‘Inspiring Children to Design, Build and Invent’ in Chantilly

‘Inspiring Children to Design, Build and Invent’ in Chantilly

Rocky Run Middle receives $60,000 grant from nonprofit.

Rocky Run Principal Amy Goodloe (second from left) and her staff with a $60,000 check from Asha-Jyothi.

Rocky Run Principal Amy Goodloe (second from left) and her staff with a $60,000 check from Asha-Jyothi. Photo Courtesy of Malini Puli


From left: Asha-Jyothi Finance Director Seshu Thota, Liberty Middle Vice Principal Greg Hall and Asha-Jyothi Director Kiran Vemuri.


From left: Brookfield Elementary teacher Andrew Orenstein, Asha-Jyothi Finance Director Seshu Thota, Brookfield teacher Sheri Reed, and Asha-Jyothi Director and spokeswoman Kiran Vemuri and Yamini Ganta, respectively.

Asha-Jyothi, a Chantilly-based nonprofit, is aiming to take public education to the next level by providing grants to local schools to build state-of-the-art learning environments designed to spur innovation and creative thinking.

“The idea behind this initiative is to bring together diverse communities and demonstrate the importance of giving back, early and often,” explained Asha-Jyothi founder Sekhar Puli. “Educators are the greatest influencers of the next generation. Through these grants and the opportunities they provide, our hope is that all children will be inspired to design, experiment, build and invent, while believing that anything is possible.”

Now in its second year, Asha-Jyothi’s Educate-Innovate initiative recently awarded nearly $90,000 in funding to 17 public schools in both Fairfax and Loudoun counties, including a $60,000 grant to the 2019 grand prize winner, Rocky Run Middle School.

Rocky Run’s winning proposal will allow the school, currently undergoing extensive renovations, to create a dedicated space for creative learning. It will feature a LEGO wall, podcasting/recording room and a workspace with dry-erase tabletops and flexible seating.

“We are thrilled to accept this grant to build an Inspiration Lab in our new library, which will open by Spring 2020,” said Rocky Run Principal Amy Goodloe. “Thank you, Asha-Jyothi, for your generosity and for inspiring our students to aim high and dream big,”

In addition, two other local schools received 2019 Educate-Innovate grants. Liberty Middle was awarded $2,950 to purchase a vinyl cutter, and Brookfield Elementary received $1,800 to buy Ozobots – small robots that teach students programming skills. Grants are awarded based on proposals from the schools to fund specific requests enabling students to engage in creative thinking and problem solving.

IN ITS FIRST YEAR, Asha-Jyothi’s Educate-Innovate initiative donated $106,000 to build the Innovation Lab at Chantilly High School. This lab offers students access to state-of-the-art 3D printing, audiovisual technology and recording, take-apart technology, writable walls, robotics and more.

To be eligible for funds, local schools were invited to participate in Asha-Jyothi’s annual 5K Run/Walk, held this fall in Fairfax Corner. Asha-Jyothi then donated each school’s registration money back to them to fund education projects.

At the 2019 Educate-Innovate awards ceremony, principals and faculty from 17 participating Loudoun and Fairfax County public schools received checks for their registration, along with a matching amount from the nonprofit. Participating schools included: Chantilly and Centreville high schools; Rocky Run, Liberty and Franklin middle schools; and Centreville, Lees Corner, Brookfield, Poplar Tree, Union Mill, Willow Springs, Oak Hill, and Greenbriar East and West elementary schools.

Overall, in 2019, Asha-Jyothi donated $110,000 to local communities and schools, here and in other states. And according to organization Director Kiran Vemuri, “Going forward, Asha-Jyothi looks forward to even greater community engagement and will continue to fund unique, educational opportunities for students, both locally and beyond.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION about this nonprofit, go to www.asha-jyothi.org.