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Special Report

Project RISE

Alex Shieh

Numerous homeless shelters in downtown San Jose are filled with underprivileged children eager to learn. However, they often lack the resources to do so. With this reality in mind, Project RISE was created. Project RISE, organized by junior Aishwarya Laddha and junior Jehannaz Dastoor, is a Cupertino FBLA Community Service Project partnered with Family Supportive Housing Shelter that aims to provide service, awareness, and financial aid to homeless shelters.

Said Dastoor, “An important thing about this project is that it really give kids the chance in our affluent community to reach out to people in communities that are not as fortunate as ours. It’s really an eye-opening experience for both sides.”

On Thursday, Dec. 10th, Laddha, Dastoor, and three other students traveled for the third time this year to a homeless shelter in downtown San Jose. There, they exposed the children to science through several lessons and experiments, hoping to educate and inspire. Being teachers for a group of young children seemed simple at first, but the students soon realized that it was a strenuous task. Not only did they have to dedicate a significant amount of time to teaching, but also patiently deal with the energetic group of children.

 ”I think it’s difficult because they’re elementary school kids. They don’t have a high attention span [...] so it’s hard to create a lesson where they’re going to want to do whatever we’re trying to teach them,” said junior Ananya Venkatesh, one of the student teachers and student in charge of lesson planning. 

Driven to provide these underprivileged children with an unforgettable learning opportunity, these CHS students were determined to formulate lesson plans for each visit. The entire process may have been exhausting, but the effort paid off in the end. 

“It was just very rewarding because the kids got so excited whenever we started a lesson. And once we started an experiment, everyone got so into it,” sophomore Binaisha Dastoor, another one of the student teachers, said, “ At the same time, [this project] made me become more aware of what underprivileged children are going through.”

Added Jehannaz Dastoor, “One thing I definitely learned is that children are our society’s most valuable resource. They’re so incredibly enthusiastic and eager to learn. I feel like if every single child is given the opportunity and resources, every one of them would be able to succeed and pursue their goals.”

In addition to the service aspect where the students created life-skill workshops that taught the students valuable skills, Project RISE also involves awareness and fundraising.  This part of the project was done through holiday caroling on December 23rd. In addition, there will be a Needs-Based drive where students can donate blankets, comforters, and pillowcases in January. Currently, Project RISE is still in its early stages. But while it may seem small and insignificant right now, its impacts will undoubtedly be remarkable in the future.