Meet Daily Point of Light Award honoree Maya and Arjun Govindaraj. Read their story and nominate an outstanding volunteer or family as a Daily Point of Light.
Arjun and Maya Govindaraj say they knew millions were being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and wanted to help in some way. “Even the littlest amount of help can go a long way,” says 14-year-old Arjun, who describes seeing long lines of people waiting at food banks in their community when the pandemic caused job losses and the closure of many important resources.
Launching Mission BE A Resource, Arjun and twin sister Maya, both 8th graders in Sugar Land, Texas, are helping children in need. Supporting food security, literacy and educational initiatives, Maya and Arjun have been joined by classmates, all volunteers aged 13 and under, as they unite amid a worldwide crisis to serve others.
What inspires you to volunteer?
Maya: No matter what your age, there are many ways to give back. Not every kid our age likes volunteering. I’m inspired to volunteer and hope other kids will as well.
Describe your volunteerism with Mission BE A Resource.
Arjun: My sister and I are both co-founders, I serve as president and Maya is vice president. We first started out as a club, and many friends and families donated money for us to help children in need. We are now a non-profit organization, and offer support through donations, grants and by volunteering our time. We’ve volunteered at everything from charity events to food banks, toy and book drives, to making care packages for cancer patients. We’ll stock up on items like school supplies, clothes and food and will donate those items to Rainbow Rooms, dedicated to serving the critical needs of abused and neglected children and adults. We’ve donated thousands of dollars worth of items thus far and have volunteered at organizations including Second Mile, Roserich Helping Hands, Teachers Aid at Houston Food Bank, Fort Bend Rainbow Room, Kids’ Meals, India House Houston, BEAR and Child Advocates of Fort Bend.
Share one personal story with me from your volunteerism.
Arjun: We were delivering food to a big line of dozens of cars waiting for us at an event. As we were steering shopping carts up to cars, a man approached us and said, “God bless you.” That made us feel really, really good. Volunteering makes me feel a bunch of empathy and compassion towards others. This experience just makes me want to do more, work harder and work longer.
Why do you think it’s important for others to give back?
Maya: Kids who go to good schools realize they’re privileged. When you see other kids that don’t have as much, and need food and clothes, that’s when you realize why it’s so important to give to others.
What’s been the most rewarding part of your service?
Arjun: The happiness is rewarding. Service really gives us a lot of drive to volunteer, and we end up volunteering a lot more because of that happiness. Instead of playing video games and sitting alone, me and my friends will go to the food bank and have fun volunteering.
In one word, what does volunteering mean to you?
Maya: Service. We’re helping children who are abused and giving to others who don’t have as much.
When you’re not busy with school or volunteering, what do you do for fun?
Maya: I play tennis tournaments on the weekend. I also play piano and enjoy drawing.
Arjun: I usually play tennis and soccer. I also play piano like my sister and also play the drums.
What does the future of your volunteerism look like?
Arjun: I hope to be able to do more and bigger projects like Operation Christmas Child. I want to buy enough supplies and fill boxes for children all over the world.
How can readers help?
We rely on donations to support children in need. Please visit our fundraising page for more information about how you can give back.
Do you want to make a difference in your community like Maya and Arjun Govindaraj? Find local volunteer opportunities.