By Christina Miles, 2020 Dragon Fellow

At first, the idea of spending a few hours on a zoom call with complete strangers was terrifying. A thousand thoughts circled my mind – what if I made a joke and no one laughed? Or worse…what if I said something dumb and everyone laughed? But as I clicked on the link leading me to the virtual meeting, I wasn’t aware I’d be taking my first step to becoming a part of a family.

Right off the bat, the weekend was bursting with energy as we got to see each other’s project ideas for the first time. I remember a constant smile on my face, one I could hardly control, as I marveled at the vision my peers had of the world. It was like stepping into an alternate universe. With guest speaker Sam Song’s guidance, I was surprised by how vulnerable I was able to become with perfect strangers in such a little amount of time. Within a few hours, I was doubling over with laughter alongside kids I had been too nervous to talk to that morning. When we signed off with virtual hugs, I was buzzing with excitement for the day to come.

After our first day of leadership training, I felt as though I had a firmer grasp on what it meant to be a leader; if I wanted to change the world, I would need to practice responsibility in all aspects of my life, and I felt ready to take on the challenge. As we met our project mentors and got into the nitty-gritty of project summaries and budgeting, I realized that my new goal wouldn’t be complete overnight. There were moments in that day that I felt overwhelmed, but whenever I doubted myself, there was someone in my corner supporting me.

I know that there will be more moments of self doubt, times where I will feel flooded with uncertainty, but I also know that no matter, what the mentors and my peers at the Dragon Kim Foundation will be there to lend a hand to help me stand back up. I know that it’s only the first weekend and there are so many more mountains to climb, but I am overjoyed to be a part of the DKF-4 United Visionaries!