LACI showcases impact of USC in local community

first_imgLos Angeles Community Impact, a pro bono student consulting organization, held its Spring 2016 Showcase on Wednesday in the Radisson Hotel.Two members of the LACI team gave presentations of their work done over the past 10 weeks. Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs of LA’s BEST, a nonprofit organization for students ages 5-12, Belma Johnson also gave an address during the event.The current LACI President, Ling Zeng, a junior majoring in business administration, opened the showcase by congratulating the nine student teams working with nine different non-profit organizations over the past semester.“LACI has had the chance to work alongside homeless centers, arts advocacy platforms, educational programs and many more organizations,” Zeng said. “We’re hoping to make a difference, one project, one semester at a time.”Johnson then delivered the keynote speech about the importance of leading a balanced life during the late twenties, advice that he said is particularly important for LACI volunteers. He mentioned the issue of “crossing the 27 bridge,” a reference to helping people navigate the crucial time between 24 and 29, and the defining effect that these few years can have on a person’s life.“Alexander the Great ruled the world at age 27. JD Rockefeller began building his Standard Oil empire at age 27,” Johnson said. “Kurt Cobain shot himself in the head at age 27. Aristotle began writing his great trilogy at age 27.”Johnson also used the metaphor of the Greek gods Dionysus and Apollo to represent the choice between hedonism and pragmatism that young adults will encounter. Johnson said that LACI members embodied the best of both realms.“The people who are going to follow me on stage … are the Apollonian-Dionysian dream team.” Johnson said. “Everyone in LACI is smart and focused and well-connected [and] talented. But they’re also generous and caring [and] socially ambitious, [like] Apollo and Dionysus.”Two of the nine LACI student teams presented for about 15 minutes each on their projects for the semester. The first team showcased their work with LA’s BEST, the after-school program that Johnson runs, which was created to address “an alarming rise in the lack of adequate adult supervision of children during the critical hours between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.,” according to the program’s website.The consulting team working alongside LA’s BEST consisted of sophomore public policy and development and economics/mathematics major Aditi Ramesh, sophomore business administration major Chase Hainsworth, freshman business administration major Kali De Cambra and freshman global health and applied mathematics major Lauren Phillips. As part of their consultations with the program, the LACI team suggested that LA’s BEST incorporate mental health treatment for K-12 students in the LAUSD area.“LA’s BEST was created to address the alarming rise in lack of after-school supervision,” Ramesh said. “It had three main facets: communication, activities and nutrition. While they’ve never attempted a mental health project before, we wanted to add this component to their current curriculum.”The second team worked alongside Getting Out by Going In, a group dedicated to providing materials and arranging programs within California prisons to create a more positive prison culture. Kim Nguyen, Ryan Ochoa, Yash Kamath and Raquel Buscaino formed the student consulting team that worked to set appropriate prices for GOGI products and figure out efficient methods of delivering the product.“We looked at a couple of different avenues of research [to help GOGI],” Ochoa said. “We actually went out to prisons and surveyed about a hundred prisoners.”As Zeng finished her term as president of LACI, she thanked LACI members for their dedication and spoke about her personal achievements during her time in the organization.“It’s been incredible,” Zeng said. “I joined two-and-a-half years ago, and the amount of growth I’ve seen from myself and my ability to connect with the community has been phenomenal. I think above everything, LACI has provided that real-world tangible experience that my classes haven’t had the chance to do yet.”last_img read more