Chirag’s story shows how to channel the passions and talents of young people into positive social change.
Chirag Vedullapalli was born into a family of entrepreneurs. He describes his mother as a lifelong changemaker who inspired him and always pushed him to set high goals and keep working towards them. Chirag harnessed that changemaking spirit at age five, when, after selling paintings he had created, he found himself wondering “what do I actually need this money for?”. Chirag subsequently donated the proceeds from his paintings to the Seattle Children’s Hospital and got his friends to do it to, creating painting parties at his art teacher’s home. Chirag realized very young that if you engage kids’ passion and talent, like his for art, you can channel that energy to create positive change in their communities. “There's a lot of volunteer opportunities for kids,” Chirag says, “but not all of these volunteer opportunities engage the kids' passions and their talents.”
At age 10, Chirag founded the non-profit Creative Children for Charity, or “3C” to address this problem. “Whatever they're talented in, whatever they enjoy doing, we find an opportunity for them to really use that to make a difference in the community.
Since then, 3C has grown into a regional organization thanks to Chirag’s team of youth co-leaders which manage internal organizational strategy, operations, technology, and outreach. Their work has resulted in the donation of over 11,000 volunteer hours benefiting over 6,500 area youth and over 17 local nonprofits.
One of 3C’s flagship programs, STEAM3D, combines Chirag’s love of the arts with his passionate belief that technology is key to the future. STEAM3D workshops teach students how to operate 3D printers – a skill that would otherwise be inaccessible to them. Through this, they develop their creativity and discover new talents. Chirag sees how technology can offer both possibility and challenges for people trying to navigate the rapidly changing world.