Youth Volunteers

Younger generations are instrumental in bringing a positive change. With their enthusiasm and dedication, they believe in making a difference. Hand In Hand USA has been fortunate to provide opportunities to teens and youth to raise funds for education of the students at the Balashram.

Every year, young volunteers come up with creative and unique ideas to raise funds. They have sold baked goods, craft items and handmade products.

Featured Stories

Golf Yardage Books for Fundraising

For the past six years, my family has been attending Hand in Hand events for where I was able to learn about the children living at the Balashram. 

Seeing presentations about these children’s lives made me realize that what separates me from them is very little, much of it luck. I became aware that I take so much for granted: ample food & clean water, access to quality education and, most importantly, the loving support of my family. 

I was inspired to help support the work of the Balashram, making sure that as many kids as possible have access to the resources they need to become thriving adults. 

At HIH events, I saw others selling art, cupcakes, stress balls, etc. to raise money. Initially, I struggled thinking of a way that I could contribute, but then after my family hosted a golf fundraiser – I realized that I could utilize one of my biggest passions, golf, to help fundraise. 

I began by soliciting golf-related donations for the auction at my family’s event: I convinced my golf coach to donate free lessons, I was able to get a golf club to contribute greens fees for a foursome and I even compelled my friend’s Dad to donate Titleist golf balls. After my initial success, I was excited to do more, and I designed yardage books for the golf course in which my family held the charity event. As I had played the course so many times and consistently achieved a low score, I also put together a guide to each of the holes and how to best play them called “My Perspective” and sold these to raise funds. In total, I have raised almost $1,500 in the last two years which has allowed 4 kids to attend school at the Balashram for a whole year. 

I’m excited to continue to support the work HIH does. Education has such a significant impact on peoples’ lives and it’s amazingly sad to me that over 700 million people are illiterate because they don’t have access to quality education. 

I hope that you’ll consider getting involved!

Salil, a 14-year-old Chicagoan, and an American Indian.

Cards for a Cause

I began my contribution to the non-profit organization Hand in Hand USA approximately 3 years ago at the age of 12. At the time, I was quite uncertain about my stance on the issue we aimed to address- the lack of support, hope, and opportunity for poor and needy children in Odisha that are absent of a beneficial education and a safe home. While I understood the purpose of our efforts, I failed to understand my role- I was 12, after all, and children can’t change the world in the way an adult can. At the very least, that was how I saw it in my own eyes.

This mentality of mine was maintained until I truly began working towards making a difference. Previously, I made quilled cards, gift tags, boxes, and bookmarks as a hobby- as I started directing these products towards the benefit of the non-profit, the revenue from these sold items was sent to Hand in Hand USA. I converted my interest for this specific craft into a small business under the name QuillTrunk, supported through my online platform for sales through Facebook. Additionally, I have sold several cards through my high school’s community activities, weddings, church baskets, and so forth. I had managed to raise 360 dollars and more- the amount necessary for a child to have full access to education for an entire year at Hand in Hand’s Hariharananda Balashram, Odisha. 

It was then that I truly began to see the impact one child could have. To be provided with an education, with a home- it was a privilege I had often taken for granted, not one that all were provided with. Currently, I’m a freshman in Oswego East High School; my future, a college education, the life ahead of me is on my mind. For other 15-year-olds in some parts of the world, this is far from the case. Education may not be the highest on their list of priorities- it may not even be on their list of priorities. From one child to another, I began to realize that I can and should make a difference, that my age does not limit me from the impact I can create. 

The aim of this sector of Hand in Hand USA is to provide impoverished children of Odisha with the basic care and education required by every child. Through my work and the work of others, we can move forward and achieve these goals, to provide others with the opportunities so many of us are blessed with. No matter who or where you are, no matter how much of an impact you believe you can make, it is vital to remember that even “One drop can make a difference.”

Aanya Roy

Freshman at OEHS