Maggie Dong
3 min readJun 7, 2020

YAPA Kids is a non-profit student-led organization that teaches students (1st- 8th graders) a variety of subjects, ranging from singing to Mandarin to math. Here is our mission statement:

YAPA Kids is a community organization dedicated to inspiring academic curiosity in young students (grades 1 to 8) during a time when schools are overwhelmed and cannot provide proper quality education. We aim to achieve this through course programs that are not only enriching, but also highly exciting and engaging.

In this organization, I am the Mandarin program lead. This means that I am in charge of the entire program/course. That means I recruit teachers, students, fulfill communications, implement curriculums, email the students’ parents, and come up with creative ways to engage both teachers and students. Right now in Mandarin, we have 26 students and 7 teachers (5/15/20).

One of our biggest achievements as a whole is (besides teaching students all across the US!) that we have been featured by NBC News (here)!

When we first got started, none of us thought that we would be significant enough for students to learn from us, let alone a news coverage. In fact, we were all told that it wasn’t going to be a big deal, and it was only going for until school ended. Our main goal was to entertain students during the COVID-19 so parents could work, and children could learn.

When we first uploaded our website (this was when we had about 4–5 courses), we were undoubtly sure if we would have students. I was one of the few teachers that taught writing, and on the first day and second week, we had 0 students. After the issue of having no students arose, our executive team immediately implemented ways to increase our recognition. For example, we were told to tell all of our friends, and to keep going to our website to make it go on the first page of google search.

The students came slowly at first, so when we got 100 students, we were all so ecstatic and thought that the sign-ups would stop from there. It didn’t. The enrollmenets rose to a sudden slope and in one night, we obtained 300 students. We all were shocked. The next day, it rose to 500, then 600, and all the way to 800! And it wasn’t just kids from the Bay Area, we got students from Colorado, Michigan, and all over the US.

Overall, I am very proud of my team. Without the strong leaders and the excellent teachers, we wouldn’t be where we are today. We have a powerful mission statement, and without people sacrificing time and effort to execute those tasks, we wouldn’t have such a strong impact as we do now. So although there were some rough patches and hard decisions, we were able to overcome those challenges as a team and come out stronger than before.