Infinity Law Group 2015 Asian Heritage Scholarship Winner
The 2015 Infinity Law Group Annual Asian Heritage Scholarship was awarded to Janice Tang, whose life experience, personal journey and academic achievements represent so many of the reasons why the scholarship was initially created. Most of all, Janice loves giving back to the community.
However, Janice Tang’s love for giving back to the community was not innately bestowed upon her at birth. Her appreciation for volunteerism was forged through the harsh realities of family hardship, social injustices and racial oppression. Tang’s father fled Vietnam during the Fall of Saigon in 1975, sailing across the South China Sea. When the boat landed safely along the California coastline, Janice’s father had nothing to his name other than a plastic rice sack filled with his life’s belongings.
Janice Tang was born the following year in San Diego, where her family lived in government housing with others who were displaced by war. It was in this environment that Janice began cultivating her creativity and adaptable nature. Janice and her father explored all of the sights and sounds San Diego had to offer, but their exploration was also practical. They would stand in long recycling lines to collect bottles and cans that would be of use to their household, and they even scavenged enough parts to build a bicycle for Janice’s younger brother.
All the while, the family struggled to acclimate to American culture. Janice’s father washed dishes to pay the bills, and Janice assisted during the evenings. All the while, Janice’s parents never did learn English, and it seemed to Janice that this was the way her parents held on to their traditions while dealing with the heartache of migrating from their home.
As a result, Janice became the de facto spokesperson for her family once she learned English, serving as the cultural bridge for her family. She paid bills, completed forms and observed the forces of social injustice and racial oppression firsthand. It is too easy to brush these notions aside if you have not personally lived them, but what Janice observed and experienced spurred her lifelong commitment to volunteering and improving her San Diego community.
Janice believes that every individual has the power to positively impact their community and replace hardships with hope and optimism. Janice began replacing hardship with hope in her own backyard, the North Central region of San Diego. This region has the highest number of documented gang members, and educational opportunities were scarce. Janice made a difference by tutoring students at the local middle school, providing trilingual tutoring in English, Social Studies and Physical Science.
Janice tutored relative to the needs of the individual, rejecting the “one size fits all” approach. She carefully considered the needs and acculturation of every student, improving a student’s confidence and education in equal measure. While tutoring, Janice’s observations matched the conclusions drawn by the San Diego Unified School District Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Students were experiencing sadness and hopelessness each day, a reality that was in direct conflict with Janice’s goals of replacing hopelessness with optimism.
After Janice provided over 100 hours of volunteer work, student literacy and reading skills markedly improved. Most importantly, Janice empowered high-risk youth in ways that connected them to school, increased their sense of self-worth and built their confidence. Janice then took her volunteer approach to the San Diego juvenile court system, where she helped hundreds of foster youth and their caregivers plan for college. In the process, Janice helped hundreds of foster youth plan out a successful road map for their future.
Janice continued to volunteer in the years that followed, fighting on the behalf of undocumented immigrants who were in need of affordable healthcare. Similarly, Janice lobbied on behalf of women, fighting to ensure that every woman had access to safe and affordable women’s health services.
In short, Janice has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to fighting oppression and injustice in all of its forms, whenever it arises and wherever she can make a difference. Her longstanding commitment to her San Diego community cemented her decision to attend the University of San Diego law school, and Janice vows to continue her advocacy and volunteer efforts with compassion and integrity.
As such, we are proud to announce that Janice Tang is our recipient of the 2015 Infinity Law Group Annual Asian Heritage Scholarship. She is the true embodiment of our commitment to bettering our community, and we look forward to following Janice’s journey as she continues to make her community and our world a better place.
Read about last years winner here.