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9-10-20 — Olathe Student Makes Community Impact

Sept. 10, 2020 ~ During the spring of 2020, when Olathe families were adapting to more time at home, Sruthi Kode, Olathe North High School junior, used newfound time to do something useful and make a positive impact in her community. After discovering that millions of families in the United States struggle to afford school supplies each year, Sruthi wanted to do everything in her power to provide equal opportunities for education in her own backyard.

Sruthi started a local chapter of Pencils for Success, a nonprofit organization founded in Georgia, with three other juniors: Bani Grover, Olathe North; Anjali Baratham and Laasya Bonthu, Blue Valley Northwest High School. Pencils for Success (PFS) accepts donations of new or gently-used school supplies and distributes them in targeted areas of need.

As the Olathe School District has 10 Title I elementary schools, Sruthi reached out to the district in August to see how her group could deliver school supplies for students. After several weeks of carefully gathering donations, PFS Kansas provided a bevy of supplies to all 10 Title I elementary schools.

“I’m driven to donate to underprivileged communities because I want to help those in need,” Sruthi said. “Many students like me, who just want a good education, deserve the necessary supplies and materials to learn.”

While the main focus remains on students in the classroom, Sruthi’s group participates in other community service projects throughout the year. Recently, they donated baked goods and thank you cards to frontline workers at Olathe Medical Center. To help raise funds, PFS Kansas sold homemade polymer clay earrings.

“I love doing what I can to give back to the community in any way possible,” Sruthi said. “If any student is interested in helping others in need or getting involved in their community, go for it. Find out what you are most passionate about and go make a positive impact on the world.”

To contact or donate supplies to the Kansas chapter of Pencils for Success, email pencilsforsuccesskansas@gmail.com or connect with the group on social media @pencilsforsuccess.ks on Instagram or Facebook.