June 10, 2018
Hi everyone, our names are Deepak and Anjali Kejariwal and we created this nonprofit, Sweatshirts to Scrubs. We are passionate about medicine and educating kids, and as student entrepreneurs, we decided to turn this passion into a nonprofit organization to help others. One night, we were discussing how we wished we had learned more about medicine and human biology at an earlier age. We felt as though we were exposed to the medical field too late, and thus Sweatshirts to Scrubs was born. We wanted to share our journey of creating Sweatshirts to Scrubs with you, so join us as we blog about all our experiences!
August 17, 2018
Happy National Nonprofit day! We can't believe that summer is almost already over. So far, over the past few months, we have heavily revamped the website and figured out how we are going to lay out each day of our clinics. We decided to spend each day to talk about a different body's system, since it would be much more structured and informative. We are still going to incorporate some of our other ideas (such as healthy habits, possible careers, and diseases), but we are going to center each aspect around a central body system theme. Now, all we have to do is make a PowerPoint and plan the activites that will go along each one. We are so excited to get started, and we will let you know when we do!
December 16, 2018
Hey! We are so sorry for not updating earlier! We have been so busy trying to get this nonprofit off the ground that we completely forgot to keep you guys in the loop. This is the first time we have ever tried to start something on such a big scale, and to make it worse we never have blogged before either! I know it has been a while, but in the last couple of months, we have done so much!
We have reached out to local libraries to confirm locations for our clinics, we have planned what our activities are going to look like, and we further developed our website. We had a chance to meet with some teachers to talk about what kinds of activities will work best with kids, and we are so excited to hold our sessions! We are still waiting on some confirmations from libraries and are working to solidify plans for our school's summer camp (Cool School). That's all for now, but we promise to update the blog stat! Sorry it took so long!
January 5, 2019
Hello again! Happy 2019! All of our locations except one have confirmed. We are starting to make flyers and are essentially finished with the website. We have also created social media pages, so go follow them! (Click the icons on the bottom of the page to visit them). Cool School is all set to go, all we need now is for people to sign up. Registration opens up later in the spring. See you soon, and thanks for reading.
April 16, 2019
Our last location just confirmed! We're now planning on running the program in four locations (Royersford Library, Lower Providence Library, Phoenixville Library, and Cool School) - Sweatshirts to Scrubs is ready to go! We will be opening registration soon, so keep checking back.
April 28, 2019
We have officially opened up registration! Look out for our flyers in your local libraries, on their facebook pages, and in their newsletters! We'll update you when the first person registers, hopefully it's soon :)
May 18, 2019
THE FIRST PERSON REGISTERED! We couldn't be more excited! We have been constantly checking to see if anyone signed up, and have been a little disappointed... until now :) We were super excited to see our first camper, and are looking forward to many more!
June 10, 2019
A lot more people have signed up! We have over 40 kids so far, and even more seem to still be coming. We can't wait to start our sessions. Speaking of which, our first session is only 1 week away!! We will be at the Lower Providence and Phoenixville Libraries. Also, school is about to let out, so we hope you all are looking forward to summer! See you in a week!
June 17, 2019
Hey there, it's Anjali! It's just me today giving you an update because Deepak is in Washington D.C. for a National Competition for a business that he and some other people started.
Today was officially the first session of Sweatshirts to Scrubs and it went GREAT!!! I had two locations today, Phoenixville in the morning and Lower Providence in the evening. Both locations were amazing! Kudos to my Phoenixville Library girls for waking up early and being a part of what was technically the first-ever Sweatshirts to Scrubs program. That says something! They were so calm, cooperative, and interested in medicine, which is amazing to see! They really kicked off Sweatshirts to Scrubs on a good foot! #GirlPower
Don't worry Lower Providence kiddos, you're getting featured as well :) My afternoon session was huge, but I loved it! The big group made it much more fun to teach and there were a lot more interactions and involvement. They were probably the most curious kids I've ever seen! Every time I stopped to ask for questions, there would always be one— I loved it! I can't wait to go back tomorrow and teach them about the Circulatory system, but we're making slime, so let's see how that works with two twins, siblings, and this time....boys! HAHA I'm just kidding, the boys are great, not too mischievous, but just enough to make everyone laugh.
I hope you enjoyed this little update, and we'll be back at the end of the week, probably sad from saying good-bye to these lovely children. From now on its back to Deepak and me writing the blogs ;)
June 20, 2019
We just wrapped up our first two sessions, where we had so much fun. Deepak had a chance to come in today for the last day of Lower Providence since he was back from DC—with a Company of the Year award, too :) We were pretty pleased with the way things ran this week, and Deepak can't wait to see it all from start to finish next week at Cool School. Big thank you to everyone who participated and we hope to see you soon!
