Q&A With Microgrant Recipient Joseph


Karma for Cara Microgrants help fund exceptional service projects led by youth 18 and under working to better their communities. Read about our microgrant recipient, Joseph, a 16-year-old who along with three other juniors purchased toys for a local children’s hospital.

1.What inspired you to start Steps for Humanity?

Whenever something unfortunate happened in my community, I would always wish that I could do something to help out the people who had suffered. One day, I had a realization that I could help both my local and global community regardless of my age and time constraints and as a result, I became set on turning my thoughts into actions. Along with two of my friends, Arnav Gupta and Varun Patel, we created Steps for Humanity, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping all kinds of people on both a local and global scale. The realization that I could actually impact both my local and global community on a significant scale inspired me to start Steps for Humanity. Instead of focusing on one particular issue, we divided up the year into four portions, each with special themes concerning issues that we believe are most significant on a global and local scale. During each of these four portions, we come up with a project related to the theme of that portion and implement that project in our communities. Through this method, we will always be adapting and focusing on issues relevant to people all over the globe. In the past, we handed out shoes to homeless people on the streets of DC and our upcoming projects will include making shoebox gift boxes for underprivileged youth during the holiday season, and distributing personal water filter bottles to people in Kenya during the late spring.

2. Why is your work important to you?

My work is important to me because it is a tangible outlet for me to help people who have suffered in both my local and global community. I am able to directly see the effects of our efforts. In addition, the officers of our organization attend one of the most competitive schools in the nation and my work reminds me that there are things in life that are more important in the big picture than academics and grades. Seeing people from different backgrounds coming together to carry out our projects humbles me and helps me see the bigger picture on a daily basis. Our projects help me see issues in both our local and global communities from an up close and personal perspective, assisting me in becoming the global citizen that I aspire to be.

3. How did the money from the microgrant help with your project?

The microgrant provided a significant portion of the money used to buy toys. In addition, it allowed for us to purchase supplies that allowed for us to lead additional fundraisers to raise even more money. We were able to purchase and donate about 2800 dollars’ worth of toys to INOVA Children’s Hospital.

4. What message of giving back do you have for others?

Anybody can give back to the community regardless of age, background, or any other constraints. If you have a passion for serving and giving back to the community, then you can accomplish any of your goals for serving the community regardless of any disadvantages or constraints. Furthermore, assembling a team with people that share your passion will be exceptionally helpful in any projects that you wish to carry out. Many people may feel intimidated by the idea of leading a service project in their respective communities, but in order to impact the community, you need to get out of your comfort zone and interact with people you’ve never met or spoken to before. Even the smallest contribution towards your community can help change someone’s life for the better.