Chilli Leung: Character of Citizen

Established in 2002, Across U-hub (AUH) is a charitable community organization serving youth aged 16 and above with the vision to cultivate socially responsible local and global citizens. Chilli Leung is passionate about bringing awareness to the impact of growing disconnection, increasing isolation, and the rise of digital culture, on East Asian immigrant families. For over 15 years, Chilli has actively contributed to the AUH community as program leader, youth mentor at many of the youth leadership training programs, and member of the Fundraising committee. She is able to directly address the concern above by creating programs that convey messages of communication, teamwork, and community support through her roles in the organization. Her exceptional perseverance, strong initiative and integrity can be seen in her outstanding contributions to Across U-hub.

She has served actively as a driving force behind various large-scale training platforms that serves over 1,000 youths annually, including program strategic planning, experiential team building programs, audio-visual training and production, upcycling DIY workshops, and an after-school program for immigrant and international students in partnership with Toronto District School Board (TDSB). In 2018, her expertise was instrumental in the planning and execution of a fundraising multimedia show, interviewing over 100 immigrants and managing a stage crew as stage director. Approximately 1,000 people watched the production, whose message was one of raising awareness of the understanding between different generations and to encourage cross generation aspirations and dreams. In response to the show, Chilli was part of a team to continue the momentum and develop a series of workshops focused on the process of creation, synergy within the team environment, and new exploration of self and surroundings through collaboration between generations.

As a result of her perseverance and initiative, Chilli has delivered over 140 youth programs in the last 15 years. In 2016, she contributed her expertise as a professional project manager to support the AUH Executive Director and Board of Directors to negotiate a 3-year partnership agreement with TDSB to deliver an after-school program geared towards leadership training for immigrant and international students at five high schools. It directly leads AUH reached the milestone of expanding its reach to include the international and immigrant high school students. As the Program Assistant, she contributes her time creating training manuals to establish this weekly program, which serves over 150 students each academic year.

She manages to volunteer over 250 hours annually, while maintaining her full-time job and project management studies, and works closely with over 30 volunteer leaders and committee members to develop programs and fundraising strategies. This year, her initiative is further exemplified through her decision to dedicate her sabbatical from her full-time job to volunteer at AUH. As a member of the Fundraising Committee, Chilli actively promotes AUH to her network and plans annual fundraising events, including fundraising luncheons, galas, marathons and charity auctions, that have raised over $80,000 last year alone. In the last 4 years, she trained to run in a marathon and also motivated many others to run and fundraise for youth. She solicited over 150 donors to support AUH and raised over $9,000. At most of the fundraising events, Chilli worked closely with our Program Director to plan and execute the program using her project management expertise.

What sets Chilli apart is her integrity and honesty. She conveys an attitude of concern and care, answering questions truthfully and doesn’t promise to do more than what she can deliver. She creates and promotes a culture of trust that contributes to the success of the organization as a whole. Chilli is well-respected with everyone she works with – volunteers, staffs, Executive Director, Board of Directors and Fundraising Committee members, and provides critical advice for the improvement of the AUH programs.

She also serves as a mentor providing opportunities for youth to develop their skills, patiently leading them to plan and execute many programs. Because of her extraordinary perseverance and passion for youth, it is not surprising to find her working past midnight to ensure that the upcoming program runs smoothly and taking most of her vacation days to facilitate AUH programs. Many times, she offers to complete challenging, time-sensitive tasks that no one else will do.

Chilli has been called a “woman of action” because her initiative to act is so evident that it is contagious, motivating other volunteers into action. In 2016, she motivated the youths by donating household items to help Syrian refugee families settle down in Canada. She also initiated a partnership between AUH and her workplace (George Brown College) to provide programs and volunteering opportunities to international students.

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