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A Sense of Purpose (VOA Connect Ep 211)


VOA – CONNECT
EPISODE # 211
AIR DATE: 01 28 2022
TRANSCRIPT

OPEN ((VO/NAT/SOT))
((Banner))
Kindness Toward Animals
((SOT))
((Cheyanne Weiner
Volunteer, The Gentle Barn))

We rescued him when he was only a week old. And so when they're that little, it's kind of dangerous to have them in the barnyard all alone because he was an orphan. We decided to have him in the house and we became like his adopted family.
((Animation Transition))
((Banner))

Determination in Business
((SOT))
((John Liu
Restaurant Co-Owner))

The quarantine had hit just after we got the permit to start construction. We were caught in the middle of it and I think the only way we could go is to move forward.
((Animation Transition))
((Banner))

A Plush Place for Bikes
((SOT))
((Ronnie Pichson
Co-Owner, Gotham Depo Moto Storage))

We want you to feel the service and to almost like you, you know, you came into a nice hotel where you saw a great butcher.
((Open Animation))

BLOCK A


((PKG)) GENTLE BARN
((TRT: 04:58))
((Topic Banner:
Gentle Barn))
((Reporter/Camera:
Genia Dulot))
((Map:
Santa Clarita, California))
((Main character: 1 female))
((Sub characters: 1 male; 1 female))

((NATS:
Pumpkin time.
One, two, three.))
((NATS: Ellie Laks

You're so cute. Let me tell you how cute you are. Let me tell you. You don't want to hear it?))
((Ellie Laks
Founder, The Gentle Barn))

I met a chicken when I was eleven years old in my school and I knew that she was terrified and she was in the gymnasium in a cat carrier and she was shivering. I picked up on her immediately and went over to her, pulled her out of the cat carrier and started cradling her in my arms, telling her that she's going to be okay and that she's not alone and that I wouldn't let anything happen to her. The principal came in a few minutes later and said, "Stop petting the chicken. We've got to get her to the slaughterhouse." And it was then that I realized that chicken and rice is the same thing as chicken, the animal. And I was absolutely horrified. And I went home that day and I told my parents I would never eat animals again.
((NATS: Ellie Laks
Hi, everybody. Hi. Hi, sweetheart. You want to give me a kiss? You give good kisses, you guys.))
((Ellie Laks
Founder, The Gentle Barn))

And then as a young adult, I was living in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles and I saw a petting zoo I'd never seen before. What I found there was really horrific. There were dead animals in cages. There was no water even though it was very hot that day. They were beating the ponies to keep going round and round in circles and the whole scene was just an absolute horror show. And I was running for the door as fast as I could. And blocking the exit was a very old goat that looked like she was about to keel over any second. And she looked me in the eyes. She stopped me in my tracks and she asked me for help. And I brought Mary home and I called the vet out that helped remove her tumors and trim her overgrown toenails and teach me how to massage her deformed leg so she could walk again. A couple of months later, she was bouncing around my backyard as happy as can be. And it was the greatest feeling of my entire life. I just knew that that was what I was born to do. I started going back to the petting zoo for more animals that were suffering there. And before I knew it, the backyard was full of animals.
I opened it to public so people can come out and hug the cows and cuddle the turkeys and give the pigs tummy rubs. We had hundreds of people every Sunday come out and interact with the animals and hear their stories of resilience. Jay came into The Gentle Barn two years after I founded it as a volunteer.
((Jay L. Weiner
Co-Founder, The Gentle Barn))

I walked into this amazing place. So, you know, it was really easy to see her for the amazing person she was or is. I loved animals. I was always connected to them. I grew up with them. I think that when I came out to The Gentle Barn, I felt like I was at home.
((Ellie Laks
Founder, The Gentle Barn))

And a year later, we fell in love. And then Jay took us from that little half acre [2000 m2] backyard to a national organization. We now have three locations. Two facilities in Santa Clarita. We have another location in Saint Louis, Missouri and yet another one in Nashville, Tennessee.
((Cheyanne Weiner
Volunteer, The Gentle Barn))

When I was little, my parents told me this story. Obviously, I don't remember but when I was like three years old, I would just like run around just like naked all over the barnyard and I would like take baths in their water. This has always been like my go-to, fun place to be.
So this is the chicken that was raised in my house with us. He would cuddle right here every night and he would like reach his little neck up.
((NATS: Cheyanne Weiner
You want to do it again? What do you think? What do you think?))
((Cheyanne Weiner
Volunteer, The Gentle Barn))

