BEAVERTON, Ore — Rising senior Laasya Yenduri is still in high school but she’s been looking a world in a different way since 8th grade.
“I took a visit back to India and my parents were sponsoring a child already from an orphanage and we went to take a visit to her orphanage,” she said.
For the Sunset High School student, a chance to interact with and teach kids sparked an idea.
“I think that was the moment that I decided that I should do something for these kids. While I may not be able to change the world, I can change one person’s life,” Laasya said.
In the few years since, she has worked to bring awareness to child poverty and also child education. “We’ve done many fundraiser events in the past in those orphanages. We’ve raised money through bake sales, book drives.”
That money was used to help build two computer labs in India for the kids that made that lasting first impression on Laasya. Once the pandemic hit, she realized that she wanted to bring it home to focus on impacting the Portland community. That’s when CyberBORN was born.
“After looking at my own brother and kids his age, he’s in elementary school, I realized that after COVID hit and the schools were closed that they really didn’t have anything to do,” said Laasya.
In June, she and some classmates began offering virtual classes and lessons for elementary school students. It’s something they’ll continue until schools open back up. While their focus is local for now, the vision is to help children around the world reach their full academic potential. The “classes” have already grown to include as many as 50 kids.
“Our idea of spreading this out is not for publicity’s sake but it’s more for kids who need this and don’t know about this and we can help them do something in the summer so they find their summer worthwhile and they can connect with education outside the four walls of the school itself,” Laasya said.
“I also used to think ‘Hey, when I grow up I can have a say in everything and actually make a difference,’ but I think what most people don’t realize is that you’re never too young to make a difference.”