Trip to India convinces high schooler to do more to help in Brevard's underserved community

The Community Partnership School Investment Campaign for Endeavour Elementary raises money to help those in an underserved community get educational and health tools they might not otherwise have access to.
The Community Partnership School Investment Campaign for Endeavour Elementary raises money to help those in an underserved community get educational and health tools they might not otherwise have access to.

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Last December, I walked the streets of Calcutta, India, and came across The Missionaries of Charity to witness children hoping for a better future.

Those unfortunate kids instantly touched my heart.

My interaction with the poverty-stricken kids brought out the best of humanity within me.

This urged a feeling of compassion and desire to give back locally to the kids in my community, Brevard County.

It is disheartening that 1 in 5 children in Florida lives in poverty.

Some children struggle with hunger, face community violence, lack health care and more — all burdens that interfere with their ability to learning.

Dr. Mitra's previous columns:

These kids are at higher risk of dropping out of school, which can lead to dangerous personal and societal outcomes.

Through the Community Partnership Schools model, Children's Home Society of Florida — together with core partners and the local community — is supporting schools like Cocoa’s Endeavour Elementary.

They work to turn the odds into opportunities for marginalized students to succeed in the classroom and beyond.

Community partnership schools meet the unique needs of each student, bringing counseling, mentoring, health, dental and vision care, as well as nutrition support, student leadership and workforce development opportunities right at the school.

In addition, they work with families through parental support and engagement, adult education and employment support — all where families can easily access them.

I am honored to be selected as a Youth Ambassador of Brevard County for the Children's Home Society of Florida.

I am overwhelmed by the support I received from my community when I introduced Endeavour Elementary's initiative to influential community members and caring individuals.

I was fortunate enough to raise more than $12,000 in less than a month through a web-based fundraising campaign to support this worthy cause.

Future efforts are underway to open a health clinic, right on campus, to serve the students and their families.

These donations will also be used to start different STEM activities at Endeavour Elementary.

Last summer, I had an excellent opportunity to volunteer and mentor at the community partnership school's STREaM camp.

I worked with Endeavour students to expand their reading, math and science knowledge, as well as exposing them to different cultures worldwide, including India.

I was also able to participate in organizing donated school supplies, which included items such as clothes, shoes and hygiene products for families to easily access at the school's campus.

Through the summer camps, students were able to gain exposure to STEM activities. These activities include snap circuit boards, robotics, 3-D printing skills, making solar cars, designing space suits, health-related technology (such as prosthetics and bionic arms) and organic gardening.

Providing enrichment and engaging the students with some hands-on activities in STEM education during after-school hours and weekends will motivate them to continue to grow to their fullest potential.

Caring and giving have always been a part of my parents' ethos and culture.

My mother, a dedicated physician in Brevard County for more than 20 years, always influenced me to be caring, kind and compassionate to all.

My father, who has dedicated his life to teaching and research as a professor of Biomedical Engineering for more than two decades, has helped me understand all aspects of education and its core values.

My greatest pleasure will be to bring hope and smile to these underprivileged kids, and provide them with the resources and support, thereby lightening the burden put onto them by factors out of their control.

Please visit if you would like to get involved.

About the author: Suhina Mitra, the daughter of FLORIDA TODAY Health contributor Dr. Sue Mitra, is a sophomore at West Shore Jr/ Sr High School. She is the Youth Ambassador in Brevard County for the Children’s Home Society of Florida.

This article originally appeared on Florida Today: High school sophomore helps Children's Home Society raise money for Cocoa school