Young People Making a Difference - NFCR


Young People Making a Difference

Youth Volunteering 1

NFCR Dinner: An Outreach for Youth Volunteerism

Advocacy speaks loudest through the voices of compassionate individuals. Fortuitously, the “National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR) dinner event” guides young volunteerism and advocacy in a bright direction. The event aimed to create a space with familiarity and education, varying from lively reunions to beautiful performances and raising awareness about NFCR’s mission and goals.

The event 

Held at Mama Wok on July 8, the event was directed by NFCR Executive Director Brian Wachtel and former employee Emily Wen, along with student ambassadors. “The event was shaped by wanting to do something to recognize the work of NFCR and long-time volunteers Katie and Kenny,” Brain shares. “We had goals of celebrating student and volunteer efforts while trying to fund- raise for NFCR.”

NFCR strays away from being a corporation and instead strives to be a tight-knit community. Katie and Kenny felt that they were a part of the NFCR family during the time they volunteered with NFCR. As Katie stated, “NFCR has been welcoming to me since the first day. I’m honored to have the opportunity to gain experience from working with NFCR.”

The occasion was remarkably successful, attracting many guests, presenting a 10-course meal accompanied by a captivating program, and raising a total of $5700 in support of NFCR. Although the event was produced by Brian and Emily, it could not have come to fruition without the assistance of the youth ambassadors.

Young People Making a Difference

Throughout the planning process to performing at the event itself, student volunteers find value in every course of action. Brian emphasizes, “it’s crucial to provide students with opportunities to stand out amongst peers and use a platform for involvement and impactful change, especially with the refreshed energy that the youth have.”

Jing Yi Yang is a high school student who volunteered during the event. With her experience in playing the Guzheng, a traditional Chinese zither, she performed the piece “Battling the Typhoon” for the audience. As a parallel to her interpretation of the piece, she hopes to convey the message to always remember that rainbows will eventually return to those who may be struggling to come across barriers in life. It connects the audience to become engaged with a beautiful, vivid representation of the message and positivity that NFCR advocates for.

Jing Yi found herself wanting to volunteer in order to promote her own culture. She feels that “Chinese culture is not represented enough… It’s like a dream for me to promote our culture to more people. Perhaps just a bit more of the 5,000 years of history, a bit more understanding from others and just a bit of my music will promote my culture. Music is an international language that everyone can understand.” Along with wanting to represent her culture, she wanted to go out of her comfort zone. She feels that “this is the only way for me to let others see me and my Guzheng.” It stands to show that the NFCR not only stands as a platform to combat cancer but also uplifts students and their identities.


Participation is highly encouraged, as NFCR is always in need of a kind and helpful community. If you find yourself interested in supporting NFCR in any way—volunteerism, donations, or even advocacy—we recommend that you check out the NFCR website. The home page of the website has two tabs in the upper right corner titled “Get Involved” and “Ways to Give” which act as hubs for the volunteer opportunities.

NFCR believes that the future will be built by the youth. If you’re interested in getting involved with cancer research, prevention, and leadership opportunities, please contact



Written by Elizabeth Chung, high school student from Richard Montgomery HS in Rockville, MD