Saturday, April 13

Palm Beach County teens create organization to spread kindness

“Working towards a sunnier side.” That’s the name of an organization drawn up by two high school students in Palm Beach County who say they just want to do what they can to make our community a brighter place, one step and one project at a time.“We wanted to volunteer in our community and give back to it even though COVID hit. And we also want to inspire others to take action as well,” said Sanjana Balkaran, co-founder of the volunteer group.It’s the little things in life, like seeing other people happy, they say. Sanjana Balkaran and Heidi Huynh have always been motivated volunteers, working with several different groups to inspire hope and change. So in June of 2020, they decided to team up to do even more. It began with “Project Sock and Roll.”“Volunteering at each place, we learn a lot there because they share their stories with us and we are able to relay that message to other people,” said Heidi Huynh, co-founder of the group.The teens raised enough money to buy nearly 500 pairs of socks. They donated the supplies to The Lewis Center Homeless Coalition in West Palm Beach. From there, the holidays were approaching and 2020 continued to prove difficult for many. The teens chose to dedicate their time in November to Feeding Palm Beach County to help make sure no one went hungry on Thanksgiving.“If you want to make a change, it just takes one step. It’s pretty simple, really. Just takes the effort,” said Huynh.Balkaran and Huynh have also been busy making bracelets in exchange for donations to the American Heart Association in coordination with National Heart Month. Next up, they’re focusing on making sunny South Florida that much brighter by taking part in beach clean-ups every Saturday throughout the month of April.They hope to inspire others to join them in Juno Beach from 8:30-11:30am. You can get more information and sign up to volunteer on their website:

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