Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

Who We Are

Learn about the people and motivation behind FreeFlight

Living in Silicon Valley, the struggle for parents and teens is real. As teens and parents try to cope with time-crunched school routines and days packed with practices, homework and extracurricular activities, the life skills needed to succeed in the real world take a backseat.

“In the Bay Area especially, we get so caught up in the grind that we forget the more important parts of life that are needed. How about continuing on after high school?” says Anusuya Rao, Co-director of FreeFlight Launchpad for Life.

That’s why a few local South Bay parents, inspired by the local Bay Area nonprofit A Future for Every Child (AFEC), launched the FreeFlight Launchpad for Life parent-teen program to address this gap with middle and high school-age kids and their parents. Similar to AFEC’s initiative in India dubbed Launchpad for Adulthood, which supports orphaned children transitioning into independent living, FreeFlight Launchpad for Life has a curriculum that builds practical life skills which are not taught in school but are critical for adulthood.

Parents in the program with young adult children also found the need to broaden their own outlook and embrace different definitions of success.

“We want to show parents and teens that it is possible to support the curiosity and interests of the kids, and also be open to different pathways to independence in adulthood.” says AFEC’s founder Gita Gopal.

“Parents need to expand their own knowledge to help guide students through the complex web of post-high school options, and exposure to alternate career paths is much needed.” says Shoba Iyer, Co-director of FreeFlight Launchpad for Life.

In September 2021, FreeFlight launched its program with a curriculum that spans multiple years and focuses on life skills, soft skills, and role models who are off the beaten path. The program aims to create a community of parents and children who learn and grow together, connected by the desire to explore and embrace non-traditional definitions and pathways to success in a supportive, nonjudgmental environment.

Our Vision: A Launchpad for Life

We believe all children should be empowered to navigate their own unique journey to adulthood, developing self-awareness and confidence while acquiring critical life skills, guided by engaged, informed parents and a nurturing community
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

FreeFlight Core Values

These values guide our curriculum, policies, and organizational practices.

Healthy Family Communication
Freedom with Responsibility
Safe Space
I be Me, You be You
Growth Mindset
Ready to Learn, Ok to Fail, Strive to be Better
Respect Yourself, Others, and the Environment
Fun, Fun, Fun
Work Hard, Play Hard, and Have Fun

The People

Anusuya Rao

Anusuya, a Mangalore native, was born and brought up in Chennai, India. Read More

Shoba Iyer

Shoba was a software professional working the crazy hours with the mantra “insanity now, serenity later”. Read More

Jayshree Subrahmonia
Core Team

Jayashree has a PhD in Electrical Engineering from Brown University and has been working in the high-tech industry for over 25 years. Read More

Dr. Leena Khanzode
Core Team

Leena is a Child, Adolescent and Adult Psychiatrist practicing in Los Altos, California. Read More

Meera Desikamani
Core Team

Meera is a writer, researcher, nature lover, hiker, and mother of two. Read More

Padmini Ranganathan
Core Team

Padmini has over 25 years of corporate experience working in India, Singapore and the United States. Read More

Priya Dharan
Core Team

Priya believes in living a life rich in meaning and purpose. Read More

Ranga Nathan
Core Team

Ranga is a retired technology professional, transitioning into community service, with a focus on wellness and sustainable living. Read More

Gita Gopal

Gita is a retired tech executive now working harder than ever in the non-profit world. Read More

Madan Gopal

Madan has served in senior technical leadership positions in the networking and software industry for over 25 years. Read More

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Skill Building Summer Camp for Middle Schoolers – Mon 7/31 to Fri 8/4
Join us at a Virtual info session on FreeFlight – Wed Aug 17th or Wed Aug 24th at 8pm