A Teenager’s Remarkable Contribution to Care and Community Service

Daily Point of Light # 7809 May 10, 2024

Meet Daily Point of Light Award honoree Kali Burma. Read her story, and nominate an outstanding volunteer or family as a Daily Point of Light.

At just 17 years old, Kali Burma’s commitment to community service is remarkable. Over the past year, Kali has dedicated countless hours to a variety of volunteer activities, profoundly impacting her community and the lives of many individuals in need. Kali’s volunteering spans a broad spectrum of activities, each contributing significantly to her community.

Her work at The Banquet is particularly notable, where she serves meals to over 100 unhoused individuals, ensuring those less fortunate receive warm, nutritious meals. Beyond serving meals, Kali has taken initiative to volunteer in critical health-related services. She has been instrumental in recruiting volunteers for blood drives, a vital community service, while also donating blood herself, impacting countless lives.

Additionally, Kali’s regular involvement with Feeding South Dakota highlights her commitment to combating hunger. By packing boxes of food, she helps ensure that hundreds, if not thousands, of families receive essential sustenance. Her volunteerism extends further into her community through the creation of tie blankets for hospice patients and assembling goody bags for dialysis patients, providing comfort and care to those facing significant health challenges.

One of Kali’s most significant volunteer roles is within the educational sector. She spends considerable time in a preschool classroom at her elementary school, where she supports young children in their early education. Her duties are comprehensive, from assisting with lessons and managing the classroom to ensuring the safety and well-being of the students as they navigate their school day.

Kali’s volunteerism doesn’t stop at direct service. She also engages in fundraising and awareness activities, such as organizing a clothing drive that successfully raised over $2,000 for a local food pantry. Her efforts during the holiday season, where she organizes gifts for seniors to boost their mental health, show her dedication to making a difference in every possible way.
Read on to find out more about Kali’s journey and hopes for the future.

Kali Burma is dedicated to service in her community through a variety of causes.

Tell us about your volunteer role.

For some things, I go to the classroom in preschool – I go there four times a day – and help them with reading, teaching them lessons, helping with lunch and helping the students one-on-one.

What inspired you to get started with this initiative?

I knew I wanted to go into something with children since I always liked kids. What happened was my principal asked if I wanted to go in and help in the preschool. I said, “Sure!” There are 13 kids in this preschool, with two sets of twins, so they needed help.

What inspires you to volunteer?

Knowing I can help people who need help is inspiring.

What are your long-term plans or goals?

I think I want to open a daycare in Iroquois. There’s a very high need here, because there aren’t many childcare centers.

What’s been the most rewarding part of your work?

The kids talking to me, and being so excited to see me and give me hugs. And just the happiness – both from the kids and myself – that comes with volunteering.

What have you learned through your experiences as a volunteer?

I’ve learned that there are many different kinds of kids. Some are really happy. Some get sad. There are lots of emotions! When they’re sad, I talk to them and ask if there’s anything I can do to help them feel better. When they’re happy, I adjust my mood to match their happiness.

Why is it important for others to get involved with causes they care about?

Because then they can make a true difference. If they care about something deeply, they can help toward that cause.

Any advice for people who want to start volunteering?

Just start small. You can get bigger as time goes on. See if you like what you’re doing and go from there.

What do you want people to learn from your story?

Just go for it! Try new things.

Do you want to make a difference in your community like Kali? Find local volunteer opportunities.

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