De Anza High School, Richmond
Jason Chanthanasak was 8 years old when a 15-year-old honor student was killed on her front doorstep in his Richmond community – a victim of gang violence. This murder brought the community together to form SEAYL, or South East Asian Young Leaders; Jason joined the group when he was in the eighth grade.
When several older members left, it was left to Jason and three other remaining members to reinvigorate the Stopping the Violence Summit in Richmond and to rebuild the organization, recruiting and inspiring younger members.
SEAYL and its activities have been credited with dramatically decreasing the incidence of Asian-on-Asian violence in Richmond.
As Jason looks forward to college life, he hopes to leave a legacy of younger members who can assume leadership positions in their turn and can help others learn the lessons he takes with him: what it means to lead, and how to inspire through communication. Jason may leave Richmond to continue his education, but he plans to continue giving back to his community, being an example for others, and ultimately making a difference.