August 17 is National Nonprofit Day. To celebrate the day, we’re highlighting the stories of 6 college students from around the country who have started their own nonprofit organizations and are changing the world in significant and meaningful ways. Their stories are inspiring examples of how we can all make a difference!
No matter where your passion lies, these stories will encourage you to get involved and make positive changes in your own community.
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Love Your Natural Self Foundation (LYNS)
Name: Sanah Jivani
Hometown: Spring, Texas
School: The University of Texas at San Antonio
CH: What is the mission of your organization?
SJ: The Love Your Natural Self Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, empowers people to celebrate who they are by promoting positive internal dialogue and self-care. We work in 28 countries on 100 campuses to host assemblies, empowerment sessions, and confidence-building workshops.
Our biggest project is the International Day of Self Love. This day takes place on February 13th, the day before Valentine’s Day, because it’s important to love yourself before loving others. Schools, communities, and businesses celebrate this day in person and by sharing photos on social media.
CH: What inspired you to create this organization?
SJ: I will never forget the morning I woke up with all of my hair on my pillow. At 12 years old, I was diagnosed with alopecia. With every strand of hair I lost, I also lost a bit of confidence, until I felt like I was left with nothing. My self-esteem plummeted and I no longer saw a future for myself. I began to wear a wig and struggled with depression and self-harm. As I moved closer to rock bottom, I knew I had two choices: I could either let go of my wig and try to move toward self-acceptance or I could continue to battle depression and suicidal thoughts.
Thankfully, I found the courage to accept myself. I started to practice self-care by attending counseling and slowly learning to love myself. Starting my freshman year of high school without my wig initially terrified me, but every day I grew more confident.
My personal experiences inspired me to step up as a leader and help others in similar situations.
CH: How do you balance life as a college student and nonprofit owner?
SJ: I take it one day at a time. Some days I wake up at 5 a.m. to Skype with schools around the nation, and other days I hang out with friends and practice self-care. It’s important to find a balance.
Sometimes it’s really difficult. Instead of spending my weekends with friends, I am traveling, attending trainings, fund-raising, and hosting assemblies. However, I am passionate about my work. When I see the impact my work has on young minds and hearts, everything is worth it.
CH: How has your organization impacted your own life?
SJ: I always say, “I made an organization to change the lives of others, but it ended up changing my life.” Every time I am able to share my story, it heals a piece of my heart. There was a lot of pain involved in my journey, but I’ve found my purpose through the pain.
CH: What do you hope to achieve with your organization in the future?
SJ: I am a senior in college, and I hope to attend a graduate program that focuses on nonprofit management. After that, I hope to run my organization full time. I want to someday see the International Day of Self-Love printed on every calendar around the world. I know that this is what I’m supposed to be doing for the rest of my life.
CH: How can other students get involved in your organization?
SJ: You can visit my website to learn how to get involved and host an International Day of Self-Love on your campus! I would love to work with you, and I’m always looking for volunteers and interns.