Operation Fly Inc. is a completely student-led, fully functioning 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that strives to aid those less fortunate than us and fosters valuable leadership characteristics in students. It was founded by two sophomores at Thomas S. Wootton High School (Timothy Hwang and Minsoo Han) after years of deliberation, planning, and navigation of the bureaucracy. The process was very long and took an immense amount of work, but in the end we were able to form a coalition of students to get it started. Despite everything, it was exciting to create strategic plans, budget proposals, and goals for the new year because we knew it would impact and better so many lives. Minsoo and I really hoped to empower this generation to become the "movers and shakers" of society, NOW.
The first part of our mission identifies three target populations that we try to help in the DC area: the homeless, underprivileged students, and struggling families. In order to target each of these populations we developed actions plans for each. For the homeless, we would provide food and supplies as well as a homeless shelter (in the future). For underprivileged students, we would provide scholarships so that they could be provided with the educational tools to succeed in addition to free tutoring from some of the brightest minds in MCPS. And for the struggling families we would hold events for them such as the Christmas Banquet or visits to Children's Hospital.
The second part of our mission states that we strive to foster leadership characteristics. During our planning stages, we defined leadership as four core characteristics: altruism, responsibility, dedication, and a sense of vision. We believe that participation in an organization such as Operation Fly Inc. will allow students the chance to develop leadership skills the would not normally develop in a "sheltered" setting such as school. Altruism would be developed through participation in our numerous programs to help the aforementioned target populations. Responsibility would be developed through their roles as leaders in the organization and their need to execute projects that don't just affect themselves. Dedication would be developed by being part of an organization that demands commitment and time. Finally, a sense of vision would be developed through their ability to see the future and the potential that this organization, and themselves, have to impact the world.