Humans of Harker: Uma Rao benefits her community by volunteering
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Uma Rao (12) has always loved to help people, whether in California or all the way across the world.
“I like to volunteer. It’s fun to spend time with them because their lives are so different but they still have such a positive outlook on life,” Uma said. “We see people who are so privileged, but then they get upset about seemingly inconsequential things.”
In fourth grade, she moved to India, a completely different country she had only ever visited before, yet she managed to make a smooth transition.
“Being able to see new places and people really broadened my perspective on the world and gave me a global understanding of people that I wouldn’t have otherwise,” she said. “I guess here, we’re in our own little bubble and we don’t realize, but when we travel, we get to see the world.”
Even in India, Uma volunteered and taught English to children at local schools.
“Most of the kids I taught were my age, but they were completely different from me, and we had that language barrier, so I taught them English and they taught me Telugu,” she said. “It was fun hanging out with them because they’re really different from me, and I learned so much from them that I didn’t expect to.”
During the summer before sophomore year, Uma returned to America and became a transfer student at Harker.
“I was really excited to come back, but moving in the middle of high school was a bit challenging and different because I didn’t know anyone,” she said.
Throughout her high school years, Uma continued to do much community service and became a volunteer worker with children suffering from terminal illnesses and brain injuries.
“A lot these kids went through accidents and they couldn’t control it. It’s a really long road to recovery for them. They need help…and it’s fun to spend time with them because their lives are so different, but they still have such a positive outlook on life,” she said.
Aside from volunteering and helping people, she also enjoys studying in several fields.
“I’m really interested in chemistry, neuroscience, and psychology, which is on the more science-y side, but I also really like economics,” Uma said. “But I kind of like a lot of stuff, so who knows? I might just go to college and completely change my mind.”