Barbara Seaver Gardner Award 2020: Haylie Wong

Originally Published April 9, 2020

The Barbara Seaver Gardner Award was established in 2008 by then Vice President of Civic and Community Relations, Samuel Mark, who wanted to honor JEP’s founder and first director, Barbara Seaver Gardner, who retired in 1990. Barbara was a visionary. At a time when there was great animosity between the university and its surrounding neighbors, Barbara recognized the power of people coming together to work toward a common goal — in this case, the need to build a strong, vibrant, community — bringing together Town and Gown. Her idea was that most people can come together around what’s good for children. Barbara had a few friends who were principals of local elementary schools and others who were USC faculty members, so she thought why not place university students in the schools as mentors, teaching assistants etc. where they can assist in providing children a quality education, while learning about the community they would call home for the next four years.

This award recognizes one graduating senior, who through successful participation in JEP (over several semesters) has demonstrated steadfast commitment to community service, with an emphasis on the community surrounding the University Park Campus.

The winner of this year’s Barbara Seaver Gardner Award is Haylie Wong.

Haylie will be graduating this May, majoring in Psychology with a minor in Occupational Science. She has spent 7 semesters with JEP, both as a JEP volunteer and later as a peer leader. Haylie volunteered with JEP as a mentor-tutor in Spring 2017, her first semester at USC. She was hired as a Program Assistant in Fall 2017 for the Psychology department. For the past five semesters, Haylie has been program assistant for JEP Community-Based Organizations (CBO), functioning as both a manager and educator to the JEP volunteers, both responsibilities that she has embraced.

True to Haylie’s high level of maturity, drive, communication, and passion to be a light to the world, after graduation she will be trained and then sent to Sapporo, Japan for missionary work for 18 months.

Jacqueline Whitley, former JEP Director of Community-Based Organizations and immediate supervisor to Haylie, says this about her: “In my sixteen years working with undergraduates — Haylie stands out as one of the top students I have had the pleasure of working with. Her professional manner, friendly demeanor (she may just be the friendliest person I have ever met!), and hard-working attitude serve her well.”

Haylie said she is incredibly grateful for the opportunity she has had to work with JEP both as a volunteer and as a program assistant. After seeing the growth of her students through JEP’s diverse programs, Haylie has learned the importance of service-learning and reflection. In the future, she hopes to support and serve those in transitional life stages (such as college students and retiring adults). She is thankful for the mentorship she has received and will support JEP any way she can.

We are thrilled to present Haylie with the 2020 Barbara Seaver Gardner Award. Congratulations, Haylie!