A drive for school supplies

Strive for Supplies is a local nonprofit started by two Lenape High School seniors who wish to help their community while sharing their love of mathematics with a younger generation.

From left, Lenape seniors Ajit Sing, and Sidharth Peri pose for a photo with a box of school supplies they have collected through their nonprofit Strive for Supplies in front of the Mt. Laurel Library where they conduct the South Jersey Math League.

Two 17-year-old Lenape High School seniors wanted to find a way to give back to their communities utilizing a mutual affinity for mathematics. The solution to that equation came to them in a brainstorming session that resulted in the nonprofit Strive for Supplies.

As students who know the value of a good education, Sidharth Peri and Ajit Sing decided they wanted to help ensure the younger generation had access to all the tools they need to be successful. Together they decided the best way for them to accomplish this was to collect supplies for young students in their district.

“A lot of times the school has to provide supplies for students and we thought of how many students like us have supplies just laying around that could definitely be put to better use,” Sing said.

“We wanted to improve the educational standards for our area,” Peri added.

A nonprofit seemed like the best way to attract monetary contributions and donations of supplies, so Strive for Supplies was born. 

The first hurdle was raising money for supplies. The students decided to draw on their strengths as members of their high school’s math team to form the South Jersey Youth Math League.

The young men run a series of mathematics competitions aimed at students in grades three through eight, sponsored and hosted by the Mt. Laurel and Moorestown libraries. According to Peri and Sing, the competitions are built around real-world problem solving rather than standard math children are taught in school. 

“It’s concepts you learn outside of the classroom. Instead of solving standard equations, it’s more like applying problem-solving skills and outside-of-the-box thinking,” Sing said of the competitions’ focus.

Middle- and high-school students interested in mathematics often have an outlet through their school’s math club or competitive team, but Peri and Sing wanted to open that world up to elementary students as well. In conjunction with these regular contests, scheduled on weekends, the two students run classes weeknights to teach the types of practical concepts students can apply to the outside world.

“We based it off our past experiences,” Sing noted. “We were looking for something similar when we were younger.”

“One thing we realized is that our math team this year is mainly comprised of seniors, so once we leave, there are only like two people on the team,” Peri explained. “We wanted to make an impact on students who are younger so that when they get to high school, they’ll be prepared to be on a team like that.”

In addition to the supplies they have purchased using funds raised by the math contests, the young men have reached out to elementary schools in their district such as Hillside and Larchmont to set up donation boxes where people can drop off items, including backpacks, pencils, crayons, headphones and notebooks.  

For more information about Peri and Sing’s nonprofit, including ways to donate to their cause, visit their website at striveforsupplies.weebly.com. You can also find out about upcoming classes and contests at the Mt. Laurel and Moorestown Libraries on mtlaurel.lib.nj.us and moorestownlibrary.org.