Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Texas

Round Rock ISD students launch nonprofit to support Central Texas refugees


AUSTIN (KXAN) — A group of Round Rock ISD students are embracing the giving spirit this holiday season, using their student-run nonprofit to benefit refugee and immigrant children resettling in Central Texas.

Nikhil Parida, Emaan Chhatriwala, Anagha Deepak and Nitya Parida founded HEARD Foundation last August, a nonprofit that supports displaced refugee children as they integrate into their new communities. The organization collaborates with other area nonprofits to raise funds that support refugees’ academic support, health services and any financial needs they might have.

“My sister and I first started tutoring refugee kids in our middle school days,” said Parida, a junior at Round Rock High School. “And it opened our eyes to some of the key challenges they face.”

Here in Central Texas, the Afghan crisis and war in Ukraine have each contributed to hundreds of refugee families resettling in the greater Austin area. Data from Refugee Services of Texas (RSTX) reported more than 1,000 Afghan refugees have resettled in Austin, while 150 Ukrainian refugees have relocated to the Texas capital as of late September.

“It’s amazing to see how the entire community can get together to result in something so beautiful.”

Anagha Deepak, sophomore, Round Rock High School

Since its founding last summer, the HEARD Foundation has organized a dozen events, including bake sales with proceeds benefitting Ukraine, donation drives benefitting communities in India as well as drives to support the Williamson County Children’s Advocacy Center. In 2022, the nonprofit has raised $1,400 through bake sale proceeds to support Ukrainian children.

  • download
  • download 1
  • download 2
  • download 3
  • download 4
  • download 5
  • download 6

“It’s amazing to see how the entire community can get together to result in something so beautiful,” said Deepak, a sophomore at Round Rock High School.

Alongside bake sales, the group has collected toys, clothing, books and other resources to benefit refugee children. Nonprofit partners include RSTX, Williamson County Children’s Advocacy Center, Families in Transition and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

While starting out as a mostly local organization, the group has ambitions to extend their services both nationally and globally. Both Anagha Deepak and her brother, Anirudh Deepak, have traveled to India to host donation drives.

Chhatriwala, a junior at Round Rock High School, said the international work the Deepaks have done is inspiring the group to think broader.

“We’re hoping that over time, this will become normal, and we can have a profound effect on children around the world.”

Emaan Chhatriwala, junior, Round Rock High School

“We’re hoping that over time, this will become normal, and we can have a profound effect on children around the world,” he said. “A smile is a smile, and a smile anywhere in the world — this is going to have an astounding impact on all of us.”

Both Walmart and Target has helped provide donations to the organization, and the nonprofit also runs an Amazon Smile account to collect donations to support their work. In the future, they hope to expand their services to add on hygiene drivers and more winter holiday drives to cover more terrain.

“On top of the trauma [refugee children] face, they’re already having to assimilate into new communities. So our goal is to make that transition kind of easier.”

Nikhil Parida, junior, Round Rock High School

And while HEARD was founded by a group of high schoolers, the nonprofit has expanded its reach into RRISD elementary schools. Anirudh Deepak and Alina Chhatriwala, both 5th graders at Patsy Sommer Elementary, are leading the nonprofit’s next generation of advocacy work at their campus through bake sale drives.

“I help our team by letting my friends and teachers know about our programs and bringing in more people to help our cause,” Anirudh said, adding he was inspired by the work his sister, Anagha, was doing with the nonprofit. “I’m really happy to be a part of it.”

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.



Source link

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Advertisement

You May Also Like

Uncategorized

Introductions get a lot of attention. I’ve explored the topic of how to write them even though as a reader, I always skip them....

Online Business Success

The internet is now our nervous system. We are constantly streaming and buying and watching and liking, our brains locked into the global information...

SEO Guide

There are all kinds of pictures of the world on the internet, but to find one of these specific pictures that you want to...

Online Business Success

You can think of link building in many ways. I like to call it tedious, painful, and a test of patience. It’s also necessary...

Advertisement