My name is Sahasra Bangaru and I am a 9th grader at Ardrey Kell High School in Charlotte, North Carolina. I love to volunteer, do community service, and help those in need.
One of the many volunteering opportunities I do is help students in Ukraine better their English. Through this program, I can grow cross-culture connections and learn about other countries in the process. I started weekly zoom sessions with two girls that are my age in the summer of 2021. Once a week I meet with Tina Dmitriuk or Darina Savchenco. Darina lives in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine while Tina lives in a small town called Kitsman In Ukraine, most students know Ukrainian and Russian and are sometimes taught English. However, there’s no better way to understand English than to be taught by someone who uses it as their first language. I can teach them things about American culture, slang, and pronunciation that they would not learn in Ukraine. In our meetings, we discuss our cultural differences, holidays, and schooling. Being part of this experience has truly opened my eyes to other communities around the world and vice versa.
Tina and I in our weekly zoom session where we discussed books, movies, and she informed me on the history of the tensions between Ukraine and Russia. “Meeting every week is very fun for me! I get to learn about America and since meeting, my English is much better and I can master my accent.”-Tina Dmitriuk
In addition, I am part of the City of Charlotte’s City and Advisory Council. These councils meet 4-5 times a month to advise the mayor and the city council board on rising issues in our communities. We also help the Superintendent of our school district make decisions in our school district in terms of issues like safety and Covid-19. I am also the fundraising lead for a student-run platform to introduce young students, girls in technology, and minorities to Artificial Intelligence and technology. The goal is to bring diversity and help students explore their interests in STEM. In my role as a fundraising lead, I raise awareness and gather funds and grants for the non-profit.
Another mentionable thing I enjoy doing is through VTSeva Charlotte. For 10 weeks I taught paper quilling classes in order to raise money for struggling children in India, as well as organizing and hosting toiletry drives for the Salvation Army. Yearly, we organize a major fundraiser featuring dances, singing, debates, and speeches in a showcase; where all the proceeds go to rebuild schools and teach students in India.
Our toiletries drive to donate to the Salvation Army