Local nonprofit gives to communities across the world



Senior Beka Luebbe and freshman Arjun Rajan prepare for the race by using red face paint and hair spray.

Nikitha Seri, managing editor

Over 200 Chantilly students participated in Asha-Jyothi’s annual 5K run/walk on Sunday, Sept. 16 in Fairfax Corner. Asha-Jyothi is a local nonprofit organization that raises money to provide education and healthcare for underprivileged children around the world. Every year, it holds a 5K run/walk in different locations across the country, and with nearly 2000 registrants and a turnout of 1500 in Fairfax, this year’s event was the biggest yet.

“This year we have broken our previous records of registration for our race, and that was one of our goals ever since last year,” junior Akshay Ganta, who emceed this year, said.

With an ever-growing number of participants, year-round work is required to conduct the event smoothly.

“The run is a year-long process because the day we end the 2018 run, we start planning the 2019 run,” senior Roshni Puli, race director, said. “We start with the basics, like the venue. But now, since we’ve been doing it for 10 years, we have a pretty solid understanding of what goes down. The only real new planning we have to do is getting more people to show up and how to promote it more.”

The money raised by the 5K goes to the organization’s current campaigns for the year.

“This year, one of our focuses is the Kerala flood relief, but also we have a bunch of Your Campaigns already lined up to fulfill this year,” Puli said.

A Your Campaign allows a donor to choose the beneficiary of their donation. Anyone can start a Your Campaign, and Asha-Jyothi will work with the individual to help make the campaign successful. The $106,000 donation to build the Innovation Lab in the library was part of a Your Campaign. You can read more about the campaign here and here.

“That Innovation Lab, when it opens, is really going to be a great way for students to try out those STEAM skills,” Principal Scott Poole said.

Construction is still in progress, and the lab will likely open in early November.

Although the race is the organization’s most well-known event, Asha-Jyothi also hosts others such as the Holi event in March and Destiny, a partnership with music school Notes n’ Beats. Destiny is a music event to support artists with autism and will be held from 5:00-7:00 pm on Sunday, Sept. 23 at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas. More information can be found here.

Donations can be made to the organization at this link, and you can donate to Your Campaigns here. Amazon Smile is another way to contribute. When you shop at this link, Amazon will donate 0.5% of eligible purchases to Asha-Jyothi. If you would like to volunteer, you can sign up here.

“Our mission is to help as many people as we can and give back to the community,” Ganta said.

Junior Pranav Kode organized the flash mob at the event.