Awards-4teens july 2021

Monthly Awards-4Teens Honoree #5|July 20, 2021| By: Olatoni Akinbamowo

Nivetha Rajapandi, July 2021 Awards-4Teens Honoree

Am4Teens volunteers are often people who are selfless, empathetic, or resolute. A rising senior, Nivetha Rajapandi embodies all of these qualities, and it is her finesse and zeal that have led her to being named one of the July Awards-4Teens Honoree’s, and that will henceforth lead her to accomplish inconceivably substantial feats.

Nivetha is driven to help, and her benevolence within the Am4teens community and elsewhere is admirable. Nivetha’s track-record of humanitarian acts is commendable, and represents the impact that the ardor of today’s youth can have on society.

What are some of your hobbies, talents, and interests?

Nivetha: Outside of school, I have liked dancing since I was around 5 years old. I am pretty art oriented so I like listening to music, and education-wise, I love science and want to become a pediatrician.

How do you believe your friends would describe you?

Nivetha: Not to brag, but they would say that I'm funny.

What do you do outside of volunteering?

Nivetha: I like nature, being outside, going places- like out to lunch or to the beach, and hiking.

Where do you see yourself in five to ten years?

Nivetha: I see myself going to college and working on college applications. I want to be on a pre-med track, but I might minor in business or economics because I want to do something with it, maybe open up my own practice.

What drives you to volunteer?

Nivetha: I have the time and the position to do something helpful, and I feel like since I joined Am4teens during the Coronavirus pandemic and I couldn't go out, it was especially important. I realized that I had the time to help people, and there are so many different projects that make a difference and help different groups of people that I was interested in.

If you could describe volunteering in one word, what would it be?

Nivetha: Compassionate. A lot of volunteers have genuine empathy for other people, and know that their caring actions affect other people.

How do you continuously remain motivated to volunteer?

Nivetha: It's not something that I feel like I need to be motivated for. I need to be motivated for things such as school and waking up early, but volunteering helps me to focus on the small things and it is not a chore for me, I genuinely find it interesting.

What is a volunteer experience that you believe you will remember for the rest of your life?

Nivetha: The summer before sophomore year, I volunteered at a GT summer camp and helped the teacher. It was memorable because I discovered that I liked working with kids, helping them to uncover their talents and manage the projects with the teacher. From there, I decided to continue working with kids, and now I volunteer at a local Kumon.

How has volunteering changed your view of the world?

Nivetha: It has broadened my view of the world. There are so many organizations that raise awareness about communities worldwide that offer projects you can take part in. There are groups across the world that you can communicate with through volunteering. It makes me feel more concrete in the world.

Has volunteering allowed you to strengthen specific skills, if so what are they and how?

Nivetha: It has helped my communication in terms of knowing how and when to talk to people about certain things. For example, social media. I wasn't good at it before but now after making a lot of Instagram and blog posts for Am4teens, I know how to navigate social media and create online products.

If volunteering was a chapter in your memoir what would be the title?

Nivetha: In psychology, we learned about the stages of life. One of them is generativity vs stagnation. With generativity, you can give back and make a difference, whereas with stagnation you focus on yourself and stay where you are. So I would name it Generativity because you're taking the time to make a difference in the world that goes beyond yourself.

If you could give advice to your younger self what would you say?

Nivetha: Try not to spend too much time focusing on things that aren't worth your time. There are better things to be thinking about and doing. Our lives are all temporary, so don't stress thinking about the things that you can't control.

What advice would you give to a person new to a volunteering experience?

Nivetha: Take it step by step, try a bunch of new things. There may be things you're not skilled enough to do and you may not make changes in, but if you give it a chance, you will end up helping yourself and learning new things.

What challenges have you faced in your volunteering experience?

Nivetha: Having the fear that I don't have a good enough skill set to actually make a difference. There are so many different projects, like teaching someone from a different continent, that feel like they need a high skill set to truly accomplish.

What was your favorite volunteer experience and why?

Nivetha: I have two. First, distance learning camp. I made a video for a child where I learned new skills with video editing, and I really liked the final product, and felt like I helped people really learn. Secondly, Jovial journaling. I liked how I could vent about anything because if you're overwhelmed, typing it out can be more helpful than you would think.

How do you manage your social life and volunteering?

Nivetha: You have to plan, and allocate time for specific things. You have to figure out when you're going to do what, and not spontaneously choose to do things.

What volunteer causes do you continuously prioritize?

Nivetha: Learning projects. I have taken part in a good number of them. I did distance learning and an IGTV dance tutorial. I also just recently made a curriculum for the pythagorean theorem. I like teaching people, kids specifically. Social activism projects such as BLM and AAPI awareness are also really important to me,

What experiences do you see yourself volunteering for in the future?

Nivetha: I don't think that I’m going to continue teaching as a career, but I teach in my free time as a volunteer. Any projects in my fields of interest are what I will most likely gravitate toward.

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