MILPITAS, Calif. (KGO) -- A student-run organization is proving that just because you are young, it doesn't mean you can't make a difference, even in a pandemic.
COVID-19 has created many issues for people looking to volunteer due to health and safety protocols, but these high schoolers from the South Bay are working their way around them.
The group, named SAMP after the Indian word "samp" meaning unity in Gujarati, looks to unite the community through acts of kindness and projects.
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"During a time when things are so uncertain and we don't know what the outcome is going to be, I thought that it was important that instead of pointing out each other's differences, we come together as one," SAMP President and Founder Rajvee Patel said. "Our goal is to spread and encourage unity through a variety of community oriented projects. Our most recent project is called home for the holidays. We fundraised and collected donations to make and deliver care packages to eight local homeless shelters."
In the packages were items needed such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, sanitizer amongst other essentials.
During the pandemic, SAMP also sent thank you cards to healthcare workers and set up virtual meetings with lonely elderly members of their community.
Each project is created with their mission in mind.
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"Right when the pandemic really started, Rajvee brought the idea to us and in our heads, we were all like, 'what do we do next?" SAMP Vice President of Design and Connections Lladro Valle said. "What can we do about this problem?'"
"With SAMP, we all get to see the impact that we have," SAMP Vice President of Advertising and Media Sruthi Ramesh said. "I think that's something that's very empowering and really motivating for all of us."
"We're living in an age where we have these many resources," SAMP Vice President of Advertising and Media Hridini Dave said. "We're able to fundraise, we're able to market our projects, our ideas, we're able to buy things in bulk and assemble them with the community that supports us. All these resources that we have at our hands, I think our generation realizes that we can make a real impact with them and they're not just there to sit there. We can take the resources that were given and use them to make a positive impact in our community."
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Patel hopes that SAMP can continue to grow to new projects of unity after the pandemic ends to continue to give back and make and impact in the Bay Area.
"We see that there's a problem that is not being addressed and we want to help address it. That's what encourages so many of us to step up and do something about it."
For more information, visit the SAMP website here.
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