Senior Amitesh Verma and freshman Arjun Verma recognized for exemplary volunteer service
NEWS RELEASE: Heather Higdon, Director of Communications
INDIAN HILL, OH (October 6, 2020) – Indian Hill High School (IHHS) senior Amitesh Verma and freshman Arjun Verma each earned the President’s Gold Volunteer Service Award.
Amitesh Verma was recognized for volunteering approximately 270 hours over a period of 12 months at various organizations; Arjun Verma dedicated a summer to volunteering with Groundwork Ohio River Valley.
“Service to others is part of what it means to be a Brave; Amitesh and Arjun are to be commended for their dedication to help others,” said Indian Hill High School Principal Jeff Damadeo. “We are incredibly proud of these scholars, and we appreciate that the White House recognized their efforts.”
Indian Hill High School students served more than 10,000 hours during the 2019-2020 school year before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the District into distance learning.
Amitesh Verma spent time volunteering at the Council on Aging of Southwest Ohio, Meals on Wheels, Mercy, Jewish, and Bethesda North hospitals, and the Loveland LIFE Food Pantry to fulfill his service hours. In addition to being the founder of the Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) chapter at Indian Hill High School, Amitesh serves as a board member for the SADD National Student Leadership Council, a cohort of students who plan health-related events for all SADD chapters across the United States.
“I am honored to receive this award and truly grateful to SADD Ohio for nominating me,” said Amitesh Verma. “Receiving this award meant the world to me because it recognizes the importance of community service, especially in times of crisis. As my father is a front-line healthcare worker, early in the pandemic I realized just how exposed he can be to COVID-19, alongside many others on the front-line. When school became remote and throughout the summer, I sought ways to contribute to these healthcare heroes who tirelessly work during these challenging times. By utilizing money raised from a GoFundMe page, I organized and delivered meals from local restaurants to COVID-19 testing tents around the city.”
“Another severely vulnerable population is the elderly,” Verma added. “They need our help the most right now, and the Council on Aging was the perfect opportunity to support them. Making weekly calls to check-in on seniors through the Adopt-a-Senior program and delivering meal boxes to senior residences around Cincinnati was a revelatory experience for me, showing me just how rough their conditions can be.”
Arjun Verma focused the majority of his volunteer experience at Groundwork Ohio River Valley during the summer. As part of his volunteer experience Arjun pulled out invasive species of plants, created electronic books for children, and packed snack boxes for Meals on Wheels.
“Groundwork is focused on removing invasive species from our local forests,” explained Arjun Verma. “While working with them, I got to learn how invasive species can take over our forests and how important it is to remove them. This experience really opened me up to the many ways you can make a difference in our community. Even if the problem you are working towards is not very prominent in your community, contributing to solutions can truly make a difference and bring awareness to those issues.”
Indian Hill Schools Superintendent Kirk Koennecke interviewed the two Presidential Gold Volunteer Service Award winners in a video produced by the School District.
If link to video fails, paste this address into your browser: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SphsPMqXaaY