The Akesh Experience
a subsidiary of the Match Enrichment Fund at BBBS of Metro Chicago
BBBSChi is the beneficiary of gifts given in special memory of Akesh Yelavarthy who passed away in April 2020 at the age of 30. Akesh was from Chicago and graduated from Lincoln Park High School. He and his friends spent their formative years exploring and experiencing all that the city and surrounding areas had to offer. These experiences were critical to Akesh’s upbringing and influenced him as a son, a friend and young professional. Akesh’s network of family and friends chose BBBSChi a partner to honor his memory.
Akesh had a vibrant personality. He was the guy who got the gang together, who encouraged his friends to get out into the world and soak up everything it had to offer. Thanks to him, his friends travelled together, saw live music, went to sporting events. Akesh made sure they spent time together doing things they loved.
The Akesh Experience was created in partnership with BBBS of Metro Chicago to help keep Akesh’s spirit alive. It is a way to enhance each unique match relationship, while providing exclusive experiences that embody Akesh for Littles and their Bigs.
Ready to Apply?
We know being a Big is hard work, and not easy on a budget! Bigs can receive up to $500 from The Akesh Experience for a special match outing or combined package of activities.
To submit an application, your match must be in good standing. This means, outings with your Little are consistent, and you have regular communication with your Match Support Specialist.
Application & Approval Process
- Submit an online application using the link below [TBD].
We appreciate thoughtfulness in these applications! They help us share stories of your match, as well as Akesh’s legacy. We love sharing stories with donors and friends about how the funding has been used.
- Wait for approval. Applications are approved on a rolling basis by Family Engagement Coordinator, Anna Stolz.
- Once your application is approved, you will receive an email with approval status and a breakdown of funding approved.
- To receive reimbursement, please send the following to Anna Stolz, firstname.lastname@example.org / 331.234.7610
- Photos of purchase receipts
- Photos of your match enjoying the activity, and
- Thank you note
- Our team will then submit a check request to our Finance Department, and you will receive a check in the mail for activity reimbursement.
Akesh’s family and friends look forward to celebrating his life and legacy when the time is right. We hope to host an annual event in his honor to come together, celebrate, and even introduce you to a few of the matches who have benefitted from The Akesh Experience. Check back for more details.
In the meantime, if you would like to donate and/or volunteer as a mentor to help ensure that Akesh’s passion, love for life, and profound concern for others thrives across Chicago, you can make a gift toward The Akesh Experience here [TBD].
If you would like to learn more about becoming a Big in Chicago or in your local city, you can learn more about BBBS volunteer opportunities here.
The Akesh Experience Activity Ideas
FitBit for Little and 5K Race
Rock Climbing (best for 12+Littles)
Kayaking in the Chicago River
Brookfield Zoo Backstage Adventures
Shedd Aquarium Experiences
Horseback Riding Lessons
Assorted Dabble Classes
Monthly Art Subscription Boxes
Slam Poetry Events
Program with Young Chicago Authors and Kevin Coval
Private DJ Lessons
Robotics City Workshop
STEAM Box Subscription
Experience Virtual Reality
3D Printing Workshop
Sporting Event Tickets
Cubs Game and club access / Wrigley Field Tours
Bulls Game and club access
Bears Games and club access
**Some matches get together in a site-based group setting. Programs are made up of about 20 matches each. Throughout the current school/program year, all site-based programs will only meet virtually. Group activities that are beneficial and work well in this environment are typically costly due to the fact that supplies, ingredients, etc must be shipped to the homes of the Littles. Is The Akesh Experience interested in supporting virtual group activities such as the following for approximately $750/program idea?
- Art Experience – partner with an art studio/artist to lead an activity; ship art kits for the activity home to Littles
- Comedy/Improv/Storytelling Experience – partner with Laughter for Kidz; they tie comedy into storytelling of life experiences
- Cooking Classes – work with one of the cooking schools to do virtual cooking classes with the program group; ship the supplies and food to the Littles homes. Kids’ Table will create food kits for curbside pick-up, which is a challenge.