MISSOURI CITY, Texas - A local middle schooler is getting national recognition for an app she is building to help the elderly.
Tavishi Sinha is only in the seventh grade and is already a nationally recognized app developer.
“The coding experience I had from block coding and text-based coding helped, and in the app, I used a lot of different coding languages,” she says.
The Quail Valley Middle School student lives with grandparents, and her family is seeing firsthand how they’re affected by the pandemic.
“Our whole purpose was not to bring the virus. We try avoiding going out; we try to minimize interaction with people outside,” says Tavishi’s father, Ujawal Sinha. “That’s one of the reasons she got interested in creating an app like this.”
More than a thousand miles away in Maryland, the founders of the organization, Teens Helping Seniors, were sharing a similar experience.
“Our grandparents had to try to cope with the pandemic, and they had to try to make the choice between contracting the virus at the grocery store or getting their necessities and what they needed,” says Dhruv Pai. “Any of the delivery services at the time were either too expensive or didn’t follow proper safety protocol.”
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The teen-run non-profit makes free, contactless grocery deliveries to seniors through 33 North American chapters with interest for new chapters in Europe. Tavishi wanted to help.
“I asked them how an app would be helpful to their delivery process,” she explains.
She spent five months creating a program that would improve the group’s workflow for volunteers and also be entered into the 2020 Congressional App Challenge.
Sinha was also in good company since the organization founders were also previous high school winners of Congressional App Awards.
She upgraded the group’s current method of using a Google Doc to track deliveries, making it easier to edit and update orders and also include the mileage driven for deliveries.
“Our volunteers can just open the app, see all the deliveries that are available, select one that they can do, and they can update us on their status through this app,” says Founder Matthew Casertano. “So overall, it just makes it a lot easier for our volunteers and it also makes it a lot more secure.”
Tavishi was selected as the 2020 TX-22 district winner and presented with her award by Representative Pete Olson. Her app will be displayed at the U.S. Capitol Building and on the House of Representatives’ website.
“It was really fun, and I learned a lot along the way,” she says. “I'm looking forward to making improvements to the app and making it so that everyone can benefit from it.”
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The system is already working in Maryland, and it’s expected to soon be online across other chapters.
“She has a great career ahead of her. She's only in middle school, and she's already made an app that's won a district award,” says Casertano. “It’s not just something that's like a personal fun project, but something that's currently helping people right now, so really just kudos to Tavishi for her work.”
Tavishi plans to expand the application by adding real-time tracking and Teens Helping Seniors is considering possibly adding other deliveries like medications to provide more help to those who need it most.
For more info on the app and the organization, click here.