Catching up with our Young Entrepreneurs
The Bellevue Chamber’s Young Entrepreneurs Academy starts up again on January 23, so let’s catch up with some alums that are successfully running nonprofits.
Meet Manoj Simha, Director of Finance at Cosmic Writers:
After graduating from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Simha joined forces with a fellow student, Rowana Miller, to create Cosmic Writers, a registered 501(c)3 non-profit which brings high quality creative writing education to any child, regardless of financial means or geographic restriction. A follow-up project to Miller’s “Word Camp” program, Cosmic Writers had a more global perspective.
As of fall 2022, Simha says the organization’s virtual and in-person programming has reached hundreds of children in over 30 states and 5 countries, something he is especially proud of as a first generation immigrant.
“Reading and writing stories with my elementary school librarian helped me assimilate to life in America,” Simha told Penn Today reporters. “When I heard about Word Camp and the kid’s stories, it didn’t feel foreign to me because I know what it’s like to be that kid.”
“We have developed an extensive course catalog of nearly 30 proprietary workshops responsive to the needs of our partners, and our workshops now range from one-day intensives to semester-length afterschool programs … By the time of our one-year anniversary on January 20, we’re raising $75,000 to quadruple the number of young people we reach in 2023 and we’re aiming to serve 2,000+ youth, reach all 50 states, and even more countries,” he said.
Learn more and consider donating at: www.cosmicwriters.org
Meet Ishika Binu, Founder & Chief Assistance Officer at Arts4Assistance:
In October 2018, Ishika and her sister Rithika were on their way to a Bharatanatyam class — an Indian classical dance form — with their nanny when their car was struck by another vehicle.
“I was shouting my sister's name, as she remained still and I quickly became terrified that she was dead,” Binu recalls.
Paramedics arrived and transported the Binus to the hospital, as Rithinka had been paralyzed from the chest down, having undergone multiple spinal fractures, a sternum fracture, and internal spleen bleeding.
“My sister was brought down to a shared hospital room at one point with a young girl who got airlifted from another city due an accidental body burn, and my parents had spoken with the girl's father and learned how he was very concerned, not only about his daughter's recovery, but the medical bills for the recovery,” said Binu. “In that moment, I realized that many families struggle with sustaining themselves and their families because of occurrences that were unexpected.”
Upon recovery, Binu developed Arts4Assistance to help with said medical expenses for those who cannot afford it. Growing up painting, singing, and dancing, she wanted to use her talents to support others: Both by giving artists a venue to showcase their talent, and funding important medical projects. Currently, the organization is raising money to fund new ambulance services in remote areas.
“It's a two sided benefit: Uplift artists, and impact a major cause.”
Learn more and consider donating at: https://a4a.world/