Leland High School, San Jose: February 2019 Student and Parent Volunteer Work


Leland High School San Jose seniors Anokhi Mehta, Bhargavi Garimella, Isha Savant, and Anupama Shivakumar chose to spend their Presidents’ Week vacation in February working with their parents Neeta and Sandilya Garimella, Mamtah Mehta and Anupama’s mother Subha. Anupama had traveled last February during break with her father Shiva and wanted her mother to experience volunteer work with our students as well. Founders Jim and Denise DeLong worked with them on projects that the four Leland seniors developed.

We all had a really wonderful time working together. We all simply enjoyed being with each other in a truly special place with truly special students and families. During a planning session before the trip, Anupama shared what had made her previous February work so great: she loved just sitting on a bench outside the classroom waiting for students to come to her to try to talk and find out as much as they could about her. Their open curiosity and delight in just being with her was priceless—to experience that again—that’s a big reason why she returned and brought her mom.

These are the projects the Leland seniors worked on with our students:

  • Anokhi Mehta: Hands-on Art lessons involving origami and creation of a village landscape mural painted in sections by all art students. Click here to find out more.

  • Bhargavi Garimella: Girl Empowerment involving female puberty lessons and open small group discussion of challenges growing as a village girl. Click here to find out more.

  • Anupama Shivakumar: basic conversational English lessons. Anupama’s goal was to give students the tools to converse with her on a deeper level. Click here to find out more.

  • Isha Savant: Isha taught many hands-on science/health experiments: anti-smoking demonstrations, proper hand-washing techniques using Germ-Glow, proper toothbrushing techniques using disclosing tablets, the egg-in-Coke experiment showing Coke’s erosive effects, the Coke and Mentos chemistry experiment to teach why this state change occurs, making RAFT (Resource Area for Teachers) Roller Racers to demonstrate change from potential energy, RAFT polymer water beads to demo the chemistry behind water absorption, and “foldscopes”, very low cost microscopes that students used to examine specimens found outside their classroom. Click here to find out more.