Chicago High School Students Start Non-Profit To Help Seniors

Maya Joshi, founder of Lifting Hearts With The Arts nonprofit in Chicago (

An Indian-American high school student has taken the initiative to form a non-profit with her peers to help seniors find ways to socialize and enjoy developing new skills.

Thanks to Maya Joshi, the new non-profit, Lifting Hearts with the Arts, was established in Chicagoland two months ago, with a “mission to help uplift spirits through music, art, games or even simple conversation.”

“Art in all its forms has the power to connect us and lift our hearts and minds,” note the organizers on their website.

“In youth, art helps foster creative thinking, boosts self-esteem and establishes a sense of accomplishment. In adult populations, art can prevent cognitive decline by improving memory, reasoning and resilience,” they say, adding, “Regardless of age, participating in art activities helps calm our active minds and enhance our introspective adventures.​”

The organization already has local assisted living facilities participating and is looking to expand nationally, a June 15, 2020 press release said.

“With most schools going on summer break, this is the perfect time to encourage student’s 8th grade and up to volunteer for an amazing nonprofit, which truly gives back and helps our seniors, as well as the blind and visually impaired,” the press release said.

Lifting Hearts for the Arts has created a Go Fund Me page to fund more IPads to be able to supply them to senior homes where there is only one tablet is available for 200 people, organizers said.

One hundred percent of the proceeds of from the Go Fund Me campaign will go to purchasing tablets, art kits and additional supplies. Furthermore, if anyone can donate slightly used devices, those are welcome as well.

A senior enjoying virtual meeting organized by Lifting Hearts with the Arts, a non-profit founded by Maya Joshi, a high school senior in Chicago. (Photo:

Lifting Hearts for the Arts offers both one-on-one and group activities for seniors.

Maya Joshi is a freshman at Walter Payton College Prep.

“I have a passion for the visual arts that has stemmed from my early childhood. Some of my favorite memories come from learning to paint and weave with my grandparents,” she says on the website.

“Finger painting and weaving with a loom was a special way for me to learn about being creative,” skills she said she uses to relax and unwind.

“I hope to create art and new memories with others that they can also cherish and remember with smiles,” she said.

By the end of the second week of the organization’s existence, June 14, 2020, the organization had hosted six virtual bingo sessions and several other game sessions. Virtual painting lessons were ongoing. Art supplies and devices had been donated to three facilities and more packages were going to be sent out in coming weeks, the organizers said.

News outlets like CBSLocal and WGN RAdio 720 had already featured the youth and their work. The Chicago Parent ran an article on their work as well.

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