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Local high school student creates educational kit to benefit Boys & Girls Club of Stamford

Putting Our Community on the Map – Fairfield County high school student creates educational kit to benefit local Boys & Girls Clubs

Vihan Jayawardhane, a rising junior at Wilton High School, has created a unique diorama kit to teach kids history and geography in a fun and interactive way. Vihan has started a business selling kits, where 100% of profits will be donated to the “Boys & Girls Clubs of America” - a nonprofit founded in Connecticut that aims to nurture a positive environment where students can grow, learn, and have fun. To start off, he will be supporting the Ridgefield and Stamford chapters.

Named “CraftMap”, his business seeks to teach kids about America's 50 states, with his first kit focusing on the 11 states in the Northeast. Every kit starts with students drawing and coloring a custom dot-to-dot map on the diorama board. For each state, students will: create state signs with background information and fun facts, assemble “Who Am I” fold-up cards with famous people, and fold two state-related origami models (for a total of 22 unique models).

Vihan has also filmed over two hours of instructional videos (that are easily accessed by QR codes) so that students can follow the directions on how to make the origami models he’s included. For example, one of the origami shapes is the rocket that astronaut Alan Shephard (who was born in Derry, New Hampshire) used to get into space.

During the past year and a half, Vihan has been teaching origami classes via Zoom. He reached out to libraries in the surrounding community and beyond and instructed origami classes to help alleviate the isolation of the pandemic. He has taught his classes for the Lewisboro, North Salem, and Chappaqua communities in New York as well as for the Closter community in New Jersey and even for the Dallas and Palo Alto communities in Texas and California. On top of that, Vihan has also provided virtual academic tutoring for refugees and music lessons for aspiring pianists.

While CraftMap is available for sale online through Vihan’s website, his goal is also to partner with local businesses, the backbone of our communities, to sell the CraftMap. With the greater reach of these stores, more children will have the opportunity to have fun learning geography and history and even more children who depend on the Boys & Girls Clubs’ incredible programs will be supported.

CraftMap kits can be ordered through his website here for $25 - starting at an affordable price for families while also maximizing contributions to local Boys and Girls Clubs. 

As Vihan says, “For much of my life, I've dedicated time to teaching, studying, learning, and creating. I've brought together all of these interests to create CraftMap, a diorama where students will be able to learn more about our incredibly diverse and wondrous nation. With my business, I hope to do much more than simply market a product; I would like to serve the surrounding community as well.”

Here are the links to Vihan’s website along with the Facebook page and GoFundMe page he created where supporters can donate to help him fund the production of his kits.

Visit Vihan’s website here 

Visit Vihan’s Facebook page here

Visit Vihan’s GoFundMe page here

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