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Conard Student Launches Hope for Human Rights Fundraiser

By: Clare Gillis


Throughout the past year, the coronavirus has devastated millions. Costing jobs and destroying the livelihoods of many, it is now more important than ever to help the community and all those in need. Inspired to provide aid to anyone that needed it, Conard student Maya Palanki started the Hands-on Hartford Club in 2020. The club worked closely with a homeless shelter in Hartford, and members completed multiple projects to aid those who were struggling. Interviewed for this article's content, Palanki hoped to make an even more significant impact and became one of the main individuals involved in the Hands-on Hartford fundraiser. Getting involved after ¨hearing how nonprofits in Connecticut were losing a lot of funding because of COVID¨ and learning that ¨ a lot of human rights violations were going unchecked¨, Palanki came up with the idea to create this fundraiser. Hoping to help nonprofits because they ¨give so much to the community, and it only makes sense for us to give back¨, Palanki has worked tirelessly to ensure that the fundraiser runs smoothly and concretely, benefiting the community.

The fundraiser involves eight schools across the state, with a group at each school participating in individualized fundraisers to raise money for nonprofits. The specific nonprofits chosen to donate to are: Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, Hands-on Hartford, Center for Children's Advocacy, and CT Women's education and Legal Fund. Palanki expressed that ¨they all hit different sectors of human rights¨, whether women, children, or racial disparities addressed by both housing organizations. This fundraiser was established to involve teenagers from all over the state and provide much-needed aid and funding to organizations that have helped communities during the pandemic.

Dealing with numerous logistical aspects of the fundraiser, such as handling the finances and ¨having to speak to so many different people from so many different places¨, Palanki dedicated many hours to ensure this event's success. Deciding on a fun run to be the main event- students can sign up and donate or pledge money for every mile run, with all money donated going towards the four selected nonprofits. The fun run is a statewide event- and all track teams at each of the eight involved schools are also heavily involved. Cards individual fundraiser consists of an art auction and features BS#arp and the Thespians. Everyone involved is very hopeful that it will receive lots of donations to help the community and state.

Palanki created this fundraiser to erase the ¨disconnect between people saying they want a change and actually making that change¨. Especially with the busy schedules most students deal with today, the Hope for Human Rights Fundraiser is extremely easy to get involved in. It is a way for everyone within the community to inspire real and hugely beneficial change.

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