Today’s youth are stepping up to create opportunities for their peers. Johnny Lin is no exception. Last summer, he and a group of friends founded OperationSTART, a youth-led organization identifying enrichment opportunities for youth in the Bay Area. Johnny is currently a junior at George Washington High School and an Aim High alumni, class of 2018. Aim High recently asked Johnny to share his journey in co-creating OperationSTART. When did you start OperationSTART, and why? In the summer of 2020, I had this idea to create a platform to centralize enrichment opportunities such as internships, volunteer opportunities and summer programs for youth ages 14-18. This idea came to life when I started to look for enrichment opportunities that I could participate in that summer. It was difficult to find summer opportunities for youth and I saw an opportunity to create a platform to help my peers. I asked two of my friends, Tiffany and Lilian, who are now co-founders if they would be interested in helping build this youth-led organization. We brainstormed and started building the infrastructure of what we envisioned OperationSTART. We came up with the name OperationSTART, which is an abbreviation of an operation to support the areas’ rising teens. OperationSTART is currently fiscally sponsored by Mission Bit and Youth Empowerment Fund (YEF) with the YMCA. What is your hope for OperationSTART? My hope for OperationSTART is to gather enrichment opportunities available in San Francisco and place them on our platform to create an equal and equitable world, where youth can access all opportunities offered by different organizations and companies. I want to eventually meet the teens who use our platform and see the impact to their future potential. Share one thing you learned during Aim High that you carry with you today? One thing that I learned at Aim High that I carry with me even to this day is to push myself to try new things and get out of my comfort zone. By coming out of my comfort zone, I’m able to experience new things, talk to new people without feeling vulnerable and just taking that chance. After high school, what do you hope to accomplish? After high school, I plan to go to a 4-year university and study Computer Science. My dream school would be the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), given its strong Computer Science program. Since I have this passion for tech, I hope to graduate and go into the tech field back here in the Bay Area. I haven’t decided what role I want to hold within the tech industry, but I know tech is where my passion lies. Aim High is excited for what lies ahead for Johnny, as a leader and a changemaker. If you are interested in learning more about OperationSTART join their newsletter and make sure to follow them on Instagram, where they post updates and are currently running a five-week giveaway campaign.