2020 Student Peace Award Winner Yebin “Sophia” Lee

2020+Student+Peace+Award+Winner+Yebin+%22Sophia%22+Lee

Huda Khan

Yebin “Sophia” Lee, a senior here at CVHS, received the Student Peace Award along with multiple other Fairfax students on March 1st, 2020. Sophia came to this country from South Korea when she was three and a half years old. Over the ensuing years, she has become a passionate advocate for the poor, supporting programs both in the United States and abroad. 

Sophia says that her concept of world peace remained foggy until she was in ninth grade when she participated in a trip to Harlem and the Bronx sponsored by Youth With a Mission, a Christian organization with a global outreach. “I had never encountered such brokenness, even on the news,” she said, “There were broken windows in the apartments, glass everywhere on the ground, and people living on the sidewalks. My heart ached for these people.”  Sophia says this experience made her not only want to work to change the unfortunate circumstances of others but to break down her stereotypes about ethnic groups. It also gave her a greater empathy for other people and the difficult circumstances they face. 

She began to volunteer every Saturday with 12 Baskets, a Northern Virginia based charity that provides care packages to the homeless living around Washington D.C.’s Union Station. Inspired by this experience, Sophia started a club at CVHS to bring students together to aid people in poverty.  She partnered with Compassion International, an international child-advocacy program aiding children in extreme poverty, to start the Compassion Club. She has recruited 60 club members who help her raise money for wells, medications, farm animals, academic scholarships, and care packages for children around the world. As part of this effort, the club has raised money through partnerships with local restaurants, as well as bake sales, movie nights, and candy grams. This past holiday season, the Compassion Club worked with Operation Christmas Child to send presents to four children in Honduras. She hopes that her actions help to push for greater change, commenting that “It’s my dream and goal to see change all around the world, and I know that this is a start.”