As we hit the month of November, the fall season of High School sports is slowly coming to an end with Golf being the first to wrap up in mid October. However, that doesn’t stop one local Golfer from driving his way to success off the course. Learn more in this Off the Field presented by Advantage Acura.
“If you do something you love you never have to work a day in your life, and this is sort of truly what I love.”
Naperville North junior Zach Wu is one of two area students to ever receive an internship with a government agency called United Chinese Americans. He has also been a part of student council for the Naperville city council sister city commission. While having success with both groups, there is one organization that gave him a great sense of pride. Zach Wu is the president and co-founder of a nonprofit organization called Youth Voices. Zach Wu took over at the start of 2021 and from there he and many other volunteers help over 120 students cultivate their confidence and their communication skills while promoting activism, discourse, and debate. The COVID 19 Pandemic played a big role keeping all those kids in quarantine, leaving them with little to do beyond staring at a screen.
“They don’t spend a lot of time looking up much less to say speaking up and I think like that lost art of just like speaking up for yourself and like taking a stance or just like having opinions and being able to articulate them. It’s something that’s just so important to just being an adult and being like a functioning member of society. We want them to really like know how to communicate and know how to per speed persuasive learn the art of persuasion, the art of rhetoric how to articulate their opinions and their beliefs.”
When everyone returned to a more traditional routine, many students still couldn’t take their eyes off the screen and communicate on a consistent basis. That gave the organization the idea to host events to help give these kids the chance to socialize with the Youth Voices family. Students from schools across the area including Neuqua Valley, Naperville Central, Conant and Barrington to name a few are involved as leaders and instructors. Wu’s leadership skills helped the organization take bigger strides throughout its existence.
“I’ve always been sort of interest in public service not really like the front end of it but the back end of it and just being able to do some of that work behind the scenes to make things happen. Just to have any sort of part in such like a monumental change that could actually affect thousands of lives it was just absolutely incredible to me.”
His teammate Jackson Ciganek knows him more on the links but was always confident in what Wu can do once he puts the clubs away.
“I always knew he was a really smart kid and what I knew about him the stuff about tutoring and helping people with the speech and all that. It’s how he is on the course and as a teammate too he’s a really good leader he’s just great at helping you out with anything you need he’s always there to listen he’s a great guy and it just shows off the course as well.”
Next May will be the 2-year anniversary of Youth Voices, Wu is excited to have another year and a half to improve and grow the organization before graduating in the spring of 2023.
“I can take sort of like two hours out of every two weeks of their lives and just bring them something that I hope woild bring them some value and hopefully we have some fun along the way and more importantly I think hopefully that these are skills that they can take with them to their adulthood and help them later on”
While Wu and the Huskies wait for warmer weather to get back to work on the golf course, he will be continuing to improve the lives of his fellow students in the classroom.
Reporting for Naperville Sports Weekly, I’m Patrick Codo.
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