Veeraj Rangnekar selected as a Youth Service America (YSA) Everyday Young Hero
Veeraj Rangnekar (17, Johns Creek, GA) has been an avid tennis player since age 5. His aptitude for tennis combined with good mentoring by his coaches helped nurture his skills over the years. After learning about youth in foster care and their day-to-day struggle, he expressed keen interest in helping youth who are underprivileged by sharing his love for tennis with them by conducting 6-week tennis camps. He teamed up and approached leadership at Bald Ridge Lodge, a group home for teenage boys, and offered to host a tennis camp for their residents. This experience led Veeraj to start a non-profit, Inspiring Together Inc,
As the co-founder of Inspiring Together Inc, Veeraj wants to leverage the youth in the community to provide youth in foster care living in surrounding counties opportunities to participate in extracurricular activities. Veeraj feels that providing these extracurricular activities will help youth in foster care feel connected and aligned with their peers and improve their academic achievement. Through these interactions, Veeraj plans to promote peer-to-peer role models for the foster youth so they are inspired and can reach their full potential success in life. He feels with the peer to peer mentor model, the boys are more likely to make positive choices and have enhanced self-esteem and self-confidence, as well as improved behavior and interpersonal skills.
Veeraj and the team have raised over $7000 for the Inspiring Together Inc. Inspiring Together has grown and currently has 20 adult and 10 youth volunteers. Though Inspiring Together, his team successfully hosted a tennis camp for 15 boys and a basketball camp for 25 girls & boys. Both the camps have helped create a bond between two different youth from the same community, which is visible when they interact during the camps. The youth were thrilled to participate and are looking forward to many more extracurricular activities. The highlight for Veeraj was one of the youth reached out to him even after moving out of the Lodge and one youth was accepted to the undergrad program. Inspiring Together plans to help one youth at a time to make a difference in their lives.