We had the good fortune of connecting with Shraavya Pydisetti and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Shraavya, how did you come up with the idea for your business?
During the COVID-19 pandemic, I discovered that we had to provide for those who face hardships and are less fortunate. I realized that during difficult and uncertain times, we are blessed to have food on the table and a roof over our heads. However, others are not as fortunate. It is certainly our duty as high-schoolers to understand and contemplate the very fact that we have the ability to create a positive impact and ensure a healthy result in our community and for others. We know that making a difference is possible, and we know that we are the ones that can achieve it. With this in mind, I began this non-profit, Project Querencia, to give students a platform to address the issues that they feel are most important in the community and world today and to work together to make a bigger impact. We began as a team of 6 students and have now reached 70 members in this short year and worked to deliver over 2000 care packages for essential workers and those in need and completed 36 projects to help the community!

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
The members of Project Querencia work to build a better community through various service initiatives. We strive to make a difference by taking a look at problems we face, finding solutions and taking action. Our team uses dedication and passion as a guide to make a lasting impact. Our efforts include organizing events, fundraisers and activities to raise/provide money for various needs and causes. Our members are encouraged to take matters into their own hands by tackling issues that are most relevant to them and developing service initiatives to solve them which sets us apart from other non-profits because of its member orientation. Giving back to our community is our main goal, and we do this by creating various service opportunities that are purposeful and beneficial! I strongly believe that change starts with us, and we’re the leaders of tomorrow. You shouldn’t wait around for someone else. That’s how you make the community and world better.Like most activities are, starting a non-profit is far from easy. Being a student, beginning and working to invoke a change is a difficult task especially because of the learning process. I had to learn that not everyone is going to like the way you lead and every person is going to have a different opinion about the projects and operations that take place. We’ve definitely had a big share of making mistakes which have lead to a decent amount of failed projects but I’m glad that we had these failures because I was able to figure out what qualities are associated with good leadership. The biggest one is patience…You have to be patient with the people you’re working with and when you’re starting it, it can get really frustrating. No matter what you’re doing, keep doing it, it’ll all pay off in the end. You have to be patient with all the issues and remember why you started it, and make sure your mission is clear. With every hurdle, we have come off stronger, made bigger differences, and left a lasting impact on the community around us and I am absolutely amazed by my team and so proud of everything we’ve accomplished. I want everyone to know that making a change is not easy and what looks perfect sometimes really isn’t. It takes hard work, perseverance, and a heart for service to make a difference and we’re doing just that!

Some of the projects that we have already lead include:

– the creation and distribution of 2000+ care packages for frontline workers (doctors, teachers, police and fire departments) and others in need (old age homes, ER workers, etc.)

– the initiation of a monthly “talk about an issue” video/post project so students have a chance to talk about various issues that they are passionate about(this week it was suicide prevention)

– A crossing guard initiative held within neighborhoods ensures a safe environment for children at play while giving high schoolers the chance to educate them about various safety laws.

– A current card making project is taking place to provide cancer patients and oncologists appreciation (we’re making 700 of them at the moment!)

– To assist the special education department, we donated several essential school – supplies to CHS & CHS9.

– A tutoring service was initiated by our team of highly qualified high school students to bring in funds for the organization, while also providing an educational service to help children succeed.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
This organization has achieved such amazing things, impacted so many lives, and has taken such a strong initiative towards really making a change. This wouldn’t have been possible without my amazing leadership team, especially my best friend and vice-president, Sanjitha Sreemushta for her constant love and support through every endeavor. I would also like to thank my officers : Rushil Vankamamidi, Mihira Kada, Revant Kanakamedala, and Gautam Rao as well as my other members. They have worked so hard to make every project a major success and devoted their time selflessly to help those in need as well as just being present for our team whenever we’ve needed it even on short notices. Each and every one of them has poured their heart into not just volunteering but discovering themselves as people and guiding one another and I’m so lucky to have this amazing Project Querencia family! Im also especially grateful for my parents especially my mom for their constant support in running this organization because they have been there every step of the way in both the failures and successes!

Website: projectquerencia.org

Instagram: project.querencia

Twitter: ProjectQuerenc1

Facebook: projectquerencia

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