Venkat Sisters, founders of NEST4US, are inspiring the youth to volunteer and become change-makers

"NEST4US is a teen-led 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to providing volunteer solutions to the

community to make the world better through kindness.

Image: Shreyaa & Esha Venkat
Image: Shreyaa & Esha Venkat

We are Shreyaa Venkat, 17, and Esha Venkat, 14. We co-founded NEST4US - a platform for giving back to the community in a multitude of ways. We have spent hundreds and thousands of hours on projects ranging from feeding the homeless and tutoring kids to helping hurricane victims and creating care packages for low-income families.

In 4 years, NEST4US has grown from a small project to an impactful organization with over 1,000 volunteers. Our goal is to create a ripple of kindness that spreads across the nation and eventually throughout the globe.

Since we were young, giving back to the community was something we did often with our family. Our mom would bring us along to volunteer at school and community events, even back in elementary school. That was when we were first introduced to the world of community service. The giving spirit has always been in our family for generations. Our parents always share many of our family’s service stories and experiences with us. Volunteering as a family is fun and we really enjoyed giving back together. We think that’s what was key: we were so passionate about volunteering right from the beginning.

We believe it’s our responsibility as humans to give back to the people who need it the most.

There are millions of people in the world that don’t have access to basic necessities such as food. This is proof that the world needs people to spark change and build a better future. So, we thought, why couldn’t that be us?

That’s the reason why we formed NEST4US as a platform for giving back to the community in a multitude of ways. We strive to promote inclusivity, inspire the community, and make the world a better place through kindness. Through our five core programs, we provide opportunities where anyone and everyone can give back in a way that interests them.

Our team of over 1,000 volunteers serves the community through our 5 programs. Through our food redistribution program, NEST Nurtures, we serve homeless people and low-income families in the Washington Metro area. Through this program, we also rescue excess food through corporate partnerships with Panera Bread and Starbucks, as well as from schools and our community. Through NEST Kares, we supply low-income families with care packages and school supply kits and through NEST Buddies, we provide “Birthdays-in-a-Box” for

underprivileged kids because we believe everybody deserves to celebrate on their special day. We also provide tutoring and mentoring services globally through our free virtual tutoring program NEST Tutors and our leadership program, NEST Inspires.

We’ve had many defining moments when we realized that the choices and actions we made

could make a difference in our future and in the lives of others. One day, after serving at a shelter in D.C, we were driving back home and just talking about how our volunteer experience was that day. We approached a traffic light and saw a man sitting on top of an old crate holding a sign that said "HUNGRY NEED FOOD". On instinct, we reached into our bag and took out a banana, granola bar, and bottle of water that we had kept in case we got hungry after volunteering.

Without hesitation, we rolled down our window and called to the man. After all, he was hungrier than we were and probably hadn’t eaten in several days. The moment he heard us, we saw his eyes glow in happiness. He ran over to the car and gasped in joy as we dropped the food and water into his rugged hands. We could tell that he had been through a lot in his life and that he needed this food more than we did. We smiled and told him that everything would get better, just have faith. As we rolled up the window, he nodded graciously at us and ran back over to his crate, stuffing his new treasure into a simple backpack that held his belongings. This is one of the reasons why we do what we do. It only takes 30 seconds to change someone’s entire day, or even life, for the better!

A few months after encountering that homeless man, we headed over to Franklin Square Park in D.C., where we distribute sandwich bags to the homeless people living there. Whenever we go serve, even if it’s just a simple meal, we’re giving them food that helps them live for another week. By serving them every week, we not only give them nourishment in the form of food, but also love and care, which gives them a sense of hope and makes them feel less alone in the world.

Image: NEST Tutors
Image: NEST Tutors

The best part is when you learn something at a young age, it tends to stick with you for the rest of your life. Getting youth and teens involved was crucial because youth are the hope of the future and have the power to change the world. So by creating NEST4US, we could share our passion for serving those in need and being kind to others and harness the power of the community to create lasting change! We really want to empower the next generation to integrate kindness, generosity, and social good into their daily routines!

Through our service, we have learned that it’s important to support our community in any way possible, and especially now with social media, to project positive messages to our peers and show them that you don’t need to have time, you should take the time to help others. We may only be 14 and 17-year old kids from a small part of the United States, but we believe that, with the vital traits of kindness and generosity, anyone, young or old, rich or poor, can make a difference.

According to us, kindness is a superpower. Our world is better when kindness becomes a lifestyle rather than a one-time action. There are so many acts of kindness people can do every day that can make a difference regardless of how big or small the action is. The best part about kindness is its ripple effect. Once you consistently spread kindness and generosity, others will follow your example and the ripple of kindness will spread across your community and eventually the entire world."

You Humanity pays respect and gratitude to Shreyaa and Esha for going above and beyond to contribute towards Humanity.

If you know someone who is working for others, please share the story

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