“There is no attempt at making change that is too small; all change makes a difference,” is only one of the inspiring things senior Nikhil Anand had to say after being chosen as the Local School Honoree for the Prudential Spirit of Community Award. After going through “personal tragedies that taught [him] about the difficulties that others may face,” Nikhil became inspired to work with others to make a difference in his community, leading to his creation of the Roote Foundation.
He started this charity with his mother, inspired by the “hardships that [they] witnessed firsthand.” A non-profit organization focused on helping children, the Roote Foundation provides low-income families with the opportunity to send their children to preschool for free. Nikhil recognizes that many of the kids that are in the program aren’t often presented with opportunities like this, and that’s exactly what he’s trying to change. In his own words, he’s determined to “give kids the ability to achieve things that they never believed they could.”
However, no experience comes without setbacks. When asked about his time working with the charity, he responded “working on this foundation is a lot of work and demands countless hours, but seeing the change it can make in people’s lives makes it all worth it.” This is definitely true, given that he could not even pick a single moment to call his favorite. Rather, he thrives off the realization that his work “can truly make a difference in someone’s life for years to come, and isn’t just a one time fix.”
During his time working with the Roote Foundation, Nikhil has gained a passionate interest in charity work that he is planning to continue for many years to come. He encourages his peers to join him in his journey towards making a difference, saying that “we are always looking for help, in any way it may come.” Even if they aren’t interesting in joining his foundation specifically, he advises everyone to “find something they truly have a passion for, get to work, and make a difference. Even if they only help one person, it’s worth it.”
After talking to Nikhil for only a short amount of time, it’s clear that he is a perfect candidate for the award, which is committed to “applauding young people who already are making a positive difference in their towns and neighborhoods, and to inspire others to think about how they might contribute to their communities.” However, becoming a Local Honoree is only the first step in a long process, as only a small group of winners will be selected to enter the next level of judging. These results will be announced in early February, and then the final ten winners will be chosen during a ceremony in Washington, D.C. in May. All of High School West will be crossing their fingers for Nikhil, but what makes him so perfect for this award is that he is not focused on winning; he never asked to be rewarded for his efforts, all he asked for was a chance to have a positive effect on his community.