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The Student Voice of Prosper High School

Eagle Nation Online

The Student Voice of Prosper High School

Eagle Nation Online

The Student Voice of Prosper High School

Eagle Nation Online

Non-profit foundation raises awareness for individuals with disabilities

Junior Anisha Mandem establishes NeuroNext group to help others with resource needs
Members+of+the+NeuroNext+Foundation%2C+including+founder+junior+Anisha+Mandem%2C+display+some+of+the+donations+they+collected+for+the+Cook+Children%E2%80%99s+Hospital.+The+team+donated+more+than+50+new+books+and+toys+to+the+hospital.+Those+participating+in+this+Tuesday%2C+Jan.+2%2C+event+at+the+hospital+include+hospital+volunteer+coordinator+Erin+Cockrill%2C+junior+Vivaan+Moharir%2C+junior+Litesh+Danesh%2C+junior+Katya+Kondragunta%2C+Mandem%2C+junior+Kavya+Kondragunta+and+senior+Riley+Wanasek.+Only+a+few+days+remain+in+the+organization%E2%80%99s+current+donation+drive%2C+which+wraps+up+Thursday%2C+April+18.+%E2%80%9CHelping+with+fundraisers+and+seeing+that+the+work+we+do+has+helped+children+has+strengthened+my+interest+in+medicine%2C+and+it+makes+me+want+to+continue+helping+people%2C+Vijayakumar+said.+I+feel+like+I+have+made+a+positive+impact+on+people%E2%80%99s+lives+by+being+a+part+of+NNF.
Courtesy of Cook Childrens Hospital
Members of the NeuroNext Foundation, including founder junior Anisha Mandem, display some of the donations they collected for the Cook Children’s Hospital. The team donated more than 50 new books and toys to the hospital. Those participating in this Tuesday, Jan. 2, event at the hospital include hospital volunteer coordinator Erin Cockrill, junior Vivaan Moharir, junior Litesh Danesh, junior Katya Kondragunta, Mandem, junior Kavya Kondragunta and senior Riley Wanasek. Only a few days remain in the organization’s current donation drive, which wraps up Thursday, April 18. “Helping with fundraisers and seeing that the work we do has helped children has strengthened my interest in medicine, and it makes me want to continue helping people,” Vijayakumar said. “I feel like I have made a positive impact on people’s lives by being a part of NNF.”

It was just a Candygram.

It was just a homemade Christmas card. 

But, it was also kindness.

A way to make the senior citizens smile.

The gesture was made by members of the NeuroNext Foundation, who volunteered to visit retirement homes as a way to spread their message. 

Founder and president, junior Anisha Mandem describes the NeuroNext Foundation as a high-school-led nonprofit group that aims to support and raise awareness for neurological disorders and support individuals in the community. The organization hosts various fundraisers, including donations of books and school supplies to special education schools and hospitals, as well as visiting retirement homes. The organization will be closing its final round of donation collections from Prosper High on Thursday, April 18. Communities in the U.S. and India already have received some of the supplies brought this year by students.

“The idea to start this nonprofit came after I started volunteering at a memory care center,” Mandem said. “I met so many individuals with Alzheimer’s and other neurological disorders, but they were unable to share the challenges they faced with others. One of my close family friends was also neurodivergent, and sitting in regular classrooms was difficult for her. That’s how NNF began.”

We’ve done so many fundraisers and drives, being able to see the difference we can make with those has made me realize that we can do so much more for our community.”

— junior Litesh Danesh

Mandem’s friend was instead enrolled in a special education program in St. Louis, Missouri. The program required various resources to teach the students. Oftentimes, those resources could not be acquired for the students due to availability or to the fact they they were too expensive for parents or the program to provide. In order to promote awareness and provide materials to help those with neurological disorders, Mandem said she founded the NeuroNext Foundation.

“I told a few of my friends that were also interested in pursuing medicine, and they were interested in doing community service and wanted volunteer hours,” Mandem said. “And then from there, I just asked all of my friends, everyone I knew, to basically spread the word, and to share and ask if people from other states or other places in Texas, if they were interested in starting a chapter, so we got a lot of interest for that.”

Since it’s start here in Prosper, NeuroNext has established chapters in other local cities in Texas, including Frisco, Hebron and Coppell. Out of state, chapters are found in St. Louis, Missouri, Ohio, California, North Carolina and Georgia. Volunteers also are located in India and Africa.

“Being in NeuroNext has given me perspectives that I didn’t know existed,” NeuroNext member junior Litesh Danesh said. “We’ve done so many fundraisers and drives, being able to see the difference we can make with those has made me realize that we can do so much more for our community.”

Mandem said the journey hasn’t always been easy. According to her, with the managing of more than 12 international chapters and nearly 500 volunteers, identifying passion for the cause was the most important part.

“I think one of the main things was just raising awareness for the nonprofit and getting people interested,” Mandem said. “And having passionate people, not people who are just going to sit around and not do anything, but people who want to take charge and actually make a difference in their community.”

Having an impact, one individual at a time, is the change I hope to see.”

— junior and NeuroNext founder Anisha Mandem

Junior Teja Vijayakumar is the Frisco Chapter President and has been working with NeuroNext since September of 2023.

“Being an officer in NeuroNext has given me an opportunity to help people and serve my community,” Vijayakumar said. “It has also allowed me to meet like-minded people.”

The Frisco Chapter includes volunteers from Walnut Grove High School, Rock Hill High School, Lebanon Trail High School, Centennial High School, and Frisco High School. The Frisco Chapter was the second chapter to open after the initial one at Prosper.

“Helping with fundraisers and seeing that the work we do has helped children has strengthened my interest in medicine and it makes me want to continue helping people,” Vijayakumar said. “I feel like I have made a positive impact on people’s lives by being a part of NNF.”

The NeuroNext Foundation has held various events including book and toy drives, hospital visits, organization partnerships, disability conventions and bake-sales. Their biggest event so far was a supply drive for special education schools in India. Mandem said that she aims to continue growing her foundation and garner a wider outreach. 

“I hope that with NeuroNext, even after I graduate from high school, there will continue to be volunteers in Prosper and across the country that continue the mission of bettering the future for neurology and promoting awareness,” Mandem said. “Having an impact, one individual at a time, is the change I hope to see.”

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