Skip to content
Neha Bengalore poses for a photo standing and wearing a red Students Demand Action t-shirt
Volunteer Stories

Self care helps you get in touch with yourself after challenging times

I have lived around Tampa, Florida my entire life and have seen how gun violence has affected my friends, family, and community. I joined Students Demand Action four years ago because I wanted to do what I could to prevent these tragedies. Gun violence is preventable, meaning that there is something I can contribute to stop the deadly effects of gun violence.

Mental health plays an important part in the gun violence prevention movement. It can be stressful working with a grassroots organization for a cause, and self care helps you get in touch with yourself after challenging times. Taking time for self care will help you remain calm and motivated so that more work can get done without being overwhelmed.

To prioritize self care, I make sure to give myself time to relax and am deliberate about how I use my time: I try my best to schedule time to dedicate towards Students Demand Action every week. I take time to write down my goals in order of importance. For the most part, my school work gets done at school before I even come home. I also have checkpoints throughout the day to ensure I drank enough water and had enough food.

Tampa Summer Leadership Academy leaders Neha Bangalore, Azra Khan, and Ashanti Johnson pose for photos around a park bench
2021 Tampa Summer Leadership Academy leaders Chetana Movva (top), Neha Bangalore (bottom left), and Taina Patterson (bottom right)

I am most proud of my work in the Tampa Summer Leadership Academy. I enjoyed seeing the students grow as activists and community leaders. I saw them come out of their shells and contribute to the cause with open minds. Seeing their proposals at the end during Impact Day was like a proud mom moment for me. We also started Mental Health Mondays in the Tampa Summer Leadership Academy because we wanted to be able to dedicate time to working on mental health and ensuring our volunteers learn practices that they are able to spread to their future pupils as well. It was convenient that both Monday and mental health start with M!

I am currently attending the University of Florida, where we are starting a new Students Demand Action chapter. One of the leads from the Florida chapter has already started the process to have our chapter become an officially recognized student organization on campus, and I am excited to help her move forward with these efforts.

I keep doing what I do for the millions of people affected by these tragedies. I keep moving forward knowing that every minute I put towards this movement will result in something great. I know what I am doing is not a waste of time. I see the small local differences we make, and I know that those small differences will build up into huge successes.

I want to send a message to my fellow volunteers and anyone who may be interested in becoming one: Your hard work means everything to this movement. I don’t know how many times I have questioned my work, but it was a lot. That was until I felt the immense satisfaction of my first success. It’s all worth it, I promise.

The Latest