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GIVING BACK Puneetha Goli, a junior at The Village School, participated in The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Student of the Year campaign in 2016 (picture is from that year) and has volunteered for LLS ever since.
I have been taught the importance of giving back to my community. From sorting and packing foods at the Houston Food Bank to helping out in a senior residential center, I have always tried my best to make a change. I wanted to do more.
The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) is the world’s largest nonprofit voluntary health agency dedicated to fighting blood cancers. After learning about the devastating effect that blood cancer has on lives around the world, taking a life nearly every nine minutes (close to 160 victims per day), I was drawn to LLS’s mission to aid in “curing blood cancers and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.” I wanted to raise funds, but I didn’t know how and where to start, and that’s when I came across LLS’s “Student of the Year” campaign.
A seven-week philanthropic leadership development program, the Student of the Year campaign allows high schoolers to take part in a fundraising competition, with the money going towards blood-cancer research. Through the program, I was taught crucial professional skills, including entrepreneurship and project management, that prepared me to co-lead a fundraising campaign with my brother, Pavithr Goli, also a junior at The Village School.
With the guidance of LLS, we rallied support from friends and families by sending emails and letters to our contacts, organizing successful events, including a free-dress day in my school, and securing valuable auction items, such as an Astros baseball signed by pitcher Dallas Keuchel.
This year is my third with the organization, and although I’m no longer a candidate for the Student of the Year competition, I plan on serving on the Leadership Committee and guiding other students like me to learn as much as I did, while truly making a difference in society.
Editor’s note: Applications for the 2018-19 Student of the Year campaign are open; to apply, see www.studentseries.org.
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