Congratulations to our California 4-H Grown Youth in Action winner, Sruthi Sudarsan!
Sruthi Sudarsan of Alameda County was named the winner of the 2023 4-H Youth in Action Civic Engagement Pillar Award for her diligent work to provide medical and hygiene supplies and educational services to underprivileged communities in the San Francisco Bay Area. As the 2023 Civic Engagement pillar winner, Sruthi will receive a variety of honors including a $5,000 higher education scholarship and an official reference letter from a National 4-H Council employee. Furthermore, Sruthi will spend 2023 as the youth spokesperson for national 4-H civic engagement, showcasing her 4-H story, and networking with prominent 4-H alumni throughout the nation.
4-H'er Sruthi Sudarsan of Alameda County.
Despite struggling with social anxiety, Sruthi found the confidence and skills to start her organization, Project C.A.R.E.
Throughout her adolescence, Sruthi Sudarsan struggled with social anxiety. With the help of her 4-H club public speaking and puppetry projects, she found the voice and confidence to rise, despite those struggles.
“4-H gave me the skills and courage to overcome social anxiety and speak up for myself—and use that courage to help others,” said Sruthi. Empowered by her 4-H community and impassioned by civic engagement, Sruthi used her skills and courage to start her own non-profit organization, Project C.A.R.E. (Comfort And Relief Essentials), a program that provides basic hygiene, medical, and first aid education and assistance to the thousands of homeless individuals in her area. As founder of the program, Sruthi has spent hundreds of service hours recruiting volunteers, planning mask-making workshops, packaging and delivering medical and hygiene kits, and coordinating deliveries to shelters and clinics. Ultimately, donating 13,000 masks to local communities! Her persistent work to alleviate the strains on her community inspires other 4-H'ers to identify community needs, find creative ways to address those needs, and ignite positive change. Sruthi explains it this way: “I've been able to conquer…challenges to empower my peers to identify the needs of their communities and come up with solutions through fundraising and grants”.
Sruthi and Project C.A.R.E. volunteers delivering a baby hygiene cart to Raphael House in San Francisco.
Sruthi hopes her outreach and efforts will motivate future generations to rise to the challenge of leadership and community development.
Unsurprisingly, Sruthi's work doesn't stop there. Using her spark of teaching traditional Indian dance to young children, she raised enough money to build and supply a preschool bathroom in Cambodia. She also used her resources to provide the preschool with educational services on the necessity of basic hygiene. Her passions for encouraging youth to overcome personal obstacles and ignite positive change led her to host a mentorship program with Project C.A.R.E. This program trains students to find their civic engagement spark and execute projects using those sparks. She hopes this program will motivate future generations to rise to the challenge of leadership and community development. Sruthi currently has trained over a hundred middle schoolers to become dynamic community leaders and activists. Sruthi also works with younger children, using her puppetry skills to create educational skits about social issues to connect with children ages five to eleven.
Youth in Action by day and California 4-H State Ambassador by night, Sruthi is managing her time to serve with excellence in both working honors. Collaborating with her State Ambassador Team to promote their platform while working with national 4-H associates to cultivate her impact through events, projects, and service. For all that, Sruthi is pushing through her senior year of high school while maintaining her studies, activities, and connections in her community. Sruthi hopes to pursue a neuroscience major at medical school in the future. Her career goal is to be a physician in the field of pediatrics or neonatal medicine.
Youth in Action by day and CA 4-H State Ambassador by night, Sudarsan is managing her time to serve with excellence in both working honors.
As both Youth in Action and State Ambassador, Sruthi cultivates her impact through events, service, and projects.
Sruthi's mentors, leaders, friends, and family both in and outside of 4-H are proud to see her conquer challenges and utilize her personal development to make a national impact. We cannot wait to see what more she accomplishes over this next year—and beyond!