The Let’s Learn Foundation’s Story

In 2017, 10-year-old Rohan Satija found himself over 7,000 miles from his home country of New Zealand when his family moved to Austin, Texas for work. Soon after he joined his new school, his unfamiliar surroundings left him feeling out of place.

To grapple with feelings of isolation and cultural differences, Rohan escaped through reading. Little did he know then that a school assignment would change his life and motivate him to found the Let’s Learn Foundation, to date, an organization that has donated over 25,000 books and 100,000 school supplies to over 10,000 students in the Austin area.

Empowering Through Literacy: From Personal Journey to Community Success

Books had become an important part of Rohan’s life. So, when his middle school teacher assigned a project for students to study social inequities, Rohan knew just what his topic would be: What he calls “book deserts,” or areas where students had limited access to books of their own. Rohan’s research opened his eyes to the alarming lack of access to books faced by countless children in Austin and neighboring communities.

Determined to make a difference, Rohan and his then-eight-year-old sister, Anya, initiated a journey to bridge this gap. The sibling team started with humble endeavors, setting up a lemonade stand to raise funds to buy books. In just nine months, their efforts grew into a full-fledged 501(c)(3) non-profit with collaborations with 11 school districts in Central Texas, nearby businesses like On Location Experiences and local institutions like the Dell Children’s Hospital.

Subsequently, Rohan’s focus transitioned beyond books to a broader commitment to learning. “Initially, our efforts were concentrated on donating books during our first year,” explains Rohan. “But as time went on, we expanded our scope, and our contributions now extend to over 100,000 items of essential school supplies, in addition to books.”

Fostering Collaborative Impact: From Partnerships to Empowerment Initiatives

The spirit of collaboration lies at the heart of the Let’s Learn Foundation, as evidenced by the diversity of partnerships they’ve struck in only a few short years. Their earliest collaboration was with Round Rock ISD. Success begets success, and today, they have collaborations in central Texas, including Austin ISD, Belton ISD, Georgetown ISD, Hutto ISD and Pflugerville ISD, amongst others.

“We work with these school districts to identify schools in need and ensure our donations reach underprivileged students effectively,” states Rohan proudly. Anya adds, “Through these ISD collaborations, we’ve been able to reach hundreds of thousands of students.”

Rohan’s Let’s Learn Foundation has also championed partnerships with Dell Children’s Hospital, providing books to young patients and promoting education and emotional well-being. Most recently, they’ve partnered with SAFE Austin, a human services agency in Austin. Rohan shares, “SAFE Austin helps us extend our efforts to empower families with parenting support and youth experiencing trauma.”

Another budding partnership is Active Minds, a leading mental health non-profit. Anya chimes in, “We’re working to donate mental health education kits to children in elementary and middle schools. These kits will combine literacy resources with mental health education materials, emboldening students with resources for positive mental well-being.”

Lessons In Collaboration: Insights From the Let’s Learn Foundation

These days, Rohan and Anya are 15 and 14, respectively. Now, with significant collaboration experience beneath their wings, Rohan and Anya cite three of the most valuable lessons they’ve learned so far that have contributed to the success of their non-profit:

Lesson No. 1: One and one make 11. Essentially, this implies that collaboration can create a synergistic effect, where the combined efforts of two individuals can have a much greater impact than the sum of their individual efforts. It emphasizes the idea that working together amplifies effectiveness and potential. “When you’re collaborating with someone, even if it’s just one more person, you have the power to make a much larger impact, as opposed to taking on the load by yourself,” notes Rohan.

Lesson No. 2: It’s important to leverage diverse skill sets. The teen team highlights the importance of recognizing that each member of a collaborative team brings a unique skill set to the table. By pooling these diverse skills, a team can achieve a more significant outcome. This lesson was learned through their collaboration with various school districts, where different skills complemented each other to enhance the overall impact.

Lesson No. 3: Create expanding networks. Collaboration extends beyond an immediate team or organization. Anya points out that through connecting with others, collaboration can have a far-reaching influence. Recommendations and connections from people of different backgrounds and networks can significantly contribute to expanding the impact of a collaborative effort.

United Efforts, Lasting Change

In a landscape often dominated by individual pursuits, the Let’s Learn Foundation shines as a beacon of collaborative achievement. From the modest beginnings of a lemonade stand, Rohan and Anya’s journey showcases the tangible impact of teamwork within underserved communities.

At present, the Let’s Learn Foundation has impacted 10,000-plus students, initiated 31 campaigns and fundraisers, as well as donated over 25,000 books and 100,000 school supplies items. As the dynamic duo forges ahead, both Rohan and Anya will double-down on their collaborative, partnership-focused strategies.

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