Sage Hill High School student Saara Dang and Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA) student Rohan Soni, both Newport Beach residents and members of the 2023 Fellowship Class of Orange County-based nonprofit Dragon Kim Foundation, made a poignant documentary film titled “Dear Me” the two have created as part of their Dragon Kim Foundation Fellowship project.
The project of these lifelong friends was inspired by Saara’s younger brother who struggles with a kidney condition. It also includes a digital journaling app, that will be available soon on the Apple App Store.
The teens say the film serves as a sanctuary of strength and understanding for youth facing the intertwined journeys of chronic illness and mental wellness. They believe their film is a compassionate companion, a guiding light, and a trusted friend that firmly believes in the unwavering resilience within each individual.
“Living with a chronic illness can often feel like sailing through stormy seas, but remember, it is in the midst of the roughest waters that we learn to navigate,” said Dang. “Within our film, every struggle finds understanding, every challenge encounters resilience, and every story discovers its own rainbow. We are here to support you on your journey, celebrating your victories, uplifting you through your challenges, and, above all, reminding you that you are not alone.”
Soni added, “With ‘Dear Me,’ you embark on a transformative voyage of self-understanding and acceptance, guided by the belief that within you lies an unwavering strength and an extraordinary story. Your journey may be marked by adversity, but it is also destined for resilience and hope.”
The mission of the Foundation is to inspire our youth to impact their communities while discovering and pursuing their passions. As always, the Fellowship leadership training, which elsewhere can cost several thousand dollars, is provided for free to each Dragon Fellow. The teens receive a grant of up to $5,000 to implement their project.
Cumulatively, the projects will benefit thousands of people, including many from socioeconomically disadvantaged communities.
At the end of the program, the top teams will present their projects at the annual Dragon Challenge. One team will win additional funding to continue their project.
“We congratulate these students for their hard work and dedication,” said Dragon Kim Foundation Board Chairman and Co-founder Daniel Kim. “We thank our sponsors, mentors and other supporters for their belief in our program.”
The Fellowship was founded in 2015 in honor of the late Dragon Kim, a talented young musician, athlete, and scholar who wanted to help others. It has become a seedbed for the next generation of creative thinkers and entrepreneurs who want to create positive change.
The Dragon Kim Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization by Grace Tsai and Daniel Kim to honor the memory of their late son Dragon Kim, who had been attending the Orange County School of the Arts. The mission of the Dragon Kim Foundation is to inspire our youth to impact their communities while discovering and pursuing their passions. Visit the website at http://dragonkimfoundation.org