Design Your Careers (DYC) is a 501(c)(3) non-proﬁt organization, serving as a global, collaborative, central, and holistic platform for students to learn-share several skills (academic, non-academic )with each other. The platform provides the perfect opportunity for students of all ages to share their skills, showcase their talent, and serve their community in various forms.
We are a group of like-minded people who intend to bring in a collaborative knowledge sharing medium and thereby leadership in youth. We have initiated this as a singular platform to explore knowledge, skills, and passions throughout the community, city, nation, and the world! This is an initiative that seeks to encourage youth to explore new talents, skills, and abilities to become a well-rounded individual.
I was selected for the 49ers STEM Leadership Institute in middle school and my interests and curiosity helped me derive true value in thinking beyond books. STEM also introduced me to focus on collaboration, ideas, teamwork, insights, expertise, and understanding. This early exposure helped me expand my knowledge and encourage my classmates to inspire each other.
When I was in 8th grade, I wanted to do well in a math competition that was going to be held in a few days. I needed an edge to make it count. Not guidance from a teacher or tutor, but some handy tips from someone who had been there and experienced it. I reached out to a couple of friends, who were great at math, but did not have time to help me. My parents then introduced me to Anirudhan, a family friend, who is a math wizard of sorts. My parents knew that he had participated in the competition and asked him to help me out.
Over the next few days, I studied with him and he showed me some amazing tips and tricks that made me more conﬁdent in scoring higher during the math competition! Getting to learn from someone who was about my age and was happy to share his knowledge, sparked an idea.
I realized that when everyone has some sort of talent, skill, knowledge, or ability that sets them apart, why not share their skills with others? The question now was this - How do we connect students who want to share with students who want to learn?
I rolled out the idea of a shared learning platform by registering DYC as a non-proﬁt to beneﬁt many others. It consisted of four primary programs, Logicians, Imaginers, Givers, and Players.
Taking constant feedback and suggestions from my parents (Surekha, Vikas), Anirudh, and mentors like Mary, Brendon, Don, Rajesh, and Praveen, we incorporated inputs into our endeavor. The basic funds that got us going were from the parents of all the students involved. Those funds helped get the DYC website up and running and came in handy to host the ﬁrst few workshops.
With the collective support, DYC has become an approved 501(c)(3) organization in September 2019 and is now eligible to receive the President’s Volunteer Service Award (PVSA) for all contributions done through DYC.
DYC aims to be a free-ﬂowing catalyst and a platform encouraging children to explore their attributes in a bigger way, showcasing their skills while promoting collaboration among peers, doing away with superiority complex while promoting belongingness, knowledge-sharing, and selﬂessness to the core.
At DYC, we encourage the sharing of knowledge. We don’t expect every mentor to be perfect at their craG, just presenting practical and applied knowledge to showcase what they’ve got. DYC Student leaders have inspired several learners who want to know and learn about the same things they did in the ﬁrst place. In return, every student leader earned volunteer hours and special leadership recognition.
DYC aspires to continue fuelling its platform of learners and mentors, better than it is now. The organization is aligned with NSHSS principles of bringing about change through a holistic approach to education. Since we believe the youth are the real agents of change that we need in this world, the platform seeks to bring a diverse set of individuals, to explore their strengths in a meaningful manner. of them ensuring a streamlined base for those who want to learn and teach. We want to make real practical and applied education, accessible to millions of youth in the US, irrespective of their ﬁnancial condition. We seek to educate aspiring learners with a diverse set of topics either through virtual events and bring in mentors who are keen to share their knowledge in all kinds of avenues. We also wish to introduce more community projects that unite children of diﬀerent ethnic communities in the US to support underserved children in various forms. We have been pooling in donations from parents, mentors, and students for DYC programs till now. And in 2 years, we have managed to impact thousands of lives with quality skill development and in making obscure talents accessible to other learners in the country.
At DYC, Anirudhan Badrinath and I have ﬁrst enrolled three other student leaders from other schools, who have diﬀerent interests and hobbies. Pranavi Manchikanti is adept at calligraphy and languages while Ananya Veerapaneni is a master of sciences and quite an all-rounder for hosting events, and workshops. Yasesvi Punuganti is well-versed with diverse art forms like playing the ﬂute and hosts dance workshops.
We have expanded our team now, participated in various community events, and helped other nonproﬁts and underserved children from time to time. We have worked on the feedback given to us and have managed to realize several ideas in building the platform.
The DYC team, consisting of about 50 Student Leaders now spread across the United States, was a huge success, as we roped them to share their passion by joining our team. We hosted many workshops and discussions. Our mentors and learners have experienced a marked rise in self-esteem and conﬁdence, doing them a world of good in acquiring more skills. Along with them, we have had many international volunteers and parents who supported us to serve the underserved children with small acts of charity and kindness and usher in huge smiles of happiness and satisfaction.
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