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Published August 11 2012

Going big to give back: Davies senior takes volunteering on the road on pay-it-forward trips

Maneesh Apte

Age: 17

Hometown: Fargo

Parents: Dilip and Achala Apte

Future career plans: The Davies High School senior is looking at going to college on either the East Coast or the West Coast. He hasn’t decided on a major yet, but he’s interested in math and science. Maneesh, a saxophone player, is considering a minor in music.

How he makes a difference in his community: Maneesh is so passionate about community service that his impact goes beyond North Dakota. He’s participated in pay-it-forward trips that involve volunteering in multiple cities along the way to another state. On these trips, he’s helped with cleanup at a church, painting a retirement home and entertaining at a nursing home.

With the help of a few friends, Maneesh hosted a golf tournament last summer and raised $10,000 for muscular dystrophy. The effort won first place at the state DECA community service competition and was the fourth-highest fundraising total in the nation for this category.

Maneesh has also served on the board of directors for Fill the Dome, an annual effort to fill the floor of the Fargodome with food for local food pantries.

He’s in the process of determining his next big community project and which organization to help.

Maneesh is also involved with speech, debate, Student Congress, Junior Classical League, cross country, band, jazz band and student council.

What his nominator said: “Maneesh has shown himself to be a great leader and a strong influence on his peers ... He is a good competitor, but more importantly, he is personable and charismatic. … I have also seen him go out of his way to speak with kids who are being left out.”

Why it’s important to him to be so involved: “Ultimately, I want to be happy in my life. I found that being involved with these activities has given me some sort of enjoyment whether it be short term, like for music. I really enjoy just playing and relaxing and doing that.

“Long term, the debate and speech that I do, I know that I’m learning indispensable skills, public speaking that I can use later on in life.

“I like to be busy. I like to have some of my skills go toward the community, which is why I do a lot of community service.”

His favorite volunteering moment: “One of them that pops out right now in my mind is seeing the family that we helped last year that was affected by muscular dystrophy.

“We went over to their house once to spend time with them and just seeing how muscular dystrophy affects them and, like, the reasons why we were just pursuing that money goal, that was one of the most eye-opening experiences that I had, volunteering wise.

“It showed me the link between what we were doing and where it was going. I think that’s important for everyone that’s in community service to have.”

Note: This is the first story in a six-part series recognizing teenagers who make a difference in their communities.

Coming up

Monday: An Underwood, N.D., teen who protects his community

Tuesday: Forest River, N.D., brothers who put others before themselves

Wednesday: Jamestown, N.D., girls who give back through sports

Thursday: A Dickinson, N.D., teen who reaches out to a diverse population

Friday: A Moorhead teen who helps youth thrive through knowledge

Teri Finneman is a multimedia reporter for Forum Communications