Last spring, Saajan Bhakta, 17, was presented with the top scholarship award by the United Way of the Plains for his volunteer work not only in Wichita, but also the organization he started, PovSolve, Inc., to address the poverty he saw when visiting India. Now, Bhakta’s efforts on behalf of others have earned him one of 10 national Kohl’s Cares® Scholarship Program scholarships totaling $10,000 for post-secondary education.
In addition to recognizing Bhakta for outstanding efforts through volunteerism, Kohl’s will also donate $1,000 to a nonprofit organization of his choice. More than 35,000 nominations were received for the Kohl’s Cares Scholarship Program this year.
“Through extraordinary acts of generosity and initiative, Saajan Bhakta has not only made his community a better place to live but acts as an example to others of how the efforts of one can make a difference to so many,” said Julie Gardner, Kohl’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer. “Through his organization PovSolve and positively impacting the lives of more than 3,000 people in need in India, Saajan has gone above and beyond to help others and Kohl’s is privileged to recognize these efforts and invest in his exciting future.”
At a young age, Bhakta witnessed the crippling effects of poverty while visiting India and wanted to help. To better the lives of those in need, Bhakta created “PovSolve,” an organization whose goal is to send $10,000 worth of support and goods each year to those suffering in India. During a recent trip to the area, “PovSolve” purchased and distributed blankets and other necessities to more than 700 individuals in need. To help meet his annual goal, Bhakta dedicates his time to writing grant proposals, publicizing the organization, recruiting volunteers and organizing charity events. To date, “PovSolve” has positively impacted the lives of more than 3,000 people and has inspired more than 600 volunteers to aid those in need. Kohl’s is also thanking Shveta Shura, a friend of Bhakta’s, with a $50 Kohl’s gift card for nominating this outstanding youth.
In Wichita, Bhakta hosts dinners at homeless shelters for local disadvantaged families, volunteers with the American Red Cross Blood Services and is a mentor for younger students with Big Brothers and Big Sisters.
In 2012, Kohl’s celebrates its 12th year of rewarding young volunteers. Since the program began in 2001, Kohl’s has recognized more than 17,000 kids, including the 2012 winners, with nearly $3.5 million in scholarships and prizes. This year, Kohl’s recognized more than 2,200 young volunteers with more than $420,000 in scholarships and prizes. For more information or a complete list of Kohl’s Cares Scholarship Program national, regional and store-level winners, visit www.kohlskids.com. The Kohl’s Cares Scholarship Program is part of Kohl’s Cares, Kohl’s philanthropic program focused on improving the lives of children.