For the holiday season, high school seniors, Achla Gandhi and Dasha Trosteanetchi, organized a virtual talent show that brought their local community closer. Reaching out to members of their town by knocking on their neighbors’ doors and using resources such as their town’s email server and library fliers, Gandhi and Trosteanetchi spread awareness of this new effort to inspire some holiday spirit during this lonely and difficult time. With the help of their community, they edited together a performance of over twenty acts including playing instruments, whistling, painting, and more. Then, in a Zoom meeting, they shared this show and brought joy to fifty families.
In addition to the talent show, Gandhi and Trosteanetchi organized a fundraiser to aid children who have been affected by the pandemic. They encouraged the families who joined the event to donate to the fundraiser. Gandhi and Trosteanetchi raised over $2,500 for Save the Children, a humanitarian organization supporting children in need.
“We didn’t have high expectations because we were like, as long as our friends join, it’s still going to be for a good cause, and we’re still going to raise money…But we were astounded and really appreciative of the response that we got from our community,” Gandhi said. Their initial donation goal being $1,000, the success in both the talent show turnout and fundraiser surpassed Gandhi and Trosteanetchi’s expectations.
The show was unique in its wide variety of talents. There were performances typical to a talent show such as musical acts. There were also some non-traditional talents such as horseback riding, a family puppet show, circus tricks, and others. Additionally, a broad range of ages participated–toddlers stole the spotlight a few times.
“We were very excited when we started getting a lot of interesting [talents] and people of different ages. I think that comes from the different platforms we advertised from where people of different age ranges and abilities [saw],” Trosteanetchi said. Also, Gandhi and Trosteanetchi noted that because the performance was pre-recorded–the participants sent videos to Gandhi and Trosteanetchi–, they were able to incorporate this variety that would not have been possible in conventionally live spectacles. The diversity and inclusivity of the acts made the talent show so special and wonderful.
In spite of the successful outcome, the preparations did not always go smoothly. Gandhi and Trosteanetchi faced challenges. Going into it, they did not have many connections or a detailed plan either. In the beginning, there was not such a large reaction. A week before the deadline for their talent registration, they had only accumulated around six acts. For a long time, donations remained stagnant and far from their goal. Nevertheless, Gandhi and Trosteanetchi were resilient, attempting even harder to spread the word. They realized the importance of not becoming discouraged because while it took multiple tries, the community did respond.
“Through [reaching out to the community], we learned about a lot of people who do this [sort of project] regularly, and they were able to offer us a lot of advice for how we can make this bigger and better,” Trosteanetchi said. Gandhi and Trosteanetchi are extremely grateful for their community. People were glad to share their expertise with these high school students.
“It was very humbling to see how much people were willing to give for us–we were strangers at that point,” Gandhi said. Local businesses even got involved, providing gift cards to the performers, and in turn, Gandhi and Trosteanetchi wanted to help them out by advertising for them. Especially during such an isolating time, the community’s kindness warms hearts.
Gandhi and Trosteanetchi plan to continue holding talent shows and raising money under the non-profit they founded, Kids4humanity. Their next talent show is scheduled to be on February 12th, and they are in the process of collecting acts. They hope to continue this project even after graduating high school. Moving forward, they had the idea of supporting causes that members of their community have particular passions for or connections with.
“Even the smallest decision of ‘okay, I’m going to do it, and I’m going to see this through’ is everything. That’s all you need. You need the determination and the dream. And if you feel like you aren’t able to push through it yourself, get a friend involved,” Gandhi advised those who wish to make an impact in their communities. With this first talent show being a success, Gandhi and Trosteanetchi are excited for the future, and they are glad that they took this initial step of courage.
To support Gandhi and Trosteanetchi with their nonprofit, visit kids4humanity.org