Sparkle and Rise founder, Shetal Patel, was always looking for ways to help others. Once she had children, the need became even greater, as they too began asking what they could do to help those less fortunate than themselves. Shetal searched for ways to give back to her community that wouldn’t mean taking time away from her kids but would allow her to involve her entire family in the experience.
Volunteering as a family was more daunting than she anticipated. Many nonprofits in her Austin community had age restrictions or other requirements difficult for children to meet. Some even had waiting lists. Shetal would then end up writing a check to the charity they wanted to support, but that experience lacked something. For her children, it didn’t feel like they had participated or helped.
Finally, when Shetal’s family visited her husband’s family in Africa, her then 15-year-old son found a way to give back on his own. He sold “Shirts for Hunger” t-shirts to friends and neighbors and raised enough money to feed 80 orphans at the Mother Teresa Orphanage for three months. Shetal was in awe of her son and the impact he had on the children they met in Africa. They knew they had to take the idea further.
Sparkle and Rise was born of a desire to provide a platform for privileged but spiritually-hungry children to help children around the world who have much less than they do — children who are hungry for food, care and education.
Sparkle and Rise now serves children in three parts of the world to which Shetal and her family have significant connections: Ahmedabad, India, where Shetal was raised; Lusaka, Zambia, where her husband, AJ, grew up; and Austin, Texas, the place they now call home.
Chief Operating Officer Laney’s passion is to create the possibility of a better future for our children. From Cambodia, to Peru, to Ghana (where she volunteered) to our own East Austin. I’ve learned all children deserve the opportunity to learn and grow and that laughter and love is universal. I left my law firm manager position 10 years ago and started my own virtual, back office paralegal company to allow myself flexibility to travel and be available locally to meet the needs of our children, as well as my own young son. I’ve been so blown away by the participation of the Austin community in coming together to meet the needs and bring some fun wants to these children as well as clothing, reading glasses, soccer balls, money for school lunches and other items sent to Ghana. I enjoy this life with my husband, John, our children John John, Jordan, Maximus and Siena and hope you join us in bringing these children some love and laughter. I know it sounds cliche, but you truly get more than you give from it
You might not be able to change the entire world, but at least you can change a small part of it, for someone.