WITH EMPATHY, KINDNESS
When she’s not reading, drawing or exploring with friends, 8-year-old Rahee Kulkarni might be found recording a new video for her YouTube channel.
Kulkarni, a second-grader at McKinley Elementary School, started her channel, “Explore and Learn w Rahee,” when she was just 5 years old. Kulkarni hopes to help other kids and teach them what she knows with her videos.
It all started with Kulkarni asking her parents tons of questions about the world around her — sometimes too many. She’d watch other people’s teaching videos, and she brought up the idea to her parents one day to make her own.
“We made this YouTube channel for kids around the world to learn,” she said.
At first, Kulkarni’s parents helped with the videos, guiding her on what to say and what to do, but she quickly took it upon herself to run the show, according to her dad, Shantanu Kulkarni.
The channel started with a video of Rahee Kulkarni explaining how rainbows are formed. She went on to make videos about chess, microscopes, plants and the solar system.
“I want to be a teacher and teach science,” she said.
Next, Kulkarni says she’d like to make a video about colors, using bugs as examples. Proudly, Kulkarni says she’s not scared of things like bugs, spiders and snakes.
“I’m not scared of anything,” she said.
Kulkarni says being brave is important, and she’s confident in herself and considers herself courageous. Learning and exploring are some of her favorite things.
But Kulkarni’s skills go beyond her desire to learn and her love for adventure — including in her books, which she reads constantly. Kulkarni’s dad says one of her best traits is her emotional intelligence.
“She tries to always have empathy for others, so I think that makes her very, very special,” he said.
Once, his daughter was at a friend’s house, and the friend accidentally hit her while the two were playing, Shantanu Kulkarni said. Her friend cried and felt bad, yet his daughter’s only worry was comforting her. The friend’s parents texted her dad, saying, “Your kid is very amazing.”
Another time, Rahee Kulkarni saw her neighbor accidentally step on a snail, he said. Rahee started crying “like crazy” and didn’t realize it was an accident.
She asked the neighbor, “What will you answer to the mom of that snail when the snail does not return home?”
In cases like that, Shantanu Kulkarni said, Rahee can be a little too empathetic, so he and her mom are helping her to control her emotions, too.
Both Rahee Kulkarni’s parents are from India, her dad said, and she does a great job embracing her life at home along with her life at school.
“She has been upholding the good values that we bring and we try to instill in her,” he said. “At the same time, she gets what is good from what she sees around.”
Rahee Kulkarni’s family speaks Hindi at home, she speaks English at school, and Kulkarni is currently taking classes to learn Marathi — the language her dad grew up speaking. Kulkarni is also in dance classes to learn Kathak, a classical dance form from North India.
With her willingness to learn, explore and above all else, be kind, Kulkarni’s dad says he’s proud of his daughter, especially when she practices her three L’s — listening, learning and loving — and he’s always surprised when she talks about deep topics like life changes and sometimes God.
Even then, her dad says she always has a lot of fun.
“I would like her to always be like that,” he said, “as she learns and grows more and more.”