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  • Writer's pictureGrant Wang

A Beacon of Hope and Healing in Western New York

2023 Community Healing Awardee Inspires Change Through Youth Empowerment and Advocacy for Refugees

In an era where the world seems more divided than ever, it is heartening to come across individuals who work tirelessly to bring communities together. Grant Wang, a young community leader from Western New York, is one such person. His extraordinary commitment to promoting unity and understanding has earned him the well-deserved 2023 Community Healing Award.

Growing up in Western New York, Grant Wang has been an active member of his community since the beginning of his teenage years. Witnessing the challenges the community faced during the onset of the pandemic, he decided to take action. Through his youth volunteer organization, AYLUS (Alliance of Youth Leaders in the United States) Greater Buffalo, he has brought together young people to make a meaningful impact in the lives of those who need it most. Through ADG Voice, Inc., a nonprofit organization he founded, he has reduced biases and stereotypes against refugees by spreading awareness of them through social media.

AYLUS Greater Buffalo: Empowering Youth and Building Bridges

Founded by Grant Wang in 2020, AYLUS Greater Buffalo is a youth volunteer organization with the mission to empower youth to become leaders who contribute to their local communities. Under Grant's exceptional leadership, AYLUS Greater Buffalo has flourished, boasting over 80 members and raising more than $6,000 to support their initiatives. The organization has coordinated an impressive 250+ volunteer activities, helped over 30 non-profit organizations, and contributed a remarkable 4,000+ volunteer hours to the community. The impact of AYLUS Greater Buffalo has been widely acknowledged, which is evident in the recognition by the Erie County Legislator for its significant contributions to the community.

AYLUS Greater Buffalo donates to first responders at the beginning of the pandemic.

AYLUS Greater Buffalo members volunteer to pack meals at the local food bank.

Through AYLUS, Grant has inspired countless young people to take charge and make a difference. The organization has created a platform for youth to develop leadership skills, learn about different cultures, and cultivate empathy. These experiences have undoubtedly shaped the future of many participants, setting them on a path of compassion, understanding, and civic engagement. Grant Wang's dedication and resilience have transformed AYLUS Greater Buffalo into a powerful force for good within the community. By bringing together people from diverse backgrounds, AYLUS has played a significant role in promoting unity and understanding within the community. The organization has become a shining example of what can be achieved when people put aside their differences and work together towards a common goal.

Many AYLUS Greater Buffalo members receive the President's Volunteer Service Award every year.

ADG Voice: Using Social Media to Break Stereotypes and Prevent Bias

As a second-generation immigrant, Grant has a special empathy for immigrants and refugees. He organized a myriad of volunteering events for refugee families, ranging from English-tutoring sessions to cultural exchange programs, and even holiday celebrations. He even received a Hershey Heartwarming Young Heroes Grant from Youth Service America to develop an event welcoming new Afghan evacuee children in Buffalo. It's not just about providing much-needed support to refugees, but also fostering a sense of belonging and integration into the community.

Grant plays games with young refugee children at a summer program in Buffalo.

Grant Wang's impact goes beyond volunteering events. He founded a nonprofit organization called ADG Voice, Inc., which uses social media to raise awareness about the plight of refugees, dispel stereotypes, and prevent bias. By harnessing the power of platforms such as Instagram, Grant has reached a broader audience, engaging in conversations that foster understanding and empathy.

Grant volunteering to teach refugee children English at a spring break camp.

Looking Ahead: The Future of AYLUS, ADG Voice, and Community Healing

With the support and recognition, plans are already in motion to expand the organizations’ reach and increase the number of volunteering events in Western New York and beyond. Through partnerships with local schools, community centers, and other non-profit organizations, Grant also aims to create a network of support for refugees and marginalized communities.

Moreover, Grant Wang's influence as an advocate for refugees and a champion of youth empowerment is poised to grow. As the 2023 Community Healing Awardee, his story will undoubtedly inspire others to take up the mantle and become agents of change in their own communities.

Grant's journey is a testament to the power of grassroots activism and the potential of young people to create lasting change. His work serves as a reminder that community healing starts with individuals who are willing to take action, challenge the status quo, and create spaces where people from all walks of life can come together to make a difference.

As we celebrate Grant Wang's achievements and the impact of AYLUS and ADG Voice, let us also remember that each one of us has the power to contribute to community healing. Through empathy, understanding, and action, we can all play a part in creating a more inclusive and compassionate world.

Grant Wang's recognition as the 2023 Community Healing Awardee is a well-deserved honor for an individual who has dedicated himself to making a meaningful impact on the lives of refugees and empowering young people in Western New York. His tireless efforts and vision for a united, inclusive community serve as an inspiration to us all.

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