THE INVALUABLE EXPERIENCE

Community service means taking part in something that is bigger than your day-to-day life. So often we get caught up in our own problems that we forget about the people around us. We are all living in this world together. So why not take charge and responsibility to make our community the best it can be? Especially as a young adult it’s important to partake in service activities . Without it we wouldn’t realize the strong quality of life, as volunteering and helping others is the core of a structured and successful society. No one has made it through life without another’s help.

Shooting Stars foundation was first introduced to me by Latha Narayanan in my freshman year of high school. The foundation’s cause really resonated within me. Education is one of the most powerful weapons in the world. It is a human right with the immense power to transform. My parents moved from their native land to help me receive a better education, for they understood it’s value to the point of emigrating away from family, across the world to a foreign country. Shooting Stars really embodies this value and actively pursues the right to education for students all over the world.

Deciding to take part in this organization and its influential endeavors has proven to be one of the best decisions I have made.  When I first started off as a shadow officer I found myself welcomed by enthusiastic and motivated officers and parents. Seeing the passion and hard work of people with varied backgrounds, yet driven by the same cause contributing to the foundation, made me want to become a part of this organization. Starting off as a treasurer, I not only handled money but learned some important skills. I wrote my first check and managed a balance sheet, tasks I had never done before. These simple experiences really helped me develop skills that I would use later on in my life. The following year I served as the President of the foundation. It was a huge role to fulfill. I’m usually one to stand in the background and help others rather than lead a huge team of volunteers. It was definitely a challenge for me, but I stepped up and took the challenge. In return, it really grew into a learning experience. Helping manage 18 locations and coordinating events amongst various participants definitely put my abilities to the test. My journey was nowhere near perfect, however the mistakes along the way became lessons I grew from. Having a supporting team of parents and fellow volunteers really helped bring the foundation to a full circle.

As cliche as it sound, experiences create opportunities and skill. My experience in this foundation was truly something I could translate into my everyday life. It even helped me open doors to further opportunities. This summer I was able to gain a job as an instructor for a special needs camp. I employed the skills I learned throughout my journey with Shooting Stars: patience, teamwork, creativity, and marketing . By the end of the summer I was working with five kids, the most that any newly hired employee had managed, and I was doing well in a professional working environment! So I encourage everyone who wants to or is part of Shooting Stars to give a hundred and ten percent in all of their work . By helping others you will realize that you are gifted with the invaluable opportunity to change the world for the better.

 

Sauntharya Manikandan

President – 2016

 

The Inside Experience

Being a director for a foundation as effective and amazing as the Shooting Stars Foundation has been no easy task. When I first signed up to be a director for Atlanta, I never foresaw the tremendous responsibility and effort it would take to accomplish simple tasks, such as finding a location for the camp and getting students, tasks that often go overlooked in the long run.  We often spend hours talking to tutoring centers to donate their centers for this camp and emailing numerous elementary school administers to get the camp flyers in school newsletters. However, the first day of that camp was the most rewarding experience ever. Seeing our hard work at play and the smiling faces of the students makes it all worth it.

Personally, this year’s camp was more of a rewarding experience for me since it was my first year actually getting to tutor the kids (last year I was the behind the scenes puppeteer). I tutored the kids on Speech skills, which was a new avenue for the camp. Throughout the week we had a great time writing speeches out with the students and playing silly impromptu speech games. At the end of the week, watching these kids perform the speeches for their parents with the confidence and skills we rehearsed swelled me with pride.
Although the task may not be easy, I love every minute of conducting this camp because there really is no better feeling than that of helping others.
Meena Chetty
Atlanta Location Director

One Shot Victory – Vienna Camp a Success

          Overall this was a very rewarding experience with lots of challenges and difficulties to overcome. The challenges started as early as the marketing. At first, it was difficult to get responses for the e-mails we sent. But after several follow up emails, we were able to get a substantial amount of participants. After we got everything situated, I also had to contact potential tutors. However, this step was relatively easy as there was prior interest to tutoring amongst them. The camp itself proved to be surprisingly greuling. There was never a moment of break – something always had to be done, from correcting to answering kids questions. Even with three other helpers, we all had our “hands tied”. Although this ended up to be quite a challenge, I am very glad I chose to take it. I learned a lot about tutoring and organization. I picked up skills from recognizing students abilities to individualizing concepts for more efficient results. It was a pleasure working with the Shooting Stars foundation and I hope to do it again next year.

Amrith Kumaar                                                                                                                                             Vienna Location Director

Feedback from a parent to a Shooting Stars Volunteer

This is personal feedback from a parent, of a student enrolled for our Shooting Stars Camp, to a Location Director, Amrita, of the Acton location Camp. We are proud to have made such an impact..
Hello Amrita,

I always feel that the comments are important to give a person who puts in lots of efforts and hard work .THERE IS MAGIC IN THE CAMP!

I will be very frank with my comments.
On the first day of the camp on the 25th of February, my daughter, Isha attended the camp and I picked her up early for her activity and it was a usual camp.

I asked her how was the camp and she said it was good.

From the day 2 Of the camp, she came back so happy and with so much energy.

I am putting the comments in her words
“Mommy I love….Shooting stars. I love working with all the akka’s”. (Akka means sister in Telugu)
“When is my next class mommy? I can’t wait to go to the class.”
This is truly what she has been saying from day 2 until yesterday.

