by KELLEY GUSICH

Alzheimer’s Fundraiser

Carmel Mountain’s La Petite Academy held its first ever national-level competition to select a Kindness Star. Four-year-old Akshaya Jagdish is the school’s first place winner and their representative for the national competition, where she won against five more finalists from Illinois, Texas, Florida, and Tennessee. First prize was $2,000 to the charity of choice and a $2,000 scholarship, along with a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics)-filled backpack to the winner.

The contest involved a one-minute video of a student’s community service activity, and finalists were chosen based on Facebook votes. The entire RB and Poway community came together, along with the national and local chapters of the Alzheimer’s Association (Akshaya’s charity of choice), voting once per day for seven days. Kamala Balasubramanian, Akshaya’s grandmother, said, “This entire process illustrates how a whole community of people voted for their local Rancho Bernardo kid and made her a winner.”

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Akshaya enjoys volunteering and the way it makes her feel. “We teach her to do one good thing at least for others daily,” said Kamala. “Be kind to a classmate, help a teacher with a chore, or help carry something for grandma or grandpa.” She’ll continue to raise money and awareness for the Alzheimer’s Association and she’s already registered for the 2019 Alzheimer’s Walk in September. “This was a very positive experience for Akshaya,” said her mother Archana. “Through the community’s donations, votes, and encouragement, she was able to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and ultimately raise $2,530 for the cause.”

Learn more about the Alzheimer’s Association at www.alz.org.