Ahaan Shetty's organisation offers volunteering opportunities to students Image Credit: Shutterstock

If there are two subjects Ahaan Shetty enjoys studying, they are physics and mathematics. Currently doing the IB Diploma Program at GEMS Modern Academy, he believes these two subjects are ‘‘beautiful languages of our universe’’.

Beyond academics, Ahaan is keen to make an impact on the lives of those around him. To that end, he is constantly looking at ways in which he can give back to the community.

VolunteerYouth is a student-run organization he founded with the aim of creating an impact on society by helping students find and apply for volunteering opportunities. ‘‘Volunteering can be a tedious process as a result of just how inconvenient it is to find and apply for opportunities. VolunteerYouth solves that problem by acting as the bridge between students who want to volunteer, and organizations in need of volunteers,’’ he says.

Ahaan Shetty

Having volunteered in the past, he realized that volunteering is something a lot of students want to do. A lot of school curricula also require students to volunteer. So volunteering opportunities is something students definitely need easy access to. ‘I created this platform to act as the bridge between students who want to volunteer, and organizations or people in need of volunteers, so that the process of volunteering can be streamlined, thus enabling students to make an impact.’’

A memorable moment for Ahaan was when he volunteered to teach mathematics and physics lessons to students through the Lotus Petal Foundation, a non-profit organization providing education to underprivileged children in India. ‘‘It is non-profits like the Lotus Petal Foundation that really inspired me to begin VolunteerYouth. Helping connect students with organizations like these to serve society was the goal I set out to achieve with VolunteerYouth.’’

Building a platform like VolunteerYouth was not an easy one. ‘‘Building a website, tying up with volunteering organizations, marketing, expanding, testing with users and improving our services accordingly were all parts of the entrepreneurial journey of beginning this organization,’’ he says.

Volunteering, he admits, has taught him several life lessons. ‘‘First, the importance of empathy. Second, the fact that simple acts of kindness can make a world of difference to others. Finally, helping others can be the best form of happiness for an individual.’’

Ahaan says that a huge number of students have accessed volunteering opportunities that serve a wonderful cause for society. The volume of students looking for and applying to opportunities is a testament to the need for such a platform, he feels.

‘‘However, one of the most satisfying things for me was learning how many students truly cared about creating an impact on our society. We have had students from schools across the country and even outside of the UAE sign up with organizations through our website, and there is no greater feeling than seeing students of all ages and backgrounds using the platform, connected by their desire to make a difference.’’

VolunteerYouth hopes to continue growing to become the go-to place for students to volunteer. ‘‘We hope to expand and present our project to schools across the country, and then internationally. We have applied for funding, and are planning on expanding our team. We envision it becoming a movement of sorts, that revolutionizes volunteering.’’

On the career front, Ahaan who has a passion for STEM, aspires to be a theoretical physicist.