Jiya Patel found her purpose in inspiring the minds of younger generations


Jiya Patel

Junior Jiya Patel has a passion for helping children and the people around her.

Striving to help others at the Oakdale Neighbors Café, junior Jiya Patel was astounded by the profound impact she was able to make on one young girl.

“This one girl I was helping was telling me how she’s not a good reader,” Jiya said. “I was like, ‘Hey, you should just try, and I can help you if you have any difficulties.’ Then, she read so perfectly. I literally sat there, and I was like, ‘You did that. You did amazing. What are you talking about?’ She’s like, ‘Oh, I just never thought I could read because at home, my parents don’t really understand what I’m saying.’”

Through experiences such as these, Jiya has come to understand that tutoring isn’t just about teaching the content; it’s also about demonstrating the potential students have to succeed by utilizing skills that they already possess. This is what Jiya does at the Oakdale Neighbors Café when volunteering once a week to teach first-generation immigrant children who don’t have the support that they need at home. 

Jiya’s goal when tutoring is to boost the confidence of younger students and create a welcoming environment they feel comfortable in. This way, students can understand content when it’s taught at an individualized pace. Each student has their own battles when it comes to education, and Jiya encourages others to find a healthy balance in expectations.

“I think it’s always important to be patient with yourself,” Jiya said. “I feel like I always try to rush things, but then, I remember it’s important to slow down a little bit and figure out what exactly you need to do to get where you want to be. Then, take small steps to get there.” 

The best source of guidance that Jiya has for helping others stems from her own experiences. Putting the advice she gives into action, Jiya has adopted the philosophy, “Grow at your own pace.”

It’s always important to be patient with yourself. I feel like I always try to rush things, but then I remember it’s important to slow down a little bit and figure out what exactly you need to do to get where you want to be.

— Jiya Patel

Jiya’s expertise in tutoring, however, expands beyond the Oakdale Neighbors Café; she has also worked with students at Kumon and FHC’s Academic Success Center in addition to simply assisting her peers. Approaching the world with kindness and understanding, Jiya is dedicated to helping out in every way possible. 

“If anyone ever needs someone that they can talk to, they can open up to me because I know what it feels like to not really feel like anyone cares about you in a way,”  Jiya said, “so I try to make at least the people around me feel [cared about in] that way.”

The best reward for helping others is the interaction and joy that Jiya finds radiating from others—especially little kids. 

At the Odyssey of the Mind regional tournament, hosted at FHC, Jiya volunteered to help out in one of the check-in rooms. Once there, she loved seeing the variety of creative kids and the time they spent to stop and acknowledge her contribution, even if she was only supervising. 

“It was so funny because there were so many little kids who would come in,” Jiya said, “and they would all talk to me, and it was so fun because they would have a conversation with me. There was this one kid in particular; he came up to me and was like, ‘You’re doing a great job. I’m proud of you.’ He was around 10 [years old], and it made me feel so good about myself.”

Seeing the joy on kids’ faces such as this 10-year-old has brought Jiya immense fulfillment time and time again. Realizing her overall passion, she was hit with the realization of what she wanted to be: a pediatrician. No matter where her future leads, she knows that she wants a career helping a younger population, and with other family members in the medical field, Jiya feels that becoming a pediatrician is a goal worth striving for. 

For now, she will continue to make any impact she can in her community and work to provide a better education for future generations. 

“[Volunteering at children’s facilities] makes me feel good to [help] children who might be struggling academically or [with] their own family life,” Jiya said. “If I can help someone who’s not as fortunate, it makes me feel better.”