Student-led organization committed to continued service

Josie Lorenz | The Chronicle

Sophomore Rishika Jeyaprakash and her sister Joshika Jeyaprakash depicted sharing Little Helpers’ mission at an activities fair

Little Helpers are making big impacts.

Sophomore Rishika Jeyaprakash has continued serving her community for the last seven years through Little Helpers, a non-profit organization she founded in the third grade. Little Helpers focuses on giving back to the community through monthly projects such as food drives and donations to small businesses.

The idea of the organization sparked when Jeyaprakash had watched the news and seen headlines discussing war and violence. She noticed the positivity that was shown when people gave back to those who were in need. She was inspired by thoseacts of kindness and charity. Wanting to amplify the kindness she had noticed, Jeyaprakash said she decided to create Little Helpers with a mindset of making a positive impact on the world around her.

“As a kid, I was able to see both the positives and negatives in the world,” Jeyaprakash said. “ I [realized] that the positivity was able to overshadow the negative. I wanted to do something to show the positive.”

With the help of social media, as well as aid from friends and family, Jeyaprakash said that Little Helpers has been able to do monthly service projects for nearly the last seven years. Jeyaprakash and her team collaborate to find causes, big or small.

“All the way from 2015 all the way up till COVID, [we] did a project every single month,” Jeyaprakash said. “[The project goals go] all the way from donations for school supplies, volunteering at places, or even something small like making blankets, or just something small like giving a compliment to someone.”

These project goals have been accomplished thanks to the dedicated work of volunteers, some of which are as young as three years old. Jeyaprakash is grateful that she could show that anyone, at any age can make a difference.

“Over time, the number of youth volunteers we were able to encompass grew and grew,” Jeyaprakash said. “We were able to have so many youth volunteers for projects just because everyone wanted to be inspired and [wanted]to give back.”

Jeyaprakash has been able to continue Little Helpers due to the support of her community and the lasting joy given by those she helps such as local children, even despite being a full-time student. In 2015, the organization had the opportunity to collect toys to give children in hospitals, and Jeyaprakash’s spirits were lifted by “thank you” notes and by the smiles of children, parents, and doctors.

“It’s always been the motivation that I’ve been receiving, whether it be from the people I help or other people that have always supported me, that kept this [initiative] going,” Jeyaprakash said. “My parents have always been extremely supportive, along with the school. They’ve always pushed me to continue giving back.”

While Jeyaprakash remains busy with Little Helpers, she also faces burnout, a growing problem in high schoolers. However, Jeyaprakash makes sure to prioritize Little Helpers and continues to make time for school as well as her herself without letting those she helps down.

Planning for the future, Jeyaprakash doesn’t plan on leaving Little Helpers in her past. She considers Little Helpers a big piece of her and her daily life. As she continues her education and plans to attend college in the future, she said she wants to continue the organization and help more people, no matter where she is or what shes pursuing.

“Once college arises, I will continue Little Helpers because it’s always going to be a part of me,” Jeyaprakash said. “And although I won’t be here physically to help out with the kids, I’ll always be there whether it be online [or in-person].”

While the non-profit has continued to work hard to make their mark, many continue to question their ability to make a difference because of their age. Jeyaprakash has made a point to prove that anyone can make a difference and believes that others should see that too.

“As a kid, people don’t tend to take you seriously no matter the number of things that you’ve done or whatever you’ve accomplished,” Jeyaprakash said. “I think it is time that people do take us seriously.”
Jeyaprakash is proud of all she and Little Helpers have been able to accomplish, no matter their age. She hopes the future has even greater things in store and that she can make a positive impact on her community and those in it. Throughout their time collecting donations, Jeyaprakash her organization have raised $18,000 and plan on continuing their progress for years to come.

“Our motto is to give back and spread kindness,” Jeyaprakash said. “We want to keep doing that forever and continue inspiring kids so that they also have a way to give back.”

Photo contributed by Rishika Jeyaprakash