Junior Snikitha Banda was recognized by several national awards for serving her community. Nominated by Notre Dame counselor Artemisa Bobst, Snikitha earned the highest achievement of The Congressional Award - the Gold Medal in April.
Snikitha registered for the award at 13 ½ years old after founding her registered 501(c)(3) non-profit Med Life Plus (MLP) in her freshman year. She earned the award for her service through MLP, Sunday Friends, and the Mountain View Day Worker Center. “The award has allowed me to unleash my potential by setting and achieving personal goals focused on volunteerism, character development, fitness, and exploration,” Banda explained.
The Congressional Award is the United States Congress’ highest honor for young Americans. Participants earn bronze, silver, or gold certificates or medals. Each level involves setting goals in four program areas: Voluntary Public Service, Personal Development, Physical Fitness, and Expedition/Exploration. Earning the gold medal requires at least 800 hours over two years in these four areas.
Additionally, Snikitha received the United States Senate Youth Award and a $10,000 tuition scholarship toward the institution of her choosing from California Senator Alex Padilla in May. The California Senate selects two students annually out of 300 finalists from 2,000 applications. The award acknowledges the students with outstanding academic achievement who demonstrate exceptional impact in their volunteer work by leading the initiative for a particular justice issue and empowering other youth in civic engagement. She will be sponsored for a visit to the California State Senate at the beginning of August this year.
Snikitha’s non-profit Med Life Plus serves underprivileged communities by fundraising and distributing first-aid and portable medical information kits to senior centers, homeless shelters, and day worker centers. The organization was commended by Mayor Sam Liccardo, California State Assembly Member Ash Kalra, and the City Council last December for exceptional leadership and initiative demonstrated through donations to downtrodden communities and for the support of the City of San José's Affordable Healthcare goal.
Snikitha also established a chapter of the American Cancer Society (ACS) in her freshman year at school and expanded it to the rest of California. She helped fundraise $12,000 for the ACS, while helping with action plans in research and being an active writer for their daily newsletter. Last year, she was nominated and currently is the National Youth Lead for the American Cancer Society, an honor and position given to one student in the nation who has demonstrated a commitment to service and admirable leadership in their community for cancer. She leads youth representatives in all 50 states to continue driving the force for combating cancer. Snikitha’s work through ACS has been commended by the mayor in last September for bringing light to healthcare affordability in San Jose.