Shreyaa and Esha of Nest4Us Talk Pandemic Resilience and Giving Back To Their Community
Shreyaa and Esha - co-founders of the org Nest4Us - chat to us about their work in COVID times.
What inspired you to create NEST4US?
Service has been an integral part of our lives – even in elementary school, our mom would bring us along to volunteer at school and community events. We had so much fun giving back to our community that we wanted to create opportunities where others could volunteer together and explore their passions!
This led us to form NEST4US. Its mission is simple: to make the world better through kindness by mobilizing volunteers worldwide to advance progress on societal issues and spark equitable solutions for the greater good. Through our five core programs, we tackle issues including global hunger, climate change, quality education, poverty, mental health, equity, and more.
What we started as two sisters (with the simple goal of helping those in need) has evolved into a global movement of over 4,500 volunteers of all ages and backgrounds. Through our collaboration with businesses, schools, and organizations, we have impacted tens of thousands of people in over 30 countries across 6 continents and donated over 1.8 million dollars in volunteer hours.
Is there a particular service project that you’ve enjoyed creating?
Because we work across so many fronts it is difficult to pick out just one project. But one of our favorite activities is hosting different service projects – which we do throughout the year. An example is a program we launched this year called LittleHands4Hope, where we pack after-school snacks, as well as breakfast meals, for students in Title 1 schools.
These service projects are important not only to those in need but also to our volunteers because it provides them with the opportunity to give back to their local communities.
How did NEST4US adapt to COVID times? Were there particular changes you made to your programs in light of pandemic restrictions?
Even in the midst of a pandemic, we served those in need by adapting our organization in innovative ways. Via our NEST Nurtures, Kares, and Buddies programs, we provided food, toiletries/PPE, and care to those in need. We transitioned our NEST Tutors program onto virtual platforms, making sure that students were given both the academic and emotional support they needed. We also hosted smaller-scale, service projects (that complied with pandemic restrictions) to provide safe and fun volunteer opportunities to marginalized populations.
Throughout the pandemic, we emphasized the importance of spreading kindness and positivity. Reminding ourselves and others that no matter how bad the situation may seem, positivity and kindness should never waver. After all, it only takes 30 seconds to change someone’s day, or even life, for the better!
What does the future of NEST4US look like?
The future is looking super bright! Already this year, we have launched several new initiatives: Nourish2Flourish, a zero-hunger initiative where we provide groceries for families in need; KindNEST Kart, which aims to encourage students to perform intentional acts of kindness, and LittleHands4Hope, a project specifically designed for our youngest community changemakers.
We are also looking to expand our NEST Nurtures program globally – having already launched NEST Nurtures in India.
Finally, we are excited about our #4GYouth program, where we’re planning to join forces with youth changemakers from across the globe for a fun day of philanthropy!
Finally, how can those interested become involved in NEST4US?
To get involved and be part of our volunteer family, you can visit our website at www.nest4us.org and follow us on social media. Regardless of age or background, we would love for you to get involved in Team NEST4US!