LearnServe Fellow 2008
I always intended to go to medical school. For a long time, though, my interest in medicine was purely in the science—it was incredible to me that I could use the science I loved to learn to make a difference in the lives of patients.
However, after getting into the social entrepreneurship environment, my motivations changed. My first Fellows meeting back in high school was really exciting. This was an opportunity for me to create and lead a program that could have a positive impact on my community. The fact that I could do this at the age of 17 was incredibly empowering.
I partnered with Aleah Bowie, a friend from my high school to create our venture, Live Green, Learn Green. We recruited high school students to tutor and babysit after school and used the money we got from that towards buying energy efficiency kits for families in the Montgomery County, MD area. We partnered with Bethesda Help, a local organization, to distribute our care packages.
In the first year we raised almost $2,000 – enough to offer care packages to two dozen families. Last summer we decided to go back to our venture, but to switch the theme from energy efficiency to poverty and hunger. We are hoping this will be a sustainable way of obtaining resources from the community, resources we can use to purchase food to donate locally.
The Fellows Program taught me this passion for always being engaged, for being involved in the community at all times, and showed me that anyone can (and should) try to make a meaningful contribution to their community. I am always looking for some kind of mechanism for doing just that, and sticking with it. That passion led me to become a volunteer EMT at my Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad during college, where I am now a preceptor for EMT trainees.
Now that I have started medical school at the University of Maryland, School of Medicine in Baltimore, I find that my desire to give back to my community has not faded in the slightest. To be honest, moving to Baltimore has been a shock. Between homelessness, poverty, and addiction, the vicinity of the School of Medicine and the hospital is in bad shape. I have been aching to take some kind of action since I moved here this summer.
A part of my interest in medicine is still academic, but my passion for social entrepreneurship is as strong now as it was in high school as a Fellow. Ultimately, starting a medical non-profit will be my measure for success in my medical career. I have the privilege to gain medical knowledge and skills, so I want to use it in a way that it can impact those who need it the most.
Richa Kalsi graduated from the LearnServe Fellows Program in 2008. Richa is a graduate of Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School and the University of Maryland, is currently a student at the University of Maryland, School of Medicine in Baltimore. She is founder of Live Green, Learn Green.
LearnServe 10×10 interviews and profiles compiled by Melanie Barlow (Fellows 2010) and Julia Peck (Fellows 2011).
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