As this post will be published in mid-August, it is important to provide context. Most of the United States) has been practicing some form of social distancing since March, a result of the coronavirus pandemic that is severely affecting every aspect of our lives.
It’s hard to know how to feel or what to do when so much feels so overwhelming. It is in moments like these that we need inspiration and support more than ever and this week, that comes from two friends in Frisco, Texas.
At the start of the pandemic, Poulomi Mitra and Mariam Saeed (pictured below) co-founded Escalate Education, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing fully virtual educational services across the nation. I was excited to connect with Poulomi and get to share her words with you now.
Liz: Let’s start in true Smile Project fashion. Give me a “Happiness is.”
Poulomi: Happiness is being able to put a smile on others' faces. It is knowing that you made a difference and brightened someone's day.
Liz: What is Escalate Education?
Poulomi: Escalate Education is a student-led, nonprofit organization that is geared towards helping students acquire the opportunity to learn beyond the classroom. Our startup organization was founded to ensure that kids would have a platform to continue to pursue their academic interests and extracurriculars in the comfort of their homes. As the pandemic has changed the structure of education throughout the nation, we were inspired to take initiative and assist students and parents.
All of Escalate Education's proceeds go to UNICEF to support underprivileged kids. Our service is completely virtual and utilizes Google services to facilitate easy access to lessons and resources. Escalate Education offers year-round programs with skilled teachers who are passionate about their topics. We cater to K-12 students and have a multitude of courses including, but not limited to theater, movie production, art, dance, choir, and computer science.
Liz: What is the driving force behind what you do?
Poulomi: Education has the potential to unlock doors to a brighter future. Regardless of the bitter times, we are currently facing, we cannot give up on the future of our next scientists, innovators, and leaders. We wanted to make the best of these circumstances and take matters into our own hands. We wanted to give back with a powerful tool—education.
Our services are very affordable as each program is only $5 and gives students access to unlimited courses. We are not only helping students succeed, but also aiding those in need. Additionally, we award our teachers with service hours in exchange for their time at Escalate Education. We know that during such difficult times, finding volunteer hours has been challenging so we want to ensure our teachers are awarded for their service. Ultimately, our desire to help out during these difficult times has been the driving force behind Escalate Education.
Liz: What does service mean to you?
Poulomi: Service is an essential element in life. As human beings, I believe that it is our duty to give back to society. Service is taking time out of your day to leave an impact on people's lives. It is taking the initiative to better the world and putting the needs of others before oneself. (Staff pictured below.)
Liz: How can folks get involved?
Poulomi: Escalate Education is always on the lookout for new teachers who are looking to be a part of our team. If you are interested, fill out the application. If you want to enroll your child, register here.
You can also help out Escalate Education by spreading awareness regarding our services which are offered all around the nation. You can share our organization with your friends and local community members, reach out to your local media stations, contact us for partnerships, or follow us on our social media pages (Instagram: @escalateeducation or Twitter: @escalatedu). Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
Liz: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Poulomi: We have recently published articles. You can check them out here.
Liz: Do you have a favorite quote you’d like to leave us with?
"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world"