by LINDA FRABL | photos by Alan Smith Photography

Youth Leader

student_yang2Stephen Yang, a senior at Canyon Crest Academy, has the leadership, generous spirit, and overall gumption to create a positive difference in the world. Much of his service-minded attitude stems from his involvement as the president of the Alliance of Youth Leaders in the United States (AYLUS), a nonprofit promoting the planning and execution of volunteer projects that benefit the community.

“I enjoy developing leadership skills for youths and empowering them to do something good for the community,” Stephen commented. A small sampling of the AYLUS accomplishments Stephen has achieved include raising $21,073 for Hurricane Harvey/Irma relief, organizing 16 computer-for-kids events, organizing 24 STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) Challenge camps for the children of refugees and immigrants, collecting 18,507 books for various children-based charities, and organizing two fundraising music concerts to benefit the San Diego Brain Injury Foundation and the Deaf Community Services of San Diego, and over 100 music performances at the United Cerebral Palsy of Escondido, the Ronald McDonald House, and nursing homes.


Name: Stephen Yang (17)
School: Canyon Crest Academy
Grade: 12
Parent: Tom and Wendy Yang
Sibling: Christopher (17)
Favorite Local Spots: Trails, Solana Ranch Park, Ocean Air Park, Sammy’s, Katana

student_yang4Perhaps the most impressive of all of Stephen’s good deeds is that he co-founded – along with his brother, Christopher – the Gift of Vision and Hearing (GIVE), a nonprofit dedicated to the collection and distribution of used eyeglasses and hearing aids for the needy all over the world. The idea stemmed from Stephen’s weekly AYLUS music therapy sessions for a 27-year-old partially blind and paralyzed brain injury patient who had suffered a boating accident when she was 13.

Stephen elaborated, “This patient got me thinking about the thousands of people all over the world who had poor vision and hearing from premature birth, disease, or injuries. I had a strong feeling to do something about it, so after discussions with my parents and lots of planning, I founded GIVE.” The GIVE organization has since collected more than 14,000 pairs of eyeglasses, lenses, and hearing aids, and donated them to recipients in Brazil, Cambodia, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, Nepal, Nicaragua, Tanzania, and Uganda. There is even a Yang Ophthalmic Center in Luweero, Uganda.

“I’m inspired by nature, music, art, and poetry.”

When he isn’t studying or volunteering, Stephen is the principal cellist for the San Diego Youth Symphony, and he thrives on playing chess, writing, and tennis. His future goal is to be an entrepreneur or a physician, adding, “I’m inspired by nature, music, art, and poetry.”