Volunteering Together For Service
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My Experience in Netra Vidyalaya, Summer 2014 - Anirudh Rao Nandella (10th Grade)
During the summer of 2014, my sister and I went to India to visit my parents' families. Being volunteers of VTSeva (Volunteering Together for Service), we wanted to utilize our time well as we were going to be there for a good 2 months. We both agreed that we should volunteer in Netra Vidyalaya, a school run by VTSeva for visually challenged, as we took part as youth volunteers in a Ra:ga event during March of 2014. Ra:ga is a yearly fundraising event in Bay Area, California for the activities of VTSeva, a worldwide nonprofit organization which works on uplifting underprivileged kids & visually challenged kids by providing free education, boarding and food and cancer screenings in the villages of India.
We went to the Netra Vidyalaya school campus and informed the principal of our wish. After asking us a few questions, the principal agreed and took us around the campus. He showed us each classroom and introduced us to the school staff and students. It was amazing and inspiring to watch them read the Braille script, sensing the letters with their fingers.
Please Help Venugopal - Goal Reached
We want to Thank you for your donation to Venu Gopal's treatments. We are floored with the response that we have received towards his treatment. Thank you for all your compassion and generosity. Itâ€™s only because of people like you, We strongly believe that there is hope and love in this world.
We thank you for your generosity and support.
Bay Area VTSeva team.
April 21 2012
Earth Day â€“ Educational booth to promote environmental friendly living â€“ Realize and Respond
The VT Seva Bay Area chapter participated in the City of Cupertino's 4th Annual Earth Day Festival on Saturday, April 21st 2012. The event details were as below:
Where: 10300 Torre Ave, Cupertino, CA 95014 When: Apr 21, 2012, 08:00 AM - 04:00 PM
VT Seva volunteer team of teenagers held an educational booth at this event to inform and educate the visitors about Earth friendly activities that can save the environment on a daily basis.
Amidst 20-30 other booths, VT Seva volunteers gave out quiz questions in order to educate the visitors. Sample questions were:
Taking a shower uses less water than taking a bath YES/ NO
Which home activity uses the most water?
b] Washing Machine?
Several young and old participants alike were delighted at something knew that day at the VT Seva booth. Volunteers gave away VT Seva 2012 calendars to all participants for making the effort learn about our environment and for making an effort to be earth-aware and earth-friendly.
A few of the inspired visitors also showed interest in signing up for volunteering for the VT Seva as volunteers. Simran, Sreeja, Devi, Nandan and Hira worked on putting this event together and were available at the event booth along with the Bay Area coordinator Vasukiji to answer any questions visitors to the booth may have about VT Seva as an organization and its contributions in service the world.
Our volunteers took turns in visiting the other booths that were displayed at the event taking the wonderful opportunity they had to educate themselves even more on what other profit/ non-profit organizations are doing for protecting the environment. One of the booths was giving away free plants for everyone to encourage them to be greener by planting saplings. Another organization gave visitors a number of bio-degradable and non bio-degradable items and asked people to guess how long it would take for each of these items to decompose if left unattended. Our volunteers, though, very much educated in this subject were astounded to know that Styrofoam lasts millions of years in this Earth's environment without decomposing.
Overall, the event was very educational and inspiring for our volunteers as well as all the other visitors. VT Seva continues to support and inspire all Earth - friendly activities.
VT Seva Bay Area Youth â€“ Musical Night, Fundraiser for Cancer Awareness, Prevention and Screening
The VT Seva Bay Area youth team of volunteers organized the 2nd annual Valentineâ€™s Musical Night on Saturday, February 18th, 2012 at the Athidi Restaurant Banquet Hall in Sunnