Meet Rejean, Your New WYAAP RDO!


April 28, 2022 Manila, Philippines – Rejean Darroca is the newest World Youth Alliance Asia Pacific (WYAAP) Regional Director of Operations (RDO). Born in the city of Iloilo in the Philippines, she started her WYA journey as a participant at the WYA Asia Pacific Summer Camp. Following this, she completed the Certified Training Program and opened a WYA Club in her high school. Notably, Rejean is the first recipient of the Viktor Frankl Award for the Asia Pacific.

“My vision is for WYAAP to become a thriving inclusive region with a strong alliance of well represented young people in Asia Pacific who deeply understand human dignity” – Rejean on her vision for WYA Asia Pacific

1. What were you busy with prior to your role now as RDO and what made you apply for the role?

I’ve been wearing many hats. I worked the longest in a cocoa processing and chocolate factory managing internal quality audits and also handling a food safety team assistant lead role. I also worked in areas under plant operations, sales, and marketing. Then, I took a break and spent some time traveling and volunteering. I eventually pursued passion projects that turned into start ups Artère, a sustainable cultural gift shop featuring artisan made crafts and Ecoloco Villa de Arévalo, a sustainable community initiative through urban farming.

It is a fun fact though that I always had WYA involvements in between. WYA is an organization that is very close to my heart. I was able to put up the very first WYA Chapter in Asia Pacific last 2011 and two more after. It made me embrace leadership roles that gave some of the best and most challenging experiences in life. I would organize training events, cultural events, conferences, and dignity projects with fellow young people who have become my closest friends. I would also get invited to speak in leadership training sessions and special events. Throughout that period I was able to complete my Bachelor of Science in Food Technology degree and also pursue work in the field of science. I had a greater appreciation of life as I got exposed to different disciplines and saw how strongly interconnected things are and how we humans are deeply grounded in universal values.

I have found my career background in my previous employment and running a small business, strongly equipped me with skills, experiences, and tools to navigate through the RDO role in WYAAP. It has been 11 years since I first joined the organization and I have found myself continuously being active in supporting WYA’s mission as a chapter leader and volunteer trainer for the CTP, Advocacy Training, and HDC. As I asked myself why, I have come to realize how significantly WYA has played a role in keeping me grounded in life and because of that impact, I have felt deeply how WYA’s mission continues to be relevant and needed in our current situation especially as I keep meeting young people from different walks of life and hear their stories.

2. What is your fondest WYA memory, as a volunteer?

I have a lot of meaningful experiences as a volunteer. I felt that I had the ultimate experience when I opened and led a University based Chapter where I got to maximize my potential as a young person first in teaching the CTP to my pioneering team of chapter leaders and members. There were times where we would stay up late and have sleepovers because everyone was so dedicated to completing the CTP despite having a full load of classes and other socio-civic engagements. We would have activities and trips in between to further connect our learnings to the real world. I am amazed at how driven we were to help achieve WYA’s mission and it was because we felt at home with each other and had WYA as an avenue to pursue our passions to travel, dance, advocate, and many more. We would regularly meet to hang out and then we would suddenly throw ideas for a youth conference and in a month’s time we made it happen. We were also able to pioneer dignity projects, fundraisers, and cultural events like the WYA Tuesdays, Adulting Conference, and Annual Outreach Programs.

3. What is your vision for WYA in Asia Pacific?

My vision is for WYAAP to become a thriving inclusive region with a strong alliance of well represented young people in Asia Pacific who deeply understand human dignity and are articulate in its promotion and defense within their respective spheres of influence, nurturing a mindset that prioritizes person-centered solutions in policy and culture.

I look forward to seeing AP GROWTH with focus areas on the following: Advocacy, Partnerships, Genuine Engagement, Recognition, Opportunities, WYA Chapters, Training Programs (CTP), and HDC.

4 What do you do in your spare time? What do you do for leisure? 🙂

My home is near the beach so whenever I have time, I take a walk or jog by the shore. Ballet has been my constant leisure activity for 5 years now. I would regularly go to Symmetry Dance Studio where I was able to continue dancing ballet as an adult and we had virtual classes throughout the pandemic. It kept me sane. I also like doing wellness activities with nature like gardening, nature walks, and sky watching. During slow days, I cozy up to read books, watch movies, or experiment on ingredients to make healthy food. I enjoy traveling to learn, connect with people, and immerse myself in other cultures. Within three years, I was able to visit 8 Asia Pacific countries and I hope to visit more!

5. Name the top 3 or 5 people who have made the most impact on your WYA experience so far.

A LOT of people made a huge impact throughout my WYA journey. They are my fellow volunteers, co-interns, travel buddies, roommates in WYA trips, and mentors. If I were to name at least 5, I would start with Renelyn Tan who was the reason why I got to know about WYA when she introduced the organization in my school. Next is Christine Violago who was my first mentor as a summer camp facilitator when I went though it while I was still in high school. She was also the Regional Director of Operations when I interned in WYAAP. It was the time that I first lived away from home and they became family to me. I was able to overcome my shyness and give my first speech at a large audience through her encouragement and it became the start of many.

Lord Leomer Pomperada, the current WYA President was my co-intern back in 2012. It has been 10 years since we first met and I am grateful for his friendship and mentorship. His determination and successful leadership serves as an inspiration. Mary Imbong and Zarina San Jose were the Regional Directors when I was most active as a WYA leader. They helped nurture me well and taught me so much as they guided me to overcome a lot of challenges. I wouldn’t have pursued my ideas and helped WYA grow as much if it weren’t for their constant support.

Welcome to the staff family, Rejean!

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