a Youth Social Entrepreneur Program (Project Y) designed to provide opportunities to develop empathy and compassion and to teach leadership skills that our youth need to become creative and socially-responsible, entrepreneurial young men and women.
It is my hope that through OCCares our youth's perspective on life will be more positive and they will become successful social entrepreneurs that make a meaningful impact wherever they go in this world! We welcome those that share our vision to join us in our mission.
-Katherine Ahn Wallace, Founder
If you would like to get involved with OCCares as a volunteer or donor, please email us at email@example.com