Henry Yao was born in Taiwan and is fluent in both English and Mandarin. He completed the Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology at UBC and began his community service at the Chimo Crisis Line. He co-founded the Youth Around the Block organization and served on the Board of Directors at the SFU Surrey Salsa Club. However, Henry was diagnosed with two different types of lymphoma in 2004. With the continual support of his friends and family, Henry went into remission five years later.
After surviving his cancer treatment, Henry decided to pursue the field of youth work where he could help a new generation of Richmond youth. Henry became associated with organizations such as the Richmond Youth Services Agency and the Richmond City Centre community centre, where he helped young adults to develop skills in career building, leadership development, and community engagement. After working with so many talented youth, Henry decided to step up his effort to help the new generation to pave a brighter future. In 2014, Henry Yao joined the race for Richmond City Council.
His first experience in politics taught him the complexity and challenges faced by the Richmond Community. To learn more, Henry has attended many Richmond Council meetings. He also served on the Board of the Richmond Food Security Society, Richmond Nature Park Society, and Richmond Chinese Community Society. In addition to sitting on various Boards, Henry served the community with Vancouver Metropolitan Lions Club and maintained active memberships with Taiwan Chamber of Commerce of BC and Richmond Chamber of Commerce. He volunteered as a dishwasher at St Alban’s Community Meal and as a Host/Security at Gilmore Park United Church Community Meal. Henry also hosted many community Fundraisers, Invasive Species Removal, and Earth Day clean ups. Most of all, Henry supported many community events and even co-founded Dialogue Richmond, an organization dedicated to promoting safe, respectful and constructive dialogues on difficult community topics.
The more Henry is involved the more he is troubled by the fractures and division in the Richmond community. He has joined RITE Richmond for the 2018 Civic Election with a plan to bring cooperation, understanding and healing for a divided community.