For 18-year-old Shreyaa Venkat, giving back to her community has always been an important part of her life. Beginning when she was in elementary school, her mom would bring her and her sister to volunteer at community and school events. “For me, finding my voice came hand in hand with what I observed in my community,” she recalled. “Around middle school, I [noticed] so many homeless people in my community who didn’t have access to food. I also noticed that so much food would get thrown away daily in my school when I’d go out to eat at restaurants.”
“The feeling you get when you contribute meaningfully to society is fulfilling and honestly unparalleled.”
Shreyaa decided she wanted to find a solution to these issues. Over time, she’s developed her voice around fighting insecurity and advocating for less waste. “The feeling you get when you contribute meaningfully to society is fulfilling and honestly unparalleled,” she said. “There’s truly nothing else like it. That’s why I wanted others to get involved in the community and experience that same feeling by giving back.”
As the co-founder and CEO of NEST4US, Shreyaa and her sister and co-founder create volunteer opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to give back to the community in a way that interests them. The organization hosts over 1,000 volunteers across five core teams and aims to spread hope and love to every person they come across. As a kindness advocate, she stands-up for those who feel alone in the world and shows the community that you don’t need to be a certain age or from a certain background to change the world.
As an exceptional Gen Z’er making an impact, she was honored for her work in the Social Impact space through The ConversationaLIST. “I’m inspired to give back because I know how fortunate I am and feel it is our responsibility as human beings to help those in need,” she explained. “I strongly believe that it doesn’t matter how big or small your contribution is to your community, it just matters that you do something to help.”
“I strongly believe that it doesn’t matter how big or small your contribution is to your community, it just matters that you do something to help.”
Shreyaa is a firm believer that everyone has the power to make a difference and use their voice for good. She encourages her fellow Gen Z’ers to find a cause they’re passionate about and spread awareness around it. “For me, taking that first step was crucial,” she said. “It didn’t matter that the solution seemed miles away: initiating awareness about the issue itself can spark change.”
Shreyaa is currently a freshman at Georgetown University where is majoring in Global Health studies. She hopes to pursue a career in healthcare where she can use her skills to bring resources and treatments to serve underprivileged people worldwide. “I hope to lead the fight for a more sustainable future by working with global organizations to nourish the community, inspire the world, and touch lives and hearts wherever I go,” she said.
Shreyaa is proud to be a part of The Conversationalist community which not only supports the work of Gen Z leaders but believes in their ability to bring about meaningful change. “By amplifying Gen Z voices, society will be able to truly prioritize the most pressing issues facing humanity today in order to build the best future possible,” she said.
She believes that in a unified world, people lift each other instead of tear each other down and work together to create equal opportunities for success. “I envision a world where love overpowers hate, peace outweighs war, positivity outshines negativity, and kindness is the norm,” she said.
“I envision a world where love overpowers hate, peace outweighs war, positivity outshines negativity, and kindness is the norm.”
As the most diverse and driven generation, Shreyaa believes that her fellow Gen Z’ers can work together to create a better future and create solutions for societal issues. “2020, in particular, has been a year filled with challenges, violence, and grieving,” she said. “But it has also been filled with resilience, compassion, and celebration.”
To break open her echo chamber, Shreyaa takes time to listen to people who have different opinions from her own. “This might sound almost too simple, but oftentimes proves difficult for the human brain because of a concept called confirmation bias,” she explained. “When hearing what the other side has to say, you don’t necessarily have to agree with them, but you may gain a different perspective that will open up another avenue of thinking and eventually lead to generally positive outcomes.”
The Conversationalist couldn’t be more grateful to Shreyaa Venkat for all she does to promote volunteerism among Gen Z. Keep up with her on Instagram and follow NEST4US to learn more about her work.