When it comes to education and opportunity, not just for my family, but also for parents, families and communities everywhere, the stakes are high.
Udeitha is a child of perpetual sunshine, having spent her first eight years in Scottsdale, Arizona and her adolescent and college years in the Golden State of California.
She earned her BA in Psychology from UCLA, and master’s degree in Communication Management from the University of Southern California. After undergrad, Udeitha lived in Pune, India working in internal communications and building websites at Forbes Marshall. Her focus in strategic communication at USC proved useful in her work developing comprehensive communication strategy for the National Parks Service and as a communication consultant at RALLY, a Los Angeles based public advocacy and communications firm where she worked with clients in health, environmental and education policy.
As communications manager at 50CAN, Udeitha works with Team Campaigns to develop strategic communications and advocacy campaigns across all states in the network. She is a new resident of the East Coast, living in Washington D.C. and learning to navigate public transit while on her quest to find the best street tacos the District has to offer.
I aspire to be like D. Sundera Bai. Here's why:
After the birth of her second daughter, my great-grandmother, D. Sundera Bai, found herself running a household on an extraordinarily tight budget. Between her eldest daughter and my grandmother, Sundera Bai had lost several children and more than a little of the money she and her husband had saved. But their insecurity did not sit well for Sundera Bai who, as a homemaker in 1920’s India, had no real options to earn income of her own. It was not a struggle she wanted for her own daughters. Quietly, she began to squirrel away a rupee here, five rupees there, pulling from an already tight budget. She hid coins and bills in her saris, folded away in a small wooden chest. Decades later, when her two daughters married, she gave each of them a special wedding gift – plots of land in their own names, a near guarantee of financial security and independence. Those lands remain in our family. Her wooden chest sits in the corner of my bedroom.
Sometimes the work we do at 50CAN can seem daunting. There is so much to do for so many. But when I see Sundera Bai’s wooden chest, I am reminded that with vision, fortitude and tenacity, even the smallest beginnings can lead to remarkable change.
Why I love my job:
We promised our kids a high-quality education because we know education is the first step toward real, lasting opportunity and change for children across the country. I love my job because every day I’m at the office I’m with passionate, engaged people working hard to make sure we deliver on that promise for every kid, regardless of where they come from.
My connection to public schools:
I’m the granddaughter, daughter and sister of public school teachers. I attended public schools through virtually all levels of my education. Every step of the way I had schools, teachers and administrators who made it their mission to ensure I had spaces to learn and thrive. It’s time to pay it forward.
What I'm bad at:
Getting us from point A to point B. At least know this: with me as co-pilot, what you forfeit in navigational know-how you gain in great conversation!
The image that represents why I work at 50CAN:
When I met my niece for the first time I was surprised to be so deeply invested in someone I hardly knew. As I've watched her and her sister grow, I've realized how much our choices shape their future. Now I get it. When it comes to education and opportunity, not just for my family, but also for parents, families and communities everywhere, the stakes are high. The stakes are personal.