By William Carter, Jr.
Nonprofits that help people and give back to communities represent the best of our country. They give people a way to work together for the good of all, putting their shared aspirations and ideologies into practice. They shape our biggest dreams, highest ideals and most important causes.
There are 1.3 million charitable nonprofits in the U.S. that help feed, heal, house, teach, inspire, enlighten and care for people of all ages and background throughout the world. They help people get involved in their communities and become leaders. They also help the economy grow and improve our communities every day.
One of these groups is Xcelerate NC, a Charlotte-based 501(c)(3), nonprofit group that works to help young minds develop and do better in academics. Xcelerate NC offers online math and public speaking classes and raises money for other charities.
Aditi Sengupta,18, and her brother Anirudh Sengupta,13, founded the organization in the summer of 2020. These two siblings coordinate all the organization’s activities and events, and they both teach students through online sessions. They work primarily with elementary school students, but they also provide resources for kids as they progress through middle school and high school. Some of their online students overseas are in their late teens.
Aditi, a graduating senior at Ardrey Kell High School, has demonstrated excellence and leadership in diverse disciplines, such as math and debate. She serves as captain of the debate team and president of mock trials. “[It’s] humbling to be part of other people’s journeys and give back to the community,” she said. “I get plenty of satisfaction from helping others.”
Anirudh currently attends Community House Middle School and is passionate about math, science and the arts, and has won multiple trophies and medals in competitive academics and accolades at math and science Olympiads. He said, “I’ve had great experiences with my mentors and want to give others the same opportunity by mentoring them.”
The siblings started Xcelerate NC in 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic. When several schools opted for virtual learning rather than in-person classes, Aditi understood that students, especially the younger ones, could become easily disconnected from lessons taught virtually. She identified the need to support younger kids in transition to distant learning and recognized public speaking as a skill that children will eventually need.
The public speaking courses Aditi teaches help young children develop self-confidence. “It’s something that we do a lot [in life], so start kids at a young age…telling stories and fun things to get kids speaking publicly,” Aditi said. “We’re helping kids become more comfortable with math in one-on-one courses for typical math classes and competitions,” Anirudh explained.
Anirudh leads an annual math competition hosted by Xcelerate NC called Xpress Math during the winter season. The program creates classes and assessments that help test children’s math knowledge. The curriculum established by Aditi and Anirudh has helped school-aged kids in Charlotte, South Carolina, Georgia, New Jersey, Tennessee and even countries such as Tanzania and India.
One of the hurdles the Sengupta siblings have had to overcome with their educational programs is ensuring that their students have the proper equipment to receive and work on lessons. “One student [in Tanzania] was using a cellphone and [public] wi-fi to login,” Aditi said. To help raise educational funds for students in need overseas, Xcelerate NC partners with other nonprofits like help2kids, which works to improve children’s quality of life and opportunities in Tanzania and Malawi. They also work with Develop Africa, which aims to help meaningful and long-term development in Africa by giving school supplies, scholarships, computer/vocational training and other resources to young students.
Xcelerate NC also receives donations from its one-on-one course and summer camps to help raise educational funding. Outside of their organization, Aditi and Anirudh participate in fundraisers for other nonprofit groups like Breast Cancer Hub, Second Harvest Food and the Exceptional Children Program at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. Aditi said she plans to continue raising funds to provide proper learning equipment for children overseas when she starts college.