First off, if you're here and reading this letter right now, thank you. I appreciate you taking the time out of your day to learn about me and why I do what I do.
If you don't know me, my name is Ila Prabhuram, pronounced 'ee-la pruh-boo-rom.' I know, a mouthful, right? South Indians typically have long names, and I'm no exception. I'm a student at Etowah High School and the founder/CEO of College Pathway. I'm honestly just a normal high school student with a love of service. If you take away one thing from this letter, I want you to know that I LOVE doing what I do.
I started College Pathway after I was exposed to the financially-struggling individuals hidden among the average members of my community. I realized the privilege that I had.
I realized how lucky I was to be getting certain opportunities that other kids in my community couldn't even dream of. I always thought college was something that was bound to happen in my future, regardless of scholarships or not. I thought that the majority of the students in my school would consider college or technical school an option for their future. Right? Well, no. I was not right.
33% of my high school's student population is classified as 'economically-disadvantaged.' I was shocked to learn that for some students, the only hot showers they get are at school. That was, well, shocking. Why were other students having to go through this? Why was I the 'lucky' one?
I honestly didn't know. And I struggled with swallowing the 'guilt' that came with my privilege. I then decided that I wanted to do something about it. I wanted to help low-income students realize that they, too, can have a quality education like other students. Education is something that I value immensely, and to see others not receive the same opportunities I receive really makes me question: why aren't we doing anything about this?
Long story short, College Pathway was born. It originally was a small fundraiser that I wanted to do and then donate the proceeds to a larger organization, but then I stopped and thought to myself: "Why don't I do something bigger?" And thus came the realization of starting my own nonprofit.
I'm not exaggerating when I say that it was a lot of work. Initially, I wanted to give up several times. As an eighth grader, I felt overwhelmed with balancing school, sports, friends, and now a nonprofit! I wasn't the most prepared for the new workload that I was about to take on. But, as you can see, it all paid off- because College Pathway is my dream! Looking back, it's funny to how I only imagine College Pathway to go so far, and how I now have much bigger plans for College Pathway in the future.
By performing an act of kindness and starting College Pathway, I want to inspire others to create change in their community and perform acts of kindness as well. In this, we are creating a positive feedback loop, with our community being the beneficiary. Because everyone is a change-maker, and we all have so much potential to do great things!
Well, here we are- almost at the end of this letter. This was a lot to read, but I felt this was the best way to get my message across to you as to why I do what I do.
My name is Ila Prabhuram, I am a student at Etowah High School, founder of College Pathway, and I love doing what I do.
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College Pathway is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Woodstock, Georgia that is filed with the International Revenue Service (EIN Number is 84-3262670). All donations are tax-deductible to the full extent allowable under IRS regulations. We rely on corporate sponsors and individual donors to fund our programs and our team is entirely volunteer-based.