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BOSTON – Several California youth, including one from San Diego, have been selected to travel to Harvard University this week to help Lady Gaga launch her new Born This Way Foundation on Wednesday, Feb. 29.
The foundation, led by Lady Gaga’s mother Cynthia Germanotta, was founded in 2011 to foster a more accepting society where differences are embraced and individuality is celebrated. Through its programs, the organization hopes to empower young people to build a braver, kinder world.
As a non-profit charitable organization, the Born This Way Foundation plans to address issues like self-confidence, well-being, anti-bullying, mentoring and career development through research, education and advocacy.
Mark Tran of San Diego’s City Heights neighborhood is one of the 18 young Californians who have been selected to attend the official launch, alongside high-profile individuals like Deepak Chopra, Oprah Winfrey and Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Secretary.
As the Youth Community Organizer for the Mid City Community Advocacy Network’s (CAN) Youth Council, Tran works with other youth in the area on community organizing projects to better the City Heights neighborhood.
The group works on a number of projects geared at empowering youth to make positive change in their community – similar to the mission of The Born This Way Foundation. The Mid City CAN group is funded as a part of the California Endowment’s 10-year, $1 billion effort to improve community health in 14 underserved neighborhoods in the state, including City Heights.
“I look forward to sharing the stories of success and challenges encountered by the Mid-City CAN Youth Council, as well as learning techniques and strategies utilized by other communities in efforts to really change the culture of community youth development,” Tran said.
In a post on his Facebook page, San Diego City Councilmember Todd Gloria said he was pleased that a resident of his district will be participating in the official launch of Gaga’s foundation.
“Of course the launch of Lady Gaga’s charitable foundation would have a link to District 3,” Gloria wrote.
During the Born This Way launch event, California youth will take part in training to learn how to advance social change through digital and social media advocacy, and will be posting multimedia content live throughout the day of the event. The youth also join in a Harvard-sponsored youth summit titled “Prevent Bullying, Create Caring Communities” involving more than a hundred young people from Boston and other communities.
The youth will also join in a Harvard-sponsored youth summit titled “Prevent Bullying, Create Caring Communities” involving more than a hundred young people from Boston and other communities.
The foundation’s launch day at Harvard will culminate in a keynote address by Lady Gaga.
“We are thrilled to welcome this courageous group of California youth to the official launch of the Born This Way Foundation," Germanotta said. "The bravery and leadership they've demonstrated in helping prioritize community health issues in their neighborhoods and schools is exactly what we hope to inspire across the country."
The delegation of youth from California will be accompanied by California Endowment CEO Robert K. Ross, who said that he believes strongly in the importance of youth leadership in advocating for improved community health.
“Opportunities like this don’t come often and we jumped at the chance to involve some of our Health Happens Here community youth leaders in this unique event that will empower, educate, and inspire them with ideas about how to make they can take back to their communities,” Ross said. “We’re thrilled to have a strong and vocal new ally for our youth in the Born This Way Foundation and Lady Gaga.”
The launch event will stream live online throughout the day on Wednesday, Feb. 29. Those who wish to watch the festivities should RSVP HERE.
Additional information about times and where to log-in will be emailed to participants who RSVP.