June 27, 2019
We just finished our session at Cool School. We worked with around 17 kids— our biggest location yet— during their summer camp. Thank you Spring-Ford for letting us run our session at Cool School! By the way, we added pictures from last week, so if you weren't able to attend, be sure to check us out and see what we were up to.
July 3, 2019
Yesterday, an article on the Patch was released that featured our work with Sweatshirts to Scrubs. We are so thankful and grateful for this media exposure and for all the kind words on social media from those who viewed the story. Thinking back to the beginning, we were not expecting this much support from the community and are extremely appreciative!
Today, we finished our final session of Sweatshirts to Scrubs at the Royersford Library. We are super glad to have had this opportunity to teach children about our passion, and we really wanted to express our gratitude to everyone who has helped us along the way. Special thanks goes to the Lower Providence, Phoenixville, and Royersford Libraries for letting us hold sessions at your locations! But most importantly thank YOU all for either participating in or for signing your child up for our clinics. We hope your child had a lot of fun trying something new, and kids: we really hope you had a blast! If you want to come back, keep an eye out for more information about a session in the fall. That's all for now, and we might not post again until the fall. This was an amazing journey and we really wanted to thank you for supporting us along the way! We are excited to see where this next chapter takes us!
See you in the fall!
July 5, 2019
Ok, so we were really surprised when we looked at our email and saw a message from the youth program coordinator of a local community organization. She was reaching out on behalf of Orion Communities, and she wanted us to run our program for the STEM camp that she was coordinating. She found out about us after seeing the news piece and some kind words from one of you on Facebook. We are going to meet her in a couple days and are really excited to hear more about Orion Communities and the upcoming STEM camp! Thank you for posting such positive feedback on your social media platforms... it helps us grow as an organization so that we can spread our love for medicine with others! We'll update you after our meeting, and we are thrilled about this surprise!
July 10, 2019
Meeting Complete! It was a success. We discussed some possible dates when we could come and run our programs at the STEM camp, and also learned about Orion Communities. We believe it should be shared here, on the blog, because of how powerful and impactful the organization really is. We also linked their website here.
Orion Communities serves underpriviledged families and helps them get back on their feet. They also provide services for single mothers and for children living below the poverty level, which is where we come into the picture. Over the summers, many low income children lose their reduced/free lunches, and this puts an extra burden on the parents. To combat this issue, Orion has created summer programs for children, where they also provide free lunches. During a week in August, they are running a STEM camp, and we were asked to help run it. We feel really honored to be asked, and will definitely take them up on their offer. We can't wait to share our experience with you, but until then, have a good summer!
August 9, 2019
This blog post is going to be a little different than all the other ones. We wanted to write a recap for this past year, as we feel like we have come a long way and grown as individuals. We hope you enjoy as we reminisce, and don't worry we will talk about our time at Orion- we didn't forget :)
The idea of Sweatshirts to Scrubs began back in the summer of 2018, when we were talking to each other (for a refresher, refer to the first post). After a year’s work of planning, we held our first sessions this past summer at local libraries and at our school’s summer camp, called Cool School. While working with students from the Phoenixville, Lower Providence, and Royersford libraries, we had the opportunity to share our love for science and medicine. Through numerous engaging and enriching activities, such as replicating each step of the digestive system with a hands on experiment and modeling the heart’s structure by making slime, students leave feeling smarter and satisfied. After weeks of running our program, we received resounding positive feedback from students, parents, and community members with whom we worked. “[Sweatshirts to Scrubs] introduced kids to anatomy/physiology in a fun way… I couldn’t be more pleased with the $10 I spent [to attend]”, one parent posted on Facebook. Another student wrote, “it was really fun and I learned a lot”. All the echoing words of support caught the attention of a local community organization called Orion Communities.
Our work with Orion impacted us both personally and as an organization. Working with Orion allowed us to have an even bigger impact on our community as we could serve underprivileged students. Seeing the spark that lit up in their eyes when they were engaged in various activities was most rewarding to us. On a more personal level, we were able to interact with children from different backgrounds and experiences. In many of our other sessions, students had at least some exposure to the human body, either through their parents or other summer camps. At Orion, however, this was many of the students’ first introduction which made us feel as though we were making an even greater impact. To be the first outlet for a child to learn about medicine was a special feeling for us, and our time with Orion transcended our initial experiences with Sweatshirts to Scrubs.
