Art has always been part of Anika Bajpai’s life.
“My mom is an artist and it’s just all I have known growing up,” Bajpai said.
The Southlake teen gets her passion for art from her mother, but the passion for others comes from her own soul.
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Bajpai, 15, figured out a way to use her love of art to make children smile and teach them a new skill a world away. She calls it, "Project Smile."
“Two years ago, I decided that I really wanted to use my talents and my passion to help other people,” Bajpai said.
She and her family took a trip to India. One that would not only change the lives of the children she would meet but also change her's forever.
“We conducted an art camp with 300 students in like 100-degree.
It was pretty cool to see all of those kids eager to learn despite the conditions,” Bajpai said.
Through Project Smile, she was able to donate the supplies. Bajpai was the teacher for a day but said she also learned a valuable lesson.
“Despite what they have and what they don’t have, they still want to learn. They still want to actually do something that they are passionate about,” Bajpai said with a smile.
She continued her mission of making others smile in her community through the Anika Art Foundation as she has made hundreds of holiday cards for older adults and first responders with the help of people in her community. She has also donated 20 pieces of her art to North Texas non-profits. The pieces are then auctioned off at charity events.
Bajpai said she can only hope the work she is doing now, will mean smiles for the future too.
“For me, giving is really important. It’s like one of the most important things in the world,” Bajpai said.