We arrange workshops for our young people and have meetings on a regular basis. Beyond awarding scholarships Reach for the Stars aims to generate a sense of togetherness and solidarity, to engage our students so deeply that they become motivated to help other young people and others from their village communities. Some of the extracurricular events they participate in include:
- volunteering in village cultural centers
- working as mentors and role models for the younger ones
- Once a year we organize an open house with the help of our students to encourage potential new applicants and help them with career choice
- Twice a year we organize workshops for extracurricular skills. Our last and successful two-day workshop was about job applications and interviews and was conducted by a young Tamil postgraduate student who now studies and works in the US; an inspiring mentor for our students
- At the beginning of 2014 we organized our first long distance trip together. We went to Chennai by bus and visited two museums
- In 2015 the students chose a distant mountainous part of Tamil Nadu where they could swim in lakes, drink from waterfalls and trek mountain paths. The choice of destination, activities, food, transportation, etc, were all organized by the students themselves
- Each Sunday morning at 6.30am, on bikes and bicycles a group of students set off to Sadhana Forest. There they work at planting trees, building bunds, mulching the young trees, etc, as a prelude to enjoying a good vegan breakfast with the Sadhana Forest community and then taking a leisurely and very pleasant dip in a mudpool, one of the water structures constructed to conserve water for the land.
These successful experiences show that Reach for the Stars is more than just offering academic opportunities to young people. It is a medium for encouraging the development of personal and social responsibility, integrity and the finest human values, without which good community is not possible.