Having guided three children over the years through the college admissions process, I realized how hard that process is. A Herculean task under normal circumstances becomes that much more so when high school students do not have the support and guidance to help make the right choices to get to the right college. A decision that could change a student's life for better or for worse is a choice all high school students should have a right to make.
I’ve always been passionate about college education for the under-resourced communities; that led me to volunteer at Chicago Scholars, a community-based nonprofit organization. My volunteering stint there gave me the opportunity to sponsor twenty-seven high schoolers to apply to colleges and interview at Chicago On-Site to get a well-deserved head start to even the playing field. It became apparent to me that there was a great need for this in the western suburbs of Chicago.
I have to believe the ‘Green Halo Scholars Foundation’ was meant to be! I met Vandana in November of 2017 who also lives in the western suburbs and volunteered at Chicago Scholars as a mentor. Her background with mentoring the scholars and mine with the administration was the perfect match to make this happen! And so here we are…both equally committed and passionate about wanting a bright future for all west suburban high schoolers to a well-deserved college education!
When I lost my son Varun on May 15th, 2015, I could not have imagined that life would have gone on and that I would be part of a foundation that would help me keep his memory alive. What started as a memorial scholarship suggested by one of Varun's high school teachers; in less than three years raised over $30,000 and helped us commit to awarding a scholarship every year to one graduating senior at Hinsdale South High School.
In December of 2017, another opportunity came up to keep Varun’s legacy alive. I met Sally, who was also a volunteer at Chicago Scholars. Here was another mom with the same passion and mission to make a difference. Together we founded the ‘Green Halo Scholars’ a nonprofit community-based organization to assist intrinsically motivated underrepresented high schoolers from the Western Suburbs of Chicago with the admissions process and to help them transition and succeed in college.
The name of the foundation is yet another tribute to Varun’s memory; Varun’s favorite color was green and the halo is a representation of the angel that he was…that he is.
Varun, in his quiet way, is still making an impact.