BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE
Atlanta, GA, December 8, 2017: The fundraiser “Kids Help Kids” that started as an initiative to help Tornado victims in Oklahoma, has turned out to be an annual affair for the family and friends of Veda Balaji. The community gathered at the East Cobb Park for a 3K race on November 11, 2017 to support Balaji’s organization. The event raised $1000 to help hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico. All proceeds from the event will be donated to SEWA International USA. A crowning moment for all her hard work, Balaji was recently honored by 21st Century Leaders in recognition of her work with Kids Help Kids.
Along with the run, kids had organized bake sales of cookies, brownies, donuts, cupcakes, coffee, tea and a sumptuous spread of Indian breakfast dishes. A total of 60 folks participated in the event, with Kabi Gikiri winning the first place, Miriam Song the second, and Pruthvi Rajghatta the third place.
With a goal of $2000, kids are still approaching businesses to raise funds to meet their target. Balaji, currently a junior at Lassiter high school in Marietta, conceptualized her vision to help kids who are victims of natural disasters, while in middle school with her brother and her four other friends.
“Veda Balaji, Vishruth Madhusudhan, Varsha Ramachandra, Sarayu Ramachandra, Amit Balaji, Sanjana SridharMurthy and Dhanya Inamdhar, the founding members of this organization, are dynamic young kids who along with having fun have collected more than $10,000 from all their events. Today, the organization currently has over 20 volunteers all kids, doing community service and growing everyday with more dedicated volunteers such as Gaurav Krishnan, Urvi Gupta, Tejas Veedhulur and many more,” said Vanishree Rao, Veda Balaji’s mother.
“I think I won the award for serving my community, and also by being able to build a strong team to serve people,” said Balaji, who was one of the 2017 Georgia Youth Leadership Award winners.
21st Century Leaders is a collaboration of business and professional leaders inspiring high school students to take on leadership positions, explore career opportunities, and give back to their communities by connecting them with a diverse group of enthusiastic peers, professionals and ideas, transforming their skills, attitudes, and abilities through training and hands-on experiences.
Kids Help Kids has contributed their donations to fundraising events for Oklahoma Tornado disaster in June 2013, Philippines typhoon disaster in Nov 2013, Promoting girl education in June 2014, and Chennai flood disaster in Jan 2015.
“We hope our fundraising efforts help the hurricane victims. Many have lost their lives, homes and are not able to attend schools like how they did before. With our contribution, we hope to help the children who got affected. If you are a student in Marietta area and would like to join this group, please feel free to contact me. And if you are willing to donate to help us reach our goal of $2000, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org,” Balaji appealed.