In the midst of her forties, when Woodinville High School closed, one student decided to make the most of the sudden free time she had.
WHS junior Arushi Choudhury felt empathetic for the young children in the community who were also isolated from their friends without the ability to visit restaurants or other familiar places, she said.
“I thought of ways to help educate the kids, so I thought making a coloring book would be super fun,” she said.
In the summer of 2020, Choudhury founded a non-profit organization that sells coloring books to raise funds to fight gender-based violence in South Asian countries. She said the organization, which is called Color for Empowerment, also aims to protect the oceans and marine life.
For Choudhury’s second book, she wanted to focus on a subject closer to home: the ocean.
She said “How to Save the Oceans,” which came out at the end of September, is both a coloring book and an educational tool for children. The pages full of sea creatures also include crossword puzzles as well as information on composting and recycling, she said.
“Seattle is surrounded by a lot of oceans,” Choudhury said. “This summer, when we visited places nearby, I realized how polluted the oceans are. I thought of ways to prevent this problem and then pass it on to children so that they can prevent ocean pollution in the future. “
Choudhury said she would donate all profits from her latest book to Oceana, one of the largest international ocean defense organizations. The group is also active in the Puget Sound area, she said.
She spent the summer researching the Pacific Ocean and designed all of the graphics for the book on her own, Choudhury said. The “About Me” page at the end of the book shows that the author is a young person trying to make changes in his community, she added.
“It’s a mix of activities that are fun for kids while being educational and informative,” she said.
Her first coloring book “Color for Empowerment: South Area” was published last summer, she said. It showcases the cultures of South Asian countries such as India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan.
“It was really fun researching the story I’m from and sharing my story with kids who might not know much about South Asia,” Choudhury said.
Color for Empowerment has donated more than $ 100 to the Asia-Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence through the sale of the book, she said.
To deepen her awareness, Choudhury said, she began blogging on topics such as Asia-Pacific Heritage Month, Earth Day, and prominent Muslim figures in US politics.
Choudhury said operating a nonprofit had brought her into the world of advertising and marketing, prompting her to pursue a business education after graduating from high school. .
It’s not always easy though, she noted. By selling his first book, Choudhury realized the financial burden placed on community members due to the pandemic.
“I had to understand how difficult it was for other people to buy my books during my quarantine with an economic crisis, but we are slowly restarting now,” she said. “There were times when I felt like giving up because I wasn’t getting as many sales as I thought I would. I persevered because I knew it would work in the long run.
Choudhury hopes to produce a new coloring book every year, she said, and perhaps on a seasonal basis. First, she must relearn how to balance schoolwork and extracurricular activities now that school is back.
“It was a huge blow with things getting back to normal very quickly,” she said. “It was surprising to me and most of my classmates. But overall, I slowly started to get used to what it is like to be a student again.
Outside of the non-profit organization, Choudhury is also interested in the WHS Model United Nations group and the Debate Club. During Model UN debates, she said, the topic of environmental issues and ocean pollution is a constant topic.
“The United Nations model has definitely helped me find my passion for solving community, economic and social issues,” said Choudhury.
“How to Save the Oceans” can be purchased for $ 6.99 and “Color for Empowerment: South Asia” is available for $ 5 from www.colorforempowerment.com.