Frankly day 2 was hectic for her.
From school we came to the camp  immediately at 6:30, and it ended and at 6:45; she had “DI ” practice sessions. She went there and came back home at 8:30PM.

Even though it was a hectic day for her, it was a happy day for her and she keeps mentioning to me that she enjoyed the camp.

She says it so many times, I felt I had to mention this to you Amrita.

Your planning, your organizing and hard work are amazing and the most important thing is you are able to keep the little children focused with the kind of program’s you are doing in the camp.

When a child comes up with their own comments without any prompting from a parent, those are the true comments.

Isha is really really enjoying the camp!!!
She says I will practice at home too and she herself does math on the paper with her own numbers and she is solving it.😀

I really appreciate the effort by you and your team.
Keep up the good work!!!

Thank you for taking an effort to call me and I could register at the last minute!

Last but not the least please thank the volunteers who are organizing this camp as a team and please thank the parent volunteers too on our behalf.

Take care and
Have a nice day Kanna!
God Bless You!!!

Bye
Purnima Aunty
(Isha’s mom)

“Trust in Education” motivates officers of Shooting Stars Foundation

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Often, many are unaware of the discrimination and difficulties women face around the world. In numerous countries they are prevented from seeking education and pursuing their goals; instead, they are forced to serve their life as a humble house-wife. One of such countries, is Afghanistan. In order to enhance education for underprivileged students around the world, Budd McKenzie founded Trust in Education, a nonprofit organization which helps students in Afghanistan understand that virtue and education is essential for success.

Trust in Education is an organization that has been helping the students of Afghanistan for the past twelve years. Starting as a small school of about 120 students, this organization has now grown to support many schools in Kabul and six other villages. Mr. McKenzie welcomes and encourages the support of anyone who is passionate about spreading educational opportunities and making a difference. Just as many in the United States of America have contributed to help the people of Nepal after the devastating Earthquake, many are helping the students of Afghanistan by collecting school materials and necessary supplies and sending them over to that country.

Shooting Stars Foundation, a local nonprofit organization, is also helping this noble cause by donating a percentage of the money earned from it’s annual test preparation camp to Trust in Education. After having talked to Trust in Education, the high school students of Shooting Stars Foundation had realized how much they had taken education for granted. The discussion with Mr. McKenzie was truly eye-opening and has motivated these high school students to continue working hard and make the most of their educational opportunities.

 

 

 

 

Shruthi Somasundaram                                                                                                                                 Curriculum Officer – 2016

A fulfilling marketing event at Lake Elizabeth !

There could not have been a better place to market Shooting Stars Camp. The event was FILLED with elementary school children along with their parents, meaning that there was a plethora of potential customers! Sauntharya and I set up the table very close to the entrance pathway of the event, so that as soon as people registered for the event they would walk up and see our booth. At first we stayed at the booth, hoping that people would stop by and we could explain to them. It worked for a while, but after the cultural events started, people were more focused on that rather than the booths. Sauntharya and I then walked around together, focusing on groups of parents rather than individuals at first (this way we could reach more people quicker). Fayaz joined us for a short wile , as we inculcated him into the marketing spree. Overall parents were very impressed with the camp, and seemed very interested with the common core group + public speaking package. Sauntharya and I got about 55 emails  and dished out 100+ flyers in our 2.5 hour shift, and Privi, Divya and Shruthi got more during their next shift. It was during the second shift that there was more of a crowd, and I’m sure that Privi, Divya and Shruthi did a great job!
Overall a very successful marketing day, and we should definitely advertise at this event in following years.
Great job everyone 🙂
Sanjana Rajesh
Vice President – 2016

SHOOTING STARS FOUNDATION – Evergreen, San Jose

Hi, I’m Trisha and I’ve taken up the role of Location Director of the San Jose Evergreen branch, for the past two years; It has been a great experience. Our Foundation recently donated a small portion of the funds we raised to the Evergreen School District; I was quite happy to see the post by the San Jose, Evergreen School District, honouring our simple act of giving back to the community. Being a part of the Shooting Stars Foundation and giving back to the community brought me a sense of fulfilment and achievement. I am sincerely looking forward in conducting my third year of the Test Prep Camp this Spring Break!

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Shooting Stars Foundation is an organization which was originated in 2009 and was run by FUSD high school students in Fremont. With the arrival and enduring spirit of high school volunteers willing to help the younger students excel at the new Common Core concepts, Shooting Stars successfully held Spring Break Academic Boot Camp Tutoring Sessions in several California locations over the Spring Breaks of consecutive years.

We received a great turnout with about two hundred 2nd – 6th graders participating in our various locations of the camp. Implementing the uprising common core standards and offering test-taking strategies helped participants hone and enhance their skills in English Language Arts and Math. Parents enjoyed the innovative idea of the one-on-one tutoring as their children got hands on experience and worked with a designated high school tutor throughout the week.

Taking the role of being Location Director of Evergreen, San Jose was a rewarding experience. I am very proud to be a part of this good cause and helping on behalf of my work, and this organization to raise funds to support Fremont Unified School District as well as to offer tuition fees for a few students around the world. This year, camp fees were waived for students as a way to provide financial assistance to the socio-economically challenged students. We are pleased to announce that this year, The Shooting Stars Foundation has dispersed their Academic Boot Camp throughout the nation in twenty different locations. I look forward to expand on this experience in the upcoming 2016 Boot Camp.

 

Trisha Parthasarathi                                                                                                                                       San Jose  Location Director