|Pratik and his family of fundraisers are on a mission - to show that age has nothing to do with impact and leave the world better than they found it. |
Although still in high school, Pratik has an uncanny way of viewing the world outside of his (now virtual) classroom.
After supporting a school in India, this high school senior is championing health care access in our region - including our work at Lowell CHC!
With humility and a strong work ethic, Pratik has raised close to $10,000 for local health care nonprofits. The Health Center is fortunate to be among them. Pratik has raised $3,500 for our COVID-19 response efforts!
A Tewksbury native and Phillips Academy Andover Senior, Pratik already has an impressive track-record of supporting causes he believes in. It's a passion rooted in experiences visiting his grandparents in India.
"My grandparents are the kind of people who have deep respect for everyone, no matter their status in life. They taught me not to just take from the world, but make it better than I found it."
During a visit to India while in middle school, Pratik began to see the world differently.
"Seeing what life was like for children in India was a shock to me. It was the first time I was really aware of how privileged I was."
Pratik was particularly struck by the lack of resources in the school in the community where his grandparents lived.
"It was very crowded, more than 30 kids in a small classroom. The teachers didn't have any of the materials they needed. Not textbooks, or even chalk."
Back home in Tewksbury, Pratik felt he had to do something to help those students. He started with a goal of raising $500 from family friends and fellow students. He admits, "I thought that might be a stretch." In a matter of weeks He'd collected $3,000. "I was overwhelmed by the response," he recalls.
Seeing the results of his work in person was powerful.
"When I returned to the village, I was smiling the whole time. Seeing the children and their families so excited, so happy, sitting in their new desks for the first time - it was just awesome. I can't explain it."
Over the years, Pratik has continued raising funds for the school in India to buy additional supplies, computers, even a water treatment center. And he didn't stop there. He's since orchestrated a number of fundraisers for cancer treatment, inspired by his aunt's own battle with breast cancer.
When COVID-19 hit, Pratik quickly set up a GoFundMe campaign with the initial goal of raising $2,000 to support local front-line workers. Once again, the response was overwhelming. His fundraising team of family, friends, and classmates was able to provide 500 Subway meals, 300 cups of coffee, and 500 water bottles to hospital workers.
When Pratik learned about the Health Center from a family friend, he instantly recognized another way to impact his community.
"The Health Center is a place that really deserves support. I wanted to support its mission to see that, no matter their financial status, people have a safe place to go for medical treatment."
Pratik was most impressed by the Health Center's Interpreter Services, provided at no cost to any patient best served in a language other than English.
"It's a service we don't always think about, but in many communities it's a big part of their identity. At the Health Center, everyone feels welcome."
What's next for Pratik? He's currently working on his college applications, with the hopes of landing at MIT or Carnegie Mellon to major in computer science.
One thing we know for sure: Wherever he lands, Pratik will continue to live a life that makes his grandparents proud and the world a better place.
"To everyone who works in health care: your compassion, care, and dedication to your craft is the glue that has held us together during this crisis. Thank you."