July 2021 Supporter Spotlight: Kaaviya Sasikumar

Jul 29, 2021

StandUp for Kids – Orange County 

StandUp for Kids – Orange County is comprised of volunteers, donors, and staff who all dedicate their time to helping disadvantaged and at-risk youth. Without their commitment, StandUp for Kids wouldn’t be able to support our youth each day with mentorship and developmental resources.

With the current economic, political, and health concerns for youth and so many others, these contributions have never been more impactful or meaningful. This month we recognize the work and contributions of Kaaviya Sasikumar, a volunteer at StandUp for Kids – Orange County.

Kaaviya, far left, with youth in the program

Kaaviya first became involved with StandUp for Kids after her junior year of high school. She had always relished volunteering opportunities and enjoyed being involved in the community. However, there was never an opportunity that completely fulfilled her interests.

“I like working with kids and giving back to the community. I wanted to do something that I felt would be making more of a change,” says Kaaviya.

With StandUp for Kids, Kaaviya found a place that would allow her to make a more significant difference and will enable her to work closely with youth.

Kaaviya came into StandUp for Kids with no expectations; she was pleasantly surprised by just how much she enjoyed her time at the in-person mentoring sessions. The welcoming and open environment that is fostered in these meetings was something that she particularly appreciated.

“It was a safe space for me where I could volunteer to help out, but also where I got to relax and talk to people. That’s a cool and unique thing about StandUp for Kids.”

After about a year or so with StandUp for Kids – Orange County, Kaaviya’s time with us came to an end. She enjoyed every moment that she spent working with our youth. Scheduling conflicts and the start of college at UC Berkeley kept her a bit busy.

However, things would change by May 2020 when Kaaviya reached back out to StandUp for Kids wanting to be involved again. She had found her footing in college, and the unfortunate onset of the pandemic had opened up more free time for her. The pandemic, however, also made virtual volunteering for StandUp for Kids much more accessible, considering she lived far from Orange County.

While Kaaviya could’ve used this free time in several different ways, she knew that working with StandUp for Kids again was something she wanted to do. Kaaviya had grown close with many of the youth she worked with and yearned for those interactions once again.

“These kids are super mature, and they’re so relatable. They’re such great kids. That’s part of the reason why I wanted to come back. I remembered the feeling of teaching them and talking to them about their day, and I missed that,” says Kaaviya.

Upon her return to StandUp for Kids – Orange County, Kaaviya has taken a more active role in supporting the development and mentorship of our youth.

Kaaviya is one of the leaders of our STEM program, which gives an introductory course into subjects like computer science, architecture, and civil engineering to our youth. This program provides an in-depth look into STEM-related topics and real-world applications, and job possibilities often not focused on in school settings. Our wish is to introduce our youth to STEM-oriented careers that they previously may not have been aware of or considered.

Kaaviya’s extensive involvement in our STEM program has helped create the structure of several modules and allowed her to introduce and instruct a module on computer science.

Our STEM program has been a resounding success, and much of that wouldn’t be possible without the leadership and dedication of Kaaviya.

With the onset of her junior year in college on the horizon, Kaaviya keeps an open mind about her future. She is currently studying data science at UC Berkeley and is involved in a computer science-oriented internship. While Kaaviya acknowledges the uncertainty and fluidity of what lies ahead for her, she does know one thing for sure.

“I want to do something that has a positive impact on the world.”

StandUp for Kids – Orange County is grateful for the commitment Kaaviya, and the many volunteers and mentors give to help mentor and guide our youth to a better future. If you’re like Kaaviya and want to impact the lives of youth positively, please email us at [email protected] today.