We have learned a lot during our journey in creating Sweatshirts to Scrubs. Besides learning a slew of skills associated with creating a business, such as developing a website, contacting local businesses, advertising on social media, and marketing our brand through business cards and flyers, we learned even more skills that will last a lifetime. We learned the value of networking with others and had the chance to form meaningful, lasting relationships with our local towns’ mayors and other individuals who we worked with. These community members would later help us advertise Sweatshirts to Scrubs, reinforcing the importance of professionalism. Being able to interact with new people in our community was another critical benefit from our endeavor. We were able to break through the bubble that surrounds our everyday lives and meet people in our community who had different perspectives and opportunities presented to them. This nonprofit exceeded our initial goal of just teaching children about medicine; instead, it provided us with a diverse range of interactions and gave us the opportunity to meet people we wouldn’t otherwise have met, had we gone through highschool “normally”. We are most appreciative that we were able to share our passion and make an impact —however small— on other children’s lives, as this was our way of giving back to our community.
We appreciate all of you for sticking with us throughout our journey, and we will check back once our fall session starts. We are actually in the midst of updating our website, so don't be surprised if the website looks different when you come later! Bye for now, but you never know, maybe we will get another surprise and we'll update you, like always :)
August 13, 2019
Ahhhhh. FINALLY, we can breathe a huge sigh of relief. To fully share this story, we must travel all the way back to June 2019.
Two months ago, I went to my sister and asked if we could officially become a 501(c)(3) organization. She agreed, and together, we naively did a Google search to see what it would take to become certified. Literally two hours later, after cycling through numerous websites and IRS information pages, we realized that we needed to fill out a 1023 Form. "Finally!", we thought, "All we have to do is fill this form out, and 501(c)(3), here we come!"
We couldn't have been more wrong. You would think the fact that it took us two hours to find the form would give us an indication that nothing about this process was straightforward. But no... unluckily for us we were so painfully inexperienced. We soon realized that this "simple little form" turned out to be 29 pages long, not including additional information we were required to send in. Let's just say the 1023 was more of a graduate level thesis filled with technical and legal jargon than a "form". Another half an hour was spent analyzing the directions, looking up obscure terms, and filling out information, only for us to realize that we had just completed half a page. After a quick scroll through the rest of the pages, we quickly came to terms with the fact that as the form progressed, the words resembled latin more and more, and that we would soon have no idea what to enter. Tired, immensely frustrated, and with extreme detest for the IRS, we closed out all the windows, shut my laptop, and dejectedly gave up. "Isn't it supposed to be encouraged to start a business in America?" I thought to myself. "How in the world does anyone expect an aspiring businessperson to create a company after looking at that monstrosity!" And so our dreams of becoming a nonprofit came to a screeching halt— that is, until two months later.
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Flash forward to a few days ago. In the span between our last attempt and now, we had been featured on the news, our story had been shared on Facebook and Instagram, and we had the opportunity to work with another nonprofit organization. Something about our successive accomplishments stirred up old feelings inside me, and I once again approached Anjali. "Now I know, last time we tried our plans came crashing down," I said, "but there must be an easier way to do this". At the time, I didn't know it, but I was right. After talking with our dad, we found a link on the IRS that was actually pretty helpful. This link told us exactly the steps we needed to take in order to obtain a 501(c)(3), all we had to do was follow them. It was here that we found that there was another filing option for us: Form 1023-EZ. As the name might suggest, this version of the form was an easier-to-complete version of the 1023, so long as we met some prerequisites. Fortunately, we did, and we were on our way. This form was infinitely easier to work with, and within two days' time, our company's name was registered, and the 1023-EZ was complete. After submission, the IRS said that we should get a response on their decision within the next 2-4 weeks, so for now, we are stuck playing the waiting game. (If you couldn't tell by now, the majority of this process is waiting and reading through forms that don't make sense).
I just submitted our last materials a few hours ago, and I am so relieved that this harrowing experience is over (for now). At the same time though, I am grateful that we were forced to do these forms on our own. While it would have saved me much time and irritation, this was a learning experience for me. Besides the obvious chore of filing documentation and records with the government, I now appreciate what it takes to become a business, and I have a newfound respect for those who went through the same process I did. And yes, I suppose we did learn a lot about taxes and how to file with the IRS (two life skills that we never would have learned in school), but I think what is more important is the progression we are making with Sweatshirs to Scrubs.
I know that today, I joined a community of individuals who are not afraid to take their business idea to the next level and who embrace the idea of committment and initiative. But most of all, I know that every time this nonprofit grows, I too grow along beside it.