FCSN GYVers 2022: Richard Zhang

In FCSN Voices’ 2022 GYVers campaign, we are proud to honor the graduating high school seniors who have contributed so much to the success of FCSN’s programs.

Written by Daniel Liu, FCSN Voices Youth Reporter

Graphics by Amanda Loh, FCSN Voices Graphic Artist

For Mission San Jose High School senior Richard Zhang, his time at FCSN started as a passion towards aiding the special needs community. Today, he has contributed to the FCSN community with more than 1000 hours spent volunteering. He volunteered for at least six hours per week for FCSN activities when in-person tutoring was possible. He still consistently volunteers for at least three hours per week during the COVID-19 era, with an additional one to two hours per week during summer activities. 

Richard started volunteering for FCSN during freshman year after his friends told him of the impact on the special needs community, quickly dedicating his time to the SNTutoring program. He was particularly motivated to volunteer when he researched some prevalent disordersin the special needs community, finding out that many have worsening symptoms. For Richard, seeing and teaching the children one-on-one taught him to value his experiences at FCSN. “I can see that their bodies are going through a lot, and there’s a lot of labor needed to perform tasks because of their symptoms. I think that’s the experience that motivates me,” Richard said.

Richard is proud of his dedication to his cooking and music classes under SNTutoring. The program encourages the close bond between the tutor and student andRichard has consistently participated in a one-to-one music class from his beginnings in freshman year to senior year. He is particularly glad that he could continue teaching the classes virtually after the pandemic had begun. “The bond between the student and tutor is very important, and I’ve come to learn that through FCSN,” said Richard.

When the coronavirus pandemic began, it was an especially hard hit to Richard’s family, being workers in the food industry. Richard needed to work more in order to support his own family, but he always found time to continue his passion for the FCSN community. During classes, Richard has found it challenging to keep the children focused on the proper activities because they would frequently become distracted or run away. However, Richard realized that actively engaging with the children is a great way to keep them focused. “As long as you go slowly and continue being interested and engaged in the topic, it’ll be great,” Richard said.

Outside of FCSN, Richard enjoys cooking simple recipes, traveling, and music in general.

He is currently committed to University of California, Santa Barbara, studying Statistics and Data Science, where he hopes to improve technology for the benefit of the special needs community.

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