Dang, that girl can (volunteer) work

Emily Dang, Circle K member volunteered in High School as well as on campus such as the ASO Halloween events at Pierce College in Woodland Hills, Calif. Dang poses in front of the Art Hills stairs on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017. Photo: Samantha Bravo

A first-year college student with a helping hand looks forward to a lifetime of giving back. She volunteers, but hopes to make contributions in the medical field in the future.

While tackling prerequisites for the nursing program at Pierce College, Circle K Club member Emily Dang devotes her time to social events that serve the campus and surrounding community.

Dang, 18, is majoring in nursing with an emphasis in midwifery training.

“A majority of my family went into nursing, and that kind of clicked with me,” Dang said. “When I heard there was a specific major for midwives, I was like, ‘Yes. This is for me.’”

Dang said her inspiration to pursue midwifery stems from her babysitting background.

“Kids are so much fun,” Dang said. “They have a different outlook on everything, and it opens up your eyes to see what they see.”

Dang said her decision to major in nursing is representative of her love to give back as a volunteer.

Before Dang signed up to Circle K, she dedicated her high school career to volunteer work. She joined Key Club, a variant of Circle K, her freshman year, which sparked her passion for giving back to the community. Through that experience, she had an interest to join Circle K while pursuing her studies at Pierce College.

Dang said Circle K is a community service, social and leadership club. Their motto is “fellowship, leadership and service.”

“We know we are small, but we do make a major impact, whether it’s on the Pierce Campus or around our entire community,” Dang said. “No impact is too small. It’s big to us. Knowing that we made at least one person happy is amazing.”

Dang said her goal as a volunteer is to make other people happy.  

“If you have a positive attitude, everybody else has a positive attitude,” Dang said. “Being that one good spirit, outgoing person can create a chain reaction for other people.”

Circle K Club President James Cortes has known Dang since high school. They’ve known each other for four years and shared the same interest in volunteer work during their time in Key Club at El Camino Real High School.

“It was really fun,” Cortes said. “When you do work with people people you are comfortable with, it doesn’t really feel like work.”

Community Welfare Committee Chair and Associated Student Organization (ASO) Senator Gisela Tarifa worked with Dang at the Halloween Costume Drive on campus, where volunteers provided college students with costumes and props to make their Halloween a special occasion.

Tarifa said that she enjoyed Dang’s presence at the event.

“My first impression of Emily is that she was a very sweet girl, and she was very funny,” Tarifa said. “She was really helpful, and wanted to help in any way that she could.”

Tarifa said Dang contributed to the costume drive by donating items for students.

“She brought two fairy stars and a viking hat,” Tarifa said. “It attracted people to the booth.”

Tarifa said that Dang successfully explained information to curious students.

“She was so good at communicating to the students and getting them interested in what we were presenting,” Tarifa said.

Cortes said he thinks Dang could fulfill the Membership Development Education Position because he said he is confident in her abilities as a leader.

“She’s very sure of herself and confident,” Cortes said. “If she wants something, she goes for it.”

Cortes said her approachability is an asset to the club.

“She’s not an intimidating person, and she’s easy to talk to,” Cortes said. “She is a natural leader. People gravitate toward her if they have questions.”

Cortes said Dang has a lot to offer to the community.

“I do firmly believe that she helps inspire people to attend events because she is good at socializing,” Cortes said. “She has a feel for service, and she is a great motivator.”

In a phone interview, Kyle Dang, 17, Emily Dang’s brother said he observed his sister’s sense of leadership from an early age.

“I really look at her as a role model because of her outgoing and easy-to-talk-to personality,” Kyle Dang said. ”She makes me want to be as social as she is.”

Kyle Dang said he took an interest in volunteering after witnessing his sister’s contributions within Key Club.

“If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t have been introduced to volunteering,” Kyle Dang said. “Because of her, I became an officer for Key Club.”

Kyle Dang said he plans to follow in his sister’s footsteps and join Circle K after high school.

According to Emily Dang, Circle K makes her feel at home.

“You don’t notice the small impacts and big impacts you make during events, but when you see it all gathered up, I am proud of myself. I’m proud of my club and I’m proud of my division,” Emily Dang said.