For most, a trip to Jamaica conjures thoughts of relaxing beaches, but not for one Fulton County public school student who had something more altruistic in mind.
Amal Bhatnagar, a senior at Northview High School, visited the island last summer to bring medical supplies to some without access to proper health care. He’s made a similar trip to India.
As a result of such work, Bhatnagar, 17, this week was selected as the Georgia high school student to be awarded the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards winner. Kelsey Norris, 13, of Bonaire Middle School in Houston County was the middle school recipient for Georgia.
Bhatnagar, founder of a non-profit called "First Aid for All," credit his younger brother, Apaar, 15, family members and other students for their help in his project. He talked about his work with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Here are some excerpts:
Q: What got you interested in doing this?
A: “I’ve always had this desire to help others and when I was in middle school, during the summer, I’d go back to India and visit my grandparents. I saw because of their elderly age, they were having difficulties coping with their daily lifestyle…I came back at started volunteering at assisted living centers that led me to volunteering at hospitals. I’ve always been a problem solver and so I saw there was a problem with these patients coming to the hospitals and I wanted to help them, so that’s what led me to starting this organization.”
Q: I understand you’ve done mission trips to India and Jamaica. Tell about what happened and what was accomplished?
A: “I organized a trip to New Delhi and we took 50 to 100 health kits and blankets and clothes and we took them to the slums and donated it to the people there….This past summer, I organized a mission trip to Jamaica where we went on a seven-day trip and we went to villages, schools and police stations and we gave health kits and by doing so, we helped a lot of people.”
Q: What’s the next step for your organization?
A: “One of the things that I’m working towards is somehow combining technology with this health care…I want to somehow start a data collection process where the underserved people can have their health checked by physicians without them having to go to the doctor’s office so that can help them monitor heart attacks, blood pressure and biological attacks before they actually occur. That can save tens of thousands of lives a year.”
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Ultimate School Guide has information about the academic performance of schools in Fulton County and across metro Atlanta. Click here to view it.