Nitin is a 15-year-old sophomore at BASIS Independent Silicon Valley, who became an avid volunteer since his start in middle school. Nitin’s volunteer experience is inspiring, which makes it easy for future colleges and employers to envision his success. He’s received character strength endorsements from nonprofits for his leadership, work ethic, and good communication. Additionally, Nitin has achieved Gold for the 2021 President’s Volunteer Service Award by consolidating all school, club, and individual service hours on one verified transcript.
From Start to Start-up
After realizing he had more free time that no amount of technology or TV could fulfill, he completed his first volunteer experience teaching Python to kids. He has now contributed to several other volunteering projects over the last few years. One of his proudest accomplishments is a non-profit club that helps students gain basic skills in areas of business & leadership.
“From a young age I was always fascinated by the world of owning and driving a business to success. Complementing the courses in economics and business during the school year, the summer of 2020 presented me with an opportunity to do a start-up incubator program at QØ. This workshop gave me the leadership and business skills needed to be a rising entrepreneur; I co-founded COM3T Drones. I got a kick out of it when I went on to pitch my idea and won seed funding of $1000 from a VC fund”, said Nitin.
Creating for a Cause
Nitin soon realized during this volunteer experience how fortunate he was to have a family that could afford to pay a hefty price for a 6-week course. He also saw that many kids may not have the same opportunity. Realizing how vital these skills are for young budding entrepreneurs, he went on to do some research to find out that many schools across the US are rushing towards adopting a STEM-based curriculum. However, they are not paying enough attention to pairing STEM with the skills required in the areas of business and leadership. In turn, this is where his idea of a non-profit club, Venture Up, came into play.
He realized he could serve a significant social cause to those in need. Rather than traditional theory-based coursework, Venture Up provides a complete hands-on experience to bright-minded individuals. It helps them improve their business and personal skills required to realize their entrepreneurship potential. It is a completely online program where young kids across multiple geographies come together to hone basic life skills to solve everyday problems. These virtual classes run once every week over six months. At the end, kids pitch a business idea in a competition that has representatives from multiple VC firms.
Nitin’s motivation for this club came from his interest in business, finance, entrepreneurship, and the stock market. He remarked, “As a second-generation Indo-American, I am trying to break the mold of a preconceived notion that only a career in STEM is the future. I would like to embrace a career that is a combination of STEM, business and entrepreneurship.”
Volunteering for Others
The next volunteer opportunity Nitin participates in is One Prosper. One Prosper’s structured curriculum teaches English to kids in schools in under-developed parts of India. Nitin’s service hours are every Saturday from from 8-9 PM PST. He meets with two students making it more conducive to their time. During these sessions, Nitin and the student alternate reading the same paragraphs in a book to hear how to pronounce and enunciate words.
Nitin commented, “With a global job market facilitated by English as the common medium, you need to know basic English. That’s why I took the volunteer opportunity with the One Prosper organization.”
He continued, “Besides that, I just get genuine satisfaction out of it. Seeing the kids reading sentences that can be a little difficult just means they are grasping the concepts and new ideas. I’m very fortunate to know the language and live in California. I also get to go to a good school, but not all students have the same opportunities. The best satisfaction comes from me helping them foster their growth. One of the kids I taught wrote a small poem in English that he dedicated to me at the end of the session. I perceive this as the best gift I received in my life.”
Lending a Helping Hand
During 2019, Nitin also helped his little sister with her volunteer experience. She raised funds for the American Heart Association by going around the neighborhood, spreading awareness about heart diseases, and seeking donations. Nitin’s sister received an award for her volunteer project — raising the most funds in her area of California. He remarked, “It’s just about making sure kids are getting the proper health care they need. Our healthcare system is favored towards people who make larger incomes and have insurance. Even though the welfare programs are helping, there is a huge disparity and inequality. Just raising $150 is something that can go to a family struggling to help their child battle the disease.”
Contributing to the Environment
Lastly, Nitin also takes the opportunity to volunteer at his local park by participating in clean-up drives. He soon made this a family affair; his whole family and some of his friends also participate in the volunteer project. Nitin says, “Global warming is something we all know and talk about. We are doing our part in protecting the environment. As a family, we enjoy being outdoors and this is a perfect activity. We get to have fun while doing our part to save the environment.”
Lessons Learned during Volunteering
Nitin commented, “These volunteering opportunities enable several learning experiences. I learned that patience is vital to help someone learn, and you need to tune yourself to the frequency of the recipients while teaching. It is easy to get frustrated while teaching kids, but remember, you are helping them shape their future. While being a big thinker, act upon every opportunity to drive a small change to make the world a better place.”
Nitin encourages others to manage their time since many people say they do not have enough time to volunteer in projects. He commented, “Take those extra 30 minutes you have laying on your bed on a Sunday morning. That is 30 minutes you’ve saved towards doing some volunteering activities. Also, never make the excuse that ‘I don’t have time.’ If you want to do something, you will make time for it.”