Hello, I am Raj Kashikar, a senior at Dougherty Valley High School. Learning about Akshaya Patra and its mission to help children in need is what struck me profoundly and it felt like a privilege to participate in this cause. The first project I participated in, the Diwali Diya project, was a great introductory experience for me, not only to get familiar with the type of work I will be doing as a Youth Ambassador, but also as an introduction to the teamwork and spirit of what we do. We successfully raised almost $1,600 and this project gave me the opportunity to teach 9 participants how to paint the diyas, along with putting in time on my own to paint and sell the remaining 122 diyas.
I have organized several fundraisers for Thanksgiving and Christmas that not only raised $1,100 but also awareness of Akshaya Patra. My most recent workshop was creating ceramic coasters and this was, by far, my largest fundraiser raising $1,000! With a team of Youth Ambassadors, we designed and led a marketing campaign for a year around the sales of these coasters, increasing the number of new Youth Ambassadors in the Bay area.
Receiving the Presidential Volunteer Service award further strengthened my resolve to support Akshaya Patra. I have already begun working on a spring project initiated by my fellow Youth Ambassadors where we will sell over 200 plants. We will be targeting companies to help us raise funds.
Volunteering gives me a very different perspective and purpose for every activity I am involved in. Throughout my time with Akshaya Patra, I have been astonished at the new skills I have learned and I look forward to continuing to make a positive impact on my generation. Sky’s the limit for imagination so please share your ideas and we can work together to help towards our goal to feed 5 million children by the end of 2025.