ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- A Parkway West senior is wrapping up his high school career by helping people who are homeless in the St. Louis region secure accurate information about the COVID-19 vaccine.
Sri Jaladi started non-profit Nano Lending when he was a sophomore, aimed at offering entrepreneurial resources and skills to those in shelters.
"It's been magnificent to see how unhoused individuals have been able to use anything from a Chromebook, computer, power washer, sewing machine, lawnmower or any kind of equipment and really being able to generate revenue for it to reach economic stability," he said.
A few years ago Jaladi approached several area organizations, including Covenant House, to offer the programming.
"It gave them inspiration and encouragement to go ahead and do or try to do things they thought they could do," said John Cancer with Covenant House. "It's one thing to have adults talking to you about this stuff, but when it's someone your age, it seems possible."
Because of the pandemic, Jaladi pivoted his programming to YouTube and Zoom. As he entered his final semester in high school, he wanted to help the same unhoused population access reliable and accurate information about the COVID-19 vaccine.
"The purpose was really to bridge this gap of information that unhoused individuals and individuals in distressed information, unhoused and uninsured, were not going to be able to receive," he said.
He launched www.covidvaccinenotify.com, updating the site with information from the Missouri Department of Health. Once registered, users are notified via email, text or another method to let them know when they are eligible and several nearby locations offering the vaccine.
"I think there are more than 2,000 people registered with the site," he said. "People can access it on computers if a shelter offers those and in some cases the shelters or organizations themselves register those who they help."
"It's great to see how individuals even when they're having to move around are able to get the vaccine and really be able to know when the vaccine is available," he said.
Now that every Missourian is eligible for the vaccine, Jaladi said the website is winding down. But, he plans to continue his mission of helping others, especially the underprivileged, as he transitions to college in the fall.