“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”
― Winston S. Churchill
This would be the perfect quote to describe the entire process of getting the VTS IAE club approved. As many may assume from the idea of just starting a club to the part where you actually put effort into making it happen, it wasn’t very straightforward. At first, when we went to present our club idea to the Vice Principal, who controls all clubs and approvals, he was very skeptical of the concept and asked a lot more questions. I found it hard to answer some of these questions so instead, I gave responses such as, “We are in the process of figuring that out,” or, “That’s a great question I haven't thought about that, maybe I can get back to you,” this allowed the other person to feel like you were open to their criticism and questions as well. Later in June of 2022, we finally received an email from the Vice Principal saying that our club was approved but we could only start as an official club from the next school year. The relief at that moment was indescribable.
We immediately started to work on finding places we can volunteer as a group and recruit members who are interested in the club. Our first official event was at the Open Door Outreach Center. We sorted and folded clothing donations that the center received to go onto the shelves of their thrift store. This was a fun event where we bonded with each other and learned how future events that we would have to host may run. By the time the new school year started, we had already accomplished several events such as Troy Nature Center Cleanup, Rouge Park Cleanup, and Gardening help at the Balaji Temple. We also had some remote events that some people participated in such as the Annual Walkathon and the Greeting Cards Project. With so much already done, we had a good idea of how this club may run and the responsibilities that came with setting up events.
As soon as the school year started, however, we again faced some struggles as the Vice Principal began to have second thoughts about the club. It took us a lot of convincing once again and persistence in order for our club to be where it is today. Our stall at the club fair was a huge hit. We got 60 more students to join during our club fair and many kids were very enthusiastic about participating in possible activities that we had planned for the new school year. With the first official club meeting on September 8th, for VTS IAE, we started out with around 75 total members.
All of this wouldn’t have been possible without a lot of people who stood by my side and helped me through the process. I would like to thank the Detroit Youth Board Director, Priya Jaisankar for guiding me through the entire process, my parents for keep encouraging me to try and accomplish my goals, my friends who were always supportive, and of course the school administration which approved of this club but also made me think about all the different ways I can improve my club and make sure it's successful.
We have had various volunteer events that IAE volunteers have attended during the school year such as Rochester Community Schools 5K Run, Cottage Painting Child Welfare Agency Volunteering, Essential Workers Project, and the Balabharathi Soup Kitchen. After each event volunteers got an opportunity to reflect upon their experiences and post them on Facebook and Instagram. Volunteers seemed to enjoy the Balbharati Soup Kitchen the most as we all worked together to feed 120 kids peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
Not only did we do various events in this short period of time but we were also able to establish a 2022-2023 board for our club. The club elections ran from September 13th- 21st and we were successfully able to make a strong board. Thank you so much to everyone who ran for the board and showed their interest in taking a leadership role for this club. Here is our 2022-2023 board!
● President- Anvika Perumalla
● Vice President- Tarun Rajesh
● Secretary- Rahul Perala
● Activity Director- Christeena Boddakayala
● Communication Lead- Sairaaga Perala
● Google Classroom Manager- Venkata Nemani
Once again, congratulations to our board, and we’re looking to create a great school year full of volunteering opportunities! As a board and club some things that we want to accomplish include establishing a connection with various organizations so we can go back and volunteer with them periodically. We also hope to create as many opportunities as possible so that each club member can actively participate in the club, whether through in-person events or remote events we conduct at school. We have a lot planned and are excited to see what we can accomplish this school year! This is just the beginning, and it's only going to get better from here.
Article Written By: Anvika Perumalla
Published By: Nandini Cheemalamarri