About SWS

Our Story

The journey of Sketching With Seniors began after the pandemic. Our co-founder, Akanksha came up with the concept of Sketching With Seniors after witnessing her own grandfather's mental health struggles during the pandemic. This led her to pursue a non-profit dedicated towards meaningful ways to combat the mental health crisis in the Senior citizen community. After volunteering at senior citizen homes, she saw art classes as a way to improve mental health in senior citizens all while having fun. After becoming a 2022 Ardonagh Trust Bright Future Finalist for pitching the idea, she saw great potential in it. However, with minimal experience with teaching art classes, she partnered up with our co-founder, Claire Jiang. Claire had experiences with teaching art classes with her nonprofit, Project Painting Tomorrow. Claire jiang brought her previous expertise from teaching art classes to children in need and helped build a foundation for sketching with seniors. Claire Jiang's creative vision and expertise along with Akanksha's passion and determination helped create sketching with seniors. Join us on this journey and help us empower individuals and communities. Together, we can make a difference and create a brighter future for all.

Who are we?

Sketching With Seniors is a nonprofit geared toward providing senior citizens with free-of-cost art enrichment to help improve their health. Our unique approach to using art as a way to reduce isolation and make connections is the fun and self -reflective part of it. Volunteers and elders both benefit through this initiative as volunteers can learn skills on how to operate certain jobs in our organization, teach art and spread their passion for art while elders can make meaningful connections with younger people, interact with other elders and find peace in art while having fun!

Our Mission 

Ever since COVID, elderly populations have had declining mental health rates. Social isolation has also increased and correlations between social isolation and elderly suicide rates are shocking. Starting 2030, elderly populations will make up 21 percent of all Americans. So, it is important we shift focus onto improving the lives of the elderly, considering looming mental health declines and disconnection between the youth and the elderly. The elderly are the people who paved the way for us to have our current reality and it is vital that we give back to them.  Our mission is to tackle the problem of senior citizen isolation through our organization, Sketching With Seniors. We will help senior citizens in old age homes, hospices and other spaces that serve senior citizens by providing art classes, free of cost, taught by high schoolers who are passionate about art.  

Our Team

Our team works directly with seniors to ensure that SWS is running as smoothly as possible! We are growing and always looking for new team members to assist us in our journey to bring the generational gap our area! If you are interested in joining our team, check out our page Get Involved.

Akanksha Manna- Co-President

Akanksha Manna is a highschooler at Campbell High School and is the co-president of SWS. She is passionate about helping the elderly and impacting her community. In her free time, she enjoys dance and is an avid podcast listener.  

Claire Jiang- Co-President

Claire Jiang is a current sophomore at Pace Academy. After she found Project Painting Tomorrow, a non-profit that provides free art classes to underserved communities, Claire was determined to continue her passion of spreading creativity. In her free time, she is an avid painter and enjoys playing tennis with friends.  

2023-2024 Board Members 

Amy Tang (Director of Art Development)

Hi! My name's Amy Tang and I'm a rising junior at Campbell High School. As director of art development, I look forward to leading and planning art lessons for elders, hoping to brighten their day and allow them to unleash their inner artists. I've always been immersed in art ever since I was young, so I'm super excited to be promoted to my position. In my free time, I enjoy sketching, hanging out with friends, dancing, and watching movies.

Surya Palsam (Head of Web and Technology) 

Surya Palsam is a rising senior at Denmark High School, located in Alpharetta, Georgia. He loves to play outside, spending time with my family, and he has aspirations of fixing issues around the globe using his passion for business and technology. He currently serves as the president of the entrepreneurship student council at Denmark High School, and spends time volunteering with local Native American tribes.  

Coco Qiu (Vice Director of Operations)

Coco Qiu is currently a sophomore at Madison County High School. She enjoys helping her community in any way possible and spreading kindness. In her free time, she plays club soccer and enjoys traveling.

Sophia Wilson (Director of Outreach) 

Sophia Wilson is a junior currently in Campbell High School's IB program. Passionate about volunteering and social justice, she's also part of a political awareness nonprofit and is the junior representative for Beta club at her school. She loves to play piano and travel in her free time.

Jessica Wang (Vice Director of Outreach)

My name is Jessica Wang, and I'm a rising junior at Walton High School. I've always really enjoyed volunteering in my community and am really excited to continue that passion with Sketching with Seniors. In my free time I enjoy reading, playing games, and playing instruments. 

Manya Das (Head of Marketing)

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Sophie Wang (Media Coordinator)

Sophie Wang is a rising junior at Fulton Science Academy Private School. Ever since she was young, she always had a passion for the visual arts; now, with Sketching with Seniors, she is excited to spread this joy to those who are in need of it alongside the rest of the team! In her free time, she enjoys drawing, photography, singing, and listening to music.

Ananya Rajagopalan (Events/Fundraising Director)

Ananya Rajagopalan is a rising sophomore in the magnet program at Wheeler High School. She is very interested in helping underserved areas, educating individuals, and expressing her creativity through art. In her free time, she competes in public forum debate tournaments and plays tennis for her school.

Justin Wu (Chief of Finance)

Justin Wu is a rising junior at the Atlanta International School. He enjoys volunteering around the ATL Metro Area and engaging with his community. He spends his free time on the golf course and playing basketball, football, and video games with his friends.

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