• Our organization was founded in the summer of 2013 by Aditya Balsekar. Since then, the organization has been led by a group of enterprising teens, who have organized each event and chosen the charities we support. Below is an array of the past events Meaningful Summers has seen through. In 2013, Meaningful Summers organized our first event, which supported the Northern Illinois Food Bank. The participants ran a mile in the western side of the Springbrook Prairie (Naperville, IL). The money we raised helped the BackPack Program give hungry children food across 130 schools in 13 counties. Below is a short video explaining the purpose of the food bank and who benefits from their program.

The following year we hosted our second event. In 2014, Meaningful summers hosted a run in Springbrook prairie to raise money for Charity: Water. Charity: Water is an initiative that helps bring clean water to developing, rural communities across the world. The funds collected from this event went to the construction of a well, which brought water to the Maydande Community in Ethiopia. A video describing the scope of Charity: Water can be found below.

The summer of 2015 brought a shift in our previous event structure. For 2015, Meaningful Summers hosted a film screening featuring the documentary Blood Brother.The award winning documentary is about a young Pittsburgh native, Rocky Braat, who on his trip to India stumbled upon an orphanage specifically devoted to caring for kids with HIV/AIDS. Moved by the courage that the kids from the orphanage exhibited against such adversity, Rocky took the decision to devote his life to these kids. The event was a great success. Over 160 people attended the screening and helped Meaningful Summers raise money for the orphanage. The trailer to the film has been posted below. 

The Summer of 2016 was illustrious for Meaningful Summers, as we raised over $3000 for the Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans and brought together over 200 participants in doing so! The money we raised allowed us to donate a number of desperately-needed goods to the shelter's Freedom Commisary. 

We switched everything up in 2017. Instead of planning a singular event, we partnered with Mayor Richard Irvin of Aurora, Illinois and organized three -- a volunteering event at Hesed House, a STEAM night at the SciTech Museum (which was so popular we had to close registration three days early!), and our 2nd Annual Kickball Tournament that raised 1000s of dollars for Aurora-based, youth-centered charities. Click here to see our 2017 Initiative page! 

  • Additionally, since the winter of 2013, Meaningful Summers has organized an annual music performance at the St. Patrick's Residence in Naperville. Participants perform various festive, Christmas tunes to audiences at the home, culminating in a joyous feeling felt by both the audience and the performers. Below are a few pictures from past performances.