Categorized | Feature

Friends of Greystone teen advisory member looks to pass down experience

Jamie Kim news editor

Almost as well-versed in the history of the Greystone Mansion as the park rangers and as passionate about the restoration of the mansion as the donors, senior Julian Saadeh can be found leading student tours of the mansion and even at some of the many events hosted at the mansion.

Saadeh is the current teen advisory member for Friends of Greystone (FOG), but is looking for a current junior to take his spot for next year.

Saadeh first became involved with FOG after the adviser of Teen Advisory Committee (TAC), of which Saadeh used to be a part, recommended him for the part.

I have always wanted to serve my community in Beverly Hills in one way or another, so becoming part of FOG was another way to continue that, since you can only be a part of TAC until sophomore year,” Saadeh said.

He was also interested in applying for the position because he saw similarities between  his personal efforts to preserve his home and those of FOG to preserve Greystone.

“This interest was sparked because my mom owns the apartment we live in and the one across the street, so I grew up around real estate. My mom also talks about preserving the integrity of our 1926 apartment building,” Saadeh said. “Preserving my own apartment has always been a goal of mine and I just translated some of my interest towards restoring Greystone.”

As the teen advisory member, Saadeh has had to attend the monthly meetings, which are on the third Wednesday of each month. Additionally, he is responsible for organizing and passing out flyers for the yearly AP US History tours at the Greystone mansion. He also helped organize, with the help of ASB, a Senior Movie Night at the mansion last year, as well as organize for some high school musicians to play at the Greystone membership party.

“Whether it’s set-up, clean-up, photographer, meet and greet, etc., I can always find work at events,” Saadeh said.

As a teen representative, Saadeh has learned how to run a successful nonprofit organization.

“The amazing people (mostly ladies) spend hours out of their day to help a cause. An example is that the movie companies gutted the house of all its silver doorknobs, and a lady on our board got craftsmen to create the doorknobs in almost the identical style and install them into hundreds of doors…I mean, we are always to trying to raise more money but since 2001, FOG has raised millions of dollars for Greystone in total. That’s amazing if you think about it,” Saadeh said.

He has also learned more about how to work with adults.

“I’ve learned how to present yourself, check emails and general responsibility skills, as I am not only representing FOG but the high school. Being part of FOG is very different from being part of a club at school,” he said.

“I’m not going to say [FOG] is a business because it is not, but I guess people are more serious about what they are doing, and part of it is due to the fact that there is money involved and people’s time.  Also, nobody at Greystone is there because they have to do it for college,” Saadeh said. “Many of the people on the board are working and are part of FOG because they care about Greystone.  Some may like the social aspect as well, but everyone is there because they want to be there not because they have to be there.”

As Saadeh will graduate in June, he is currently accepting applications from current juniors interested in becoming a member of FOG.

In addition to being committed, Saadeh hopes the next representative will be creative.

“Besides their normal duties, I would like the next representative to come up with an original idea on how to better engage the high school with Greystone beyond just the student tour. Something I did not accomplish but wanted to was maybe having Mr. Bradbury’s band or Ms. Kikkawa’s choir perform at Greystone,” Saadeh said.

Additionally, Saadeh offered some words of advice for the next representative, with whom he will be meeting over the summer to help with the transition.

“Working with adults is different than working with students. He or she has to have some level of maturity and has to possess the ability to get things done in a timely manner and doing things when he or she says they are going to do something. Good people skills are very helpful. He/she needs to check your email everyday as that is the main mode of communication,” Saadeh said.

On top of that, Saadeh stressed the importance of having passion for the cause of FOG and Greystone.
“Develop some liking for either the history of Greystone or the house itself, or even enjoying serving the community,” Saadeh said. “Whatever the reason, the person must be happy to be there every time he or she steps onto historic grounds.”

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