My GiveLight Journey

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Sonya Maharaj has been volunteering for Givelight since the age of 11. She was very passionate about our cause and exhibited a strong drive to make an impact in the lives of our children, when she herself was still a child. Fast forward, she recently graduated from University of Texas with Magna Cum Laude majoring in Marketing. She held a graduation party for forty of her friends and dedicated her special day to honor our children. In lieu of gifts, she asked her friends to donate to GiveLight and was able to generate enough funds to feed seventy children for the whole week!!

When I was 11 years old, I met Sister (Sr.) Dian for the first time. As an awkward and clumsy pre-teen, I was used to people often overlooking me. But even at such a young age, I always possessed a fiery passion for justice, helping others, and dreamed of becoming a lawyer who helped make the world a better place. Sr. Dian inspired me with her passion, professionalism, and dedication to helping orphans around the world.

When I first heard her share her story, I knew immediately that I wanted to help GiveLight in any way that I could. Most people would have turned away an 11 year old girl, but Sr. Dian welcomed me on her team with open arms. She encouraged me to get involved in various projects, both large and small, but most importantly, she taught me how to carry myself in a professional environment and effectively manage a global non-profit organization. Since then, I have spent the last several years volunteering, completing internships, planning events, and running fundraisers for GiveLight. I owe much of who I am today to my experiences at GiveLight and the incredible mentorship of Sr. Dian. She has always been a role model to me, and I admire her for her strength, dedication, compassion, and leadership skills. My experiences with GiveLight taught me about the importance of giving back to our communities and working to make a difference in the world.

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Ten years later, I graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas with Magna Cum Laude Latin Honors. I earned a B.S. in Marketing, and I am going to be attending law school next fall. When I was planning my graduation party, I felt so overwhelmed by the journey that my life had taken me. Not only am I grateful for my family and friends who have supported me, but also for the incredible opportunities that I’ve been given over the last several years. I realized that GiveLight has always been such a large part of my journey that I wanted to honor the organization and all of the incredible people who are part of it by asking for donations for the organization in lieu of gifts.

I was so overwhelmed (in the best way) by all of the donations that we were able to raise for GiveLight through my graduation party fundraiser. I had friends and family fly in from all over the country, including two cousins from Norway! I felt so blessed to be able celebrate with my closest friends and family, and I felt especially grateful that so many people donated to GiveLight on my behalf.

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GiveLight Foundation is an incredible organization that changes the lives of not only the orphans they serve, but also every person that takes time to volunteer for the cause. I’m so grateful for GiveLight Foundation and Sr. Dian for the guidance and support, and can’t wait to continue to volunteer with GiveLight throughout the rest of my life.

~Sonya Maharaj

We are so grateful for Sonya for carrying her passion throughout her life. We wish her nothing but the best in all her future endeavors.