We rescued him when he was only a week old. And so when they're that little, it's kind of dangerous to have them in the barnyard all alone because he was an orphan. We decided to have him in the house and we became like his adopted family.
((NATS))
((Cheyanne Weiner
Volunteer, The Gentle Barn))

My parents actually sat me down when I was little and said that it was kind of like my choice and I can do whatever I want. Honestly, that kind of grosses me out. I would never willingly eat meat, really, just because I don't have the craving for it. I don't have the need for it.
((NATS: Ellie Laks
Come here, honey. Come closer. Come closer. Come here. Hi.))
((Ellie Laks
Founder, The Gentle Barn))

This is Sun. She's our cuddle turkey in Los Angeles. So here are a few things that most people don't know about turkeys. Boy turkeys like to show off and they like to parade around demanding attention so everyone calls them handsome. But girl turkeys like to talk and they like to cuddle. Once a girl turkey trusts you, you can sit in front of them and just pet them. And eventually, they just close their eyes and fall asleep in our laps. Girl turkeys are every bit as affectionate, cuddly, loving and social as any dog or cat in anybody's home.
((NATS: Cheyanne Weiner
He's a gentleman. Isn't he gorgeous with his little underbite?))
((NATS/MUSIC))


TEASE ((VO/NAT))
Coming up
((Banner))
Brewing Company
((SOT))
((Rachel Sabatine
Owner-Founder, Around The Horn Brewing Company))

This was a very of many, many years long process and by the time a pandemic hit, we were, you know, 95 percent of the way there.

BREAK ONE
BUMP IN ((ANIM))



BLOCK B


((PKG)) CHIFA RESTAURANT
((TRT: 02:52))
((Topic Banner:
Chifa Restaurant))
((Reporter/Camera/Producer/Editor:
Elizabeth Lee))
((Map:
Los Angeles, California))
((Main character: 1 male))
((Sub character: 1 female))

((NATS))
((John Liu

Co-Founder, Chifa))
I've always had this passion for wanting to be doing something creative whether it was in food or entertainment or film.
I've been in the investment management business, the finance side of things, for almost 30 years.
((NATS))
((John Liu
Co-Founder, Chifa))

I got this idea of going into, you know, restaurant cooking. I realized at some point it was time to do it. Part of the reason was, you know, my father passed away 10 years ago. And then reflecting on that and say, “Oh, well.” You know, when he passed away, I really was only like, I'm only like 20 years away from that. This was my chance to do it. It was kind of part of my evolution in reinventing myself.
((NATS))
((John Liu

Co-Founder, Chifa))
Chifa is through a combination of Peruvian and Chinese dishes. And the Chinese dishes again is from both sides of my family and my wife's family. And then the Peruvian part is when my wife's family moved from Hong Kong to Peru, they picked up Peruvian recipes.
((NATS))
((Wendy Leon
Co-Founder, Chifa))

After 45 years, we opened again.
((John Liu
Co-Founder, Chifa))

So in the early 70s, my mother-in-law also had a restaurant called Chifa.
((Wendy Leon
Co-Founder, Chifa))

I had a very good business in Peru.
((John Liu
Co-Founder, Chifa))

When they immigrated here, they gave up everything but I think they’ve always wanted to find a way to come back and re-launch it.
((NATS))
((John Liu
Co-Founder, Chifa))

For her, it's been a journey. She's here every day to bring things, take a look at things and during service days, she's definitely here to, you know, meet customers.
((NATS))
((John Liu
Co-Founder, Chifa))

We definitely went into this not knowing that a pandemic was going to hit. The quarantine hit just after we got the permit to start construction. We were caught in the middle of it and I think the only way we could go is to move forward. I mean I had retired from my previous job. I mean this is my livelihood. We had to continue the best we could.
This is really a family business. My daughter works right alongside me on the cook line. Our youngest son does the expediting. The guys who work in the cook line, they all went to high school together.
((NATS))
((Wendy Leon
Co-Founder, Chifa))

They work so hard but I'm so proud of them.
((NATS))
((John Liu
Co-Founder, Chifa))

Because it was tight-knit and people that we know and I think that was one way that we've kept ourselves somewhat insulated. I can imagine in the pre-pandemic world, it was always rush, rush, rush, rush, rush, deadline, deadline, deadline. And sometimes it's not always the best thing to rush everything. For me I think patience is a virtue and there's always a silver lining to, you know, challenges that come up.
((NATS))


((PKG)) BREWING COMPANY
((TRT:
03:13))
((Topic Banner:
Brewing up Business))
((Reporter/Camera:
Michelle Quinn))
((Producer/Editor: Elizabeth Lee))
((Map:
Groveland, California))
((Main character: 1 female))
((NATS))
((Rachel Sabatine
Owner-Founder, Around The Horn Brewing Company))

My name is Rachel Sabatine. I'm the owner and founder and chief operating officer of Around The Horn Brewing Company.
((NATS))
((Rachel Sabatine
Owner-Founder, Around The Horn Brewing Company))

The name, Around The Horn, comes from the [19th century] Gold Rush. If you were a gold seeker trying to get to California from the East Coast, one of the routes you could take was going on a boat down around the tip of South America, Cape Horn, and going back up to San Francisco. So you were going around the Horn. But Horn is also my maiden name.
When we decided really that we were going to pursue this dream, that was in late 2016. I do love beer and that's part of it. But the other part of it is this place, this community. We're located in Groveland, California, which is about 25 miles [40 km] from Yosemite National Park. It's beautiful all the time, you know.
((Rachel Sabatine
Owner-Founder, Around The Horn Brewing Company))

The traffic I have is when the deer are crossing the road.
I just love kind of the small town. The people are amazing.
We looked at probably every property possible in this area. We secured our location and then COVID hit. This was a very, uh, many, many years-long process and by the time the pandemic hit, we were you know, 95 percent of the way there.
((NATS))
((Rachel Sabatine
Owner-Founder, Around The Horn Brewing Company))

There was a day where we asked ourselves if we should stop. We already had one bank loan but we hadn't closed on the second bank loan yet. It was days away and my husband and I were like, “Are we making a mistake?”, you know. “We're already in debt but are we going to put ourselves even more in debt for no reason whatsoever?” But, you know, we went forward with it and I'm really glad we did.
((NATS))
((Rachel Sabatine
Owner-Founder, Around The Horn Brewing Company))

One of the first beers we ever made last year was called, I'm Fine, Everything's Fine, and that was how I felt. You know, it was chaotic.
For us having the beer garden, it's perfect because we have all this nice space where people can spread out and such. So all this has been just constant change and constantly being adaptable and adjusting but I think we're pulling it off.
((NATS))
((Rachel Sabatine
Owner-Founder, Around The Horn Brewing Company))

And I think when we had to have the shutdown, when it was take-out only, that was really hard because we had to have hard conversations with our staff and just figure out, you know, “Do you guys all want to each work one day a week or do you want to all go on unemployment? Like what is going to work best for you and your families?” Because, you know, we've got, we have people with kids and people who are helping take care of their parents and stuff like that. And feeling like, you know, we couldn't help support them to support their loved ones. That was hard.
((NATS/MUSIC))
((Rachel Sabatine
Owner-Founder, Around The Horn Brewing Company))

The way our community played a role for us, they just showed up, you know, all the time. It's amazing, like it really makes me happy and super grateful that they want to support us and they make this conscious effort to do so.
((NATS/MUSIC))


TEASE ((VO/NAT))
Coming up
((Banner))
Motorcycle Haven
((SOT))
((Ronnie Pichson
Co-Owner, Gotham Depo Moto Storage))

And we would call and we would call the landlords and say, “Hey, we're looking to rent your space.” And they said, “What are you looking to do?” And we said, “Motorcycle parking.” And some of them would hang up.

BREAK TWO
BUMP IN ((ANIM))


BLOCK C


((PKG)) BIKER GARAGE
((TRT: 07:14))
((Topic Banner:
Parking Proudly))
((Reporter:
Anna Nelson))
((Camera: Vladimir Badikov))
((Editor: Natalia Latukhina))
((Map: New York City, New York))
((Main characters: 2 male))
((NATS))
((Ronnie Pichson
Co-Owner, Gotham Depo Moto Storage))

We want you to feel the service and to almost like, you know, you came into a nice hotel, or you saw a great butcher.
((NATS))
((Stefon Davis
Co-Owner, Gotham Depo Moto Storage))

Yeah, it is denim and still keeping it fashion forward.
((NATS))
((Ronnie Pichson
Co-Owner, Gotham Depo Moto Storage))

It's sad to say that COVID affected our lives in a good way. I worked for Calvin Klein. I was in their sportswear division.
((NATS))
((Courtesy: Calvin Klein))

I was in charge of fit for blouses. My job, I had dealt with a fit model and it was
((Ronnie Pichson
Co-Owner, Gotham Depo Moto Storage))

very intimate and it was very close. And the fit model would leave us and go to the Gap and leave the Gap and go to Nordstrom's and leave there. So the industry all of a sudden looked at the fit model and said, “She's a [COVID] super spreader. You can't do this anymore.”
((Stefon Davis
Co-Owner, Gotham Depo Moto Storage))

I’m, basically, his competitor, was his competitor. I worked for a privately owned company. My position was design and fabric, design and research, research and design. So it got a little crazy and working in the house so we had to kind of designate areas. He worked in the kitchen. I worked in the living room. It was tight but we managed through it until we were told that we were officially let go from the company.
((NATS))
((Ronnie Pichson
Co-Owner, Gotham Depo Moto Storage))

We were both furloughed a few days before April 1st and when I had reached out and told our connections on the other side of the world that I've worked with for 20 years, they thought it was an April Fool's joke. “How? You were with your company over 20 years.” We both understood very quickly: No one was buying the milk. You didn't need the cow. And we were the cow. We were the design and manufacturing process.
((Stefon Davis
Co-Owner, Gotham Depo Moto Storage))

In that time, there was fear. There was concern, concern of the next paycheck and where that's coming from.
((Ronnie Pichson
Co-Owner, Gotham Depo Moto Storage))

I’d be so scared. I had no idea what we were going to do. All the skills that I valued myself so much on mattered nothing anymore.
((NATS))
((Stefon Davis
Co-Owner, Gotham Depo Moto Storage))

I tend to get a little antsy. Creative mind, creative hands. Now I have to figure out what am I doing? What? I need to do something. I need to do something. I'm driving around the neighborhood, come across the warehouse and blew my mind. We both are avid riders and how can we combine our love for motorcycles and kind of make it a career, a new career path. Since COVID, no one's riding the subways at all. Where is everyone putting all these vehicles and how they're storing them?
((Ronnie Pichson
Co-Owner, Gotham Depo Moto Storage))

And he starts to pitch this idea to me. I couldn't say no. It was so well thought out. Hey, sort of like, you know, a boutique-y hotel for motorcycles. We both had very good salaries. We were very lucky in the fact that we had always put away for our 401Ks [retirement accounts]. Strangely enough, during COVID, the markets were doing well. I never thought that what we would put away for our retirement would save us. And we would call and we would call the landlords and say, “Hey, we're looking to rent your space.” And they said, “What are you looking to do?” And we said, “Motorcycle parking.” And some of them would hang up.
((Stefon Davis
Co-Owner, Gotham Depo Moto Storage))

All they saw was motorcycle noise, oil, dirt. So we had to shop this around kind of differently. So we needed to do presentation boards in order for people to actually get it.
((Ronnie Pichson
Co-Owner, Gotham Depo Moto Storage))

And the warehouse was an old, fishmonger's warehouse. It was all white. It was, there was nothing here. Smelled like fish. We saw the raw space and we knew we had this beautiful canvas. We could do whatever we want. We had one rule when we were building the garage. You can't repeat material if you have one leather couch, the next couch can't be leather. If you have aluminum lockers, you can't have, you know, aluminum door.
((Stefon Davis
Co-Owner, Gotham Depo Moto Storage))

We have people that come from the front just to walk to the back just to do this. It's an illusion. And this is good wallpaper.
((Ronnie Pichson
Co-Owner, Gotham Depo Moto Storage))

We also have an office area for them. So they have, people come in here and they spend their time and they do their WeWork and they have Wi-Fi. But they also have the ability to scan, to fax, to print, to make copies.
((Stefon Davis
Co-Owner, Gotham Depo Moto Storage))

This way, once you dismount off of your bike, you're not leaning over to your neighbor. You're not knocking into your neighbor's bike at all. As well as a trickle charger, we provide you with a hanger as well as your own private locker.
((Ronnie Pichson
Co-Owner, Gotham Depo Moto Storage))

That you have 14 cameras also with facial recognition.
((Stefon Davis
Co-Owner, Gotham Depo Moto Storage))

For us, security is paramount. It's something that, you know, we want to ensure that our members are going to rest easy at night.
((Ronnie Pichson
Co-Owner, Gotham Depo Moto Storage))

We needed to attract business. This is our growing years. So we lowered the price to $250. We, coming from fashion and liking a little bit of drama and knowing the difference of art and light and balance, so that the light bounces off the ceiling and then comes down and then we have the middle row turned down, so at night, this is like a fashion runway.
((Stefon Davis
Co-Owner, Gotham Depo Moto Storage))

Right, right, right. We also built the mezzanine behind you.
((Ronnie Pichson
Co-Owner, Gotham Depo Moto Storage))

When we built this, I said to the builder, I said, “I want nothing in that corner. I want this corner to be my Titanic.” This is what I live for, really. This is what I live for. My best friend, my husband, my partner, to take this next step in life. I've been fired four times.
((Stefon Davis
Co-Owner, Gotham Depo Moto Storage))

He’s been fired four times and, you know, he had some times and, you know, we laugh and, you know, we say that it’s two o’clock and I would have been in a fitting or I would have been doing an approval of fabrics or… and just to realize that this is our job now and it is truly a love and it's just, yeah, it's real humbling. I have to tell you that to sit here and to look at what we've accomplished and…
((Ronnie Pichson
Co-Owner, Gotham Depo Moto Storage))

…what we built.
((Stefon Davis
Co-Owner, Gotham Depo Moto Storage))

Yeah.
((Ronnie Pichson
Co-Owner, Gotham Depo Moto Storage))

The biggest lesson that I think I learned from COVID was something that Steph called me out on 10 years ago and I dismissed it and I said, “That's impossible and I don't see it.” And it was complacency. I had gotten complacent. I was very proud of my job and my title but if that's where I sat till the day I retired, then that was fine.
((Stefon Davis
Co-Owner, Gotham Depo Moto Storage))

Yeah.
((Ronnie Pichson
Co-Owner, Gotham Depo Moto Storage))

Every day we want this to grow. Every day we will do something more. And again, now we're learning to dream.
((NATS))


((PKG)) UYGHUR ENTREPRENUER
((TRT:
03:08))
((Topic Banner:
Another Way into Tech))
((Reporter:
Enming Liu, Stella Hsu))

((Camera/Editor: Enming Liu))
((Map: Centreville, Virginia))
((Main character: 1 male))
((Sub characters: 1 male; 1 female))

((NATS))
((Irfan Yuksel
CEO & Co-Founder, TechCircle))
My name is Irfan Yuksel. I am a father of three, working as an IT [information technology] professional. I am a full-stack engineer and also, I am a CEO and co-founder of TechCircle.
((NATS/MUSIC))
((Irfan Yuksel
CEO & Co-Founder, TechCircle))
TechCircle is an IT training boot camp. It was founded in 2019 by two Uyghur friends who share the same goal of inspiring people from any life or background to obtain the IT career opportunity and without having any sort of IT degree. ((NATS/MUSIC))
((Irfan Yuksel
CEO & Co-Founder, TechCircle))
I think in the United States with any immigrant who comes to this country, they are struggling with the immigration process. That is the challenging part. Once you have your status here and then you are starting to working at minimum wage companies like I did. I started working as an Uber driver in the morning from like 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. After that,
((Courtesy: Irfan Yuksel))
I worked for Jimmy John’s as a sandwich delivery driver. And later in the afternoon I was delivering the pizza. If I had some time between a couple of shifts, I just worked for Walmart as a sales associate. I had the four jobs at the same time.
((NATS))
((Gherbi Chouaib
Cloud Tester))

When I came here, I like the idea of what they have. I like how their philosophy, you know, to helping people even if you don't have no background. You know, helping, they teach you all these skills. And you learn and they switch your life, you know, from making like $15 [an hour] to make like $120K [thousand] a year. So that’s totally… So I stuck with them and learned the technology. For me like TechCircle is not like school. For me it’s like a home and family here in USA.
((NATS))
((Bianca Bank
Student, TechCircle))

The pandemic, that changed my mind a lot, especially working in the restaurant industry. I never thought that going to work, like every time I went to work, I was somehow like scared because I was in like contact with so many people that I didn't know. And I didn't expect to have that feeling when going to work. And that was one thing that I believed that like pushed me to invest in myself where I could have a stable job and able to work from home, if needed.
((Irfan Yuksel
CEO & Co-Founder, TechCircle))
Uyghurs are the hardworking people. They always educate themselves, to grow themselves, to get a comfortable future. I will say trust the process, put your effort, put your time and be consistent. You can achieve any goal that you want.


NEXT WEEK ((VO/SOT/NAT))
((Banner))
Exploring Therapy
((SOT))
((Dr. Lia A. Knox
Co-Founder Black Space, Licensed Professional Counselor))
One of the biggest things that black space wants to do, and it is our passion, is to destigmatize wellness within black and brown communities. One of the biggest stigmas is "Hey, I don't even know where to go to try to find a therapist that looks like me."


CLOSING BUMPER ((ANIM))
voanews.com/connect


BREAK THREE
BUMP IN ((ANIM))



SHOW ENDS


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