Q&A With Microgrant Recipient Agha


Karma for Cara Foundation awards microgrants to youths 18 years of age and younger who spearhead exceptional service projects in their communities. Microgrant recipient Agha (16) from Ballwin, MO– founder and Executive Director of the nonprofit Literacy Initative–and his team take action on issues that focus on youth across the nation. Since 2017, they’ve involved over 600 volunteers across the US in their efforts to address needs of underserved young students.

For his K4C microgrant project, Agha + team implemented Literacy Initiatives’ Books & Cookies program. Books & Cookies’ volunteers work with students on various icebreaker and reading activities. Students receive a free snack during each meeting and a free book every other week.

Learn more about Agha & Literacy Initiative here.

  1. What inspired you to start this project? When I was in 8th grade, I did a TedEd Club talk for my English class about illiteracy among children and teens in poverty. After that talk, I was inspired to take action on the issue, especially since it is extremely prevalent in my area. After talking with a few friends about the idea, the Literacy Initiative was born.
  2. Other than you, how many student volunteers participated in your service project?  250
  3. Other than you, how many adult volunteers participated in your service project?  0
  4. How many hours did you spend on your project? 1500
  5. How many hours did other volunteers spend on your project? 20
  6. How many individuals were affected by your project?  1250
  7. During the time period between when you applied for a K4C microgrant & when you completed the project, what surprised you?  I was surprised with the growth of the project. We have expanded into 20 locations and have a little under 100 volunteers this winter season. The specific program that the microgrant was utilized for, Books & Cookies, has grown tremendously since last year. The program launched in January of 2019 in 1 school, Airport Elementary, in the Ferguson-Florissant School District. We are now in over 20 locations in St. Louis, Memphis, and Milwaukee.
  8. Overall what did you learn from this experience? The impact that our Books & Cookies program makes on the students. When our high school volunteers visit the schools each week, I’ve been able to see a bond that the volunteers have made with the students. Our goal is to create a mentor-to-mentee relationship between high school volunteers and students, and I’ve been able to see that actually happen through our program.
  9. How will your project continue having an impact in the future? We’ve been growing at a rapid rate and are currently expanding into even more schools and in other cities as well.
  10. How was the K4C microgrant helpful in the completion of your project?  The microgrant has allowed us to buy books and school supplies for students in our Books & Cookies program. Currently, we are supporting around 300 students on a weekly basis which can be extremely costly. This microgrant has allowed us to buy supplies for our program.