Natasha Mar seeks to be a representative model of the spirit of Thailand. To achieve this, she undertook service projects and volunteer efforts focused on engagement with Thais in the San Diego area.
For the past two years, the junior from Bishop’s School in La Jolla has worked with a program that pairs Thai students with English tutors. She served as president of the Leo Club of San Diego (an offshoot of the Lions Club), which conducts service projects. She helped facilitate coronavirus testing at a Thai temple in San Diego, helped count Thais in the 2020 US Census, delivered Thai food to healthcare workers and performed in virtual performances with her cello chamber band for retirement communities at the height of the covid19 Pandemic.
“Thailand isn’t talked about very often, so I want to make our voice heard more with the general public by getting more involved,” Natasha said. “Making our voices heard is so important. In San Diego, we’re such a diverse city, and I think it’s important that we get to know each other and respect each other. Especially in recent years, when our Asian brothers and sisters have been victims of hate crimes, it is important to learn to respect each other and to get rid of prejudices towards different groups.
U.S. Representative Scott Peters (D-La Jolla) recently presented Natasha with a Special Certificate of Recognition from Congress for her “commitment, leadership, and volunteer work as a student at Bishop’s School.”
“Congratulations on all of your accomplishments and thank you for your dedication and contributions to our community,” the certificate reads.
“I have made it a priority to nurture young leaders who seek to be civically engaged,” Peters told the La Jolla Light. “Natasha has worked to educate and empower members of the Thai community to ensure their voices are heard by elected officials like me. … I hope that by recognizing her like this, others will be inspired.
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Natasha said the recognition from Congress motivated her to keep going.
“I feel like these projects have given me a deeper connection to my roots in Thailand, and the people I work with are so supportive. And now that I have a certificate recognizing my work, I feel even more motivated,” she said. “Having a leadership role with these organizations can be daunting, but having a supportive community helps me move forward.”
She said Thailand “shares some similarities with other Asian cultures, but has its own distinct ways. I describe it as colorful. The events we host allow family and friends to have fun with colorful flowers. and traditional clothes.And the food is excellent.
Natasha has been to Thailand twice. “I love it so much there. I loved learning about my culture.
Natasha performs in addition to her efforts with the Thai community.
“I want to connect as much as possible through volunteering and perform as well as possible,” she said. “I’ve been making music since I was 3 years old and I love it with all my heart. It helped me through so many tough times.
A piece she composed for piano won first place in the American Protegé International Musical Talent Competition this year and she will have the opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York, which she called “a huge honor”. ◆