The art of kindness
When junior Andy Jin first discovered his deep-rooted passion for photography, he saw it as an ordinary hobby. However, in the span of three years, he found himself leading a cause to help those in need from across the world by exhibiting art.
Jin’s inspiration to create Art Love Charity (ALC) was conceived when he participated in the Beauty of Hsi Lai photo competition and won first place. Instead of spending the $1000 reward on himself, he had a different mindset — to reach out to others who needed the money more. He proceeded to use his earnings to buy basic materials, such as frames and camera parts for the startup of his organization.
“It seemed almost like a coincidence. I entered the competition out of my love for photography and was quite surprised that I won first place,” Jin said. “I thought that it would be regretful if I were to spend the money on something superficial, so I guess [the competition] actually catalyzed the establishment of ALC.”
Initially, Jin considered giving up his hobby of taking photos after entering high school. However, motivated by the academic environment to start volunteer work at school, he founded ALC and eventually viewed the charity as a way to express his interests with beneficial outcomes.
“My passion for photography atrophied previously because I used to think that I wouldn’t have enough time for it in high school, since it didn’t seem to serve certain purposes at first,” Jin said. “Now, however, since I’m able to [use art to promote charity], my passion increased greatly because I know it’ll be not only fun, but also useful for now and the future.”
After establishing ALC in his freshman year, Jin worked to gather donations for the orphans and homeless residing in Los Angeles and parts of Asia.The volunteer organization is designed to assist the homeless and orphans by selling various artworks composed of photographs of the poor and donating its funds raised. As part of the process, the charity’s photographers take portraits of labor workers, the homeless and events hosted by Union Station Homeless Services.
“The charity has been able to expand [our members’] insight on the society, augment our attitude toward the community and strengthen our skills by putting them to actual use,” Jin said. “It also changed my attitude toward volunteering. I enjoy it a lot more now especially because I’ve made friends with many of whom I’m trying to help.”
Since its development, the group has reached out to several organizations around the world, such as Union Station Homeless Services, temples in Vietnam and orphan schools in Sichuan, China. Jin was also able to promote his project locally to the community to gather donations and distribute funds.
“I feel hopeful [toward the cause] because it means that my passion will be able to continue. To me, this is like achieving the ‘choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life’ quote by Confucius, except in this case I’m able to do charity in a way that I love, so I feel very content,” Jin said.
In hopes of seeing ALC grow further to an international scale, Jin is working to increase ALC’s accessibility by creating a public online website and making it an official non-profit organization.
“The smiles and positive feedback that I get from the people I help, the people I work together with and friends I made are what make this [experience] really worth it for me,” Jin said. “Also, I believe that the charity is helping me as much as it helps the needy by developing my knowledge and skills, so I’ll be happy to continue this for as long as possible.”
By Jessica Huang, Staff writer
Photos courtesy of Andy Jin