Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Volunteer Spotlight: Rajul Shah

Native Chicagoan Rajul Shah has been volunteering with Cabrini Connections since January of this year. He was introduced to our program by his wife, veteran volunteer Molly Shah. Rajul and Molly met in college at Rice University in Houston, Texas, where Rajul studied economics. After college, he and Molly moved to Washington, D.C., for four years, before returing to Chicago in 2006. Coincidentally, their parents live just 15 minutes away from each other in the Chicagoland area, making the decision to move back an even easier one.

Rajul used to work serious hours (80 per week!) for a private equity firm; however, he got tired of the corporate world and decided to go into a brief retirement. Thus, since October, Rajul has been simply "livin' the good life." He likes to play sports such as baseball, golf, basketball, and tennis. He also likes to travel. Rajul has been to India, Japan, Indonesia, New Zealand, all over Europe, the Caribbean, and to Bora Bora for his honeymoon. In college, he studied abroad in Austrailia and this fall he is taking some of his friends to Puerto Rico for his birthday. He's a regular globetrotter!

Rajul doesn't plan to stay retired forever, though. He would like to start his own business offering advisory services to smaller corporations trying to make it in the larger corporate world. "I just want to do my own things," he says, which is great. Rajul is proof that you can "do your own thing" one day, but it takes a lot of time and hard work to earn that opportunity.

Someone who's already starting to see the value of hard work is Josue Roque, Rajul's mentee. Josue, currently an 8th grader at Ruben Salazar, is working to get into a top Chicago high school like Whitney Young, Lane Tech, or Jones College Prep. He and Rajul will be meeting in the College Zone to prepare him for the selective enrollment examination in December. That's right; our College Zone helps with high school admissions, too!

Rajul and Josue met several times over the summer to have lunch and catch up. Josue appreciates having an outside perspective - a mentor - to talk to. Rajul facilitated their open relationship by himself being very open when they first met. Now they get along really well... and Josue always brings his homework. Rajul had him calculate how many points he could accumulate over the next six years and it translated to hundreds of dollars! But while money was the initial incentive, now it's just a habit. Great idea, Rajul!

Congratulations on being in the spotlight! We appreciate your commitment to the program!

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