Brain to Brain
● By Jessie Monsivais
By: Jessie Monsivais Photo by: Lillian Reitz
It’s Your Life Foundation is a local non-profit organization dedicated to service and educating the community to make better life choices. Collaborating with regional school districts, local governments, and community partners, It’s Your Life Foundation works to motivate, create, and sustain healthy habits in the community. Their main programs – Ante Tobacco, KNIGHTS (Keep Nurturing and Inspiring Good Habits in Teen Sleep), and iConquer – empower students to make healthy choices while mobilizing leadership among high-school students.
Sneha and Pranai Reddy are the young siblings behind the foundation's newest branch, iConquer: Brain Health. Sneha, a senior at IWA, and her brother Pranai, a junior at IWA, co-founded iConquer Brain Health to promote awareness of the link between nutrition in children, their learning behavior, and overall brain health.
Geared toward elementary students, iConquer: Brain Health, “Wonderland of Fantasy” is an animated film that follows a group of friends who find a depressed genie in a lamp and travel inside to the Wonderland of Fantasy to help him.
“My brother and I created an 18-minute animated video,” says Sneha. “We drew the characters, came up with the plot, and created a storyboard. We got animators to animate it, and had our movie premiere at Holiday Inn back in November of 2019.”
Deeply concerned by the growing mental health issues in our community, Sneha and Reddy tour CCISD elementary schools, teaching young children the importance of brain development and brain health maintenance through nutrition and exercise.
“My brother and I had this idea, but after writing a research paper for school on the subject, it really pushed me to go the distance and make the movie because it’s a serious issue,” says Sneha. “We go around to elementary schools in CCISD. We’re also working to present it to the elementary school at Incarnate Word Academy. I think that it would be really effective.”
Mental health is an under-discussed problem in the U.S. According to It’s Your Life Foundation’s Executive Director, Zehra Surani, Ph.D., 61,500,300 citizens experience mental health disorder problems each year, which is a whopping 1 out of 5 people. This year, It’s Your Life Foundation implemented the program in October 2019, and within two months reached almost 2,000 people.
It’s Your Life Foundation holds fundraisers every year that help to raise money for programs such as iConquer: Brain Health. For more information, visit itsyourlifefoundation.org. To date, the foundation has reached over 115,688 students and is on the path to educating even more students on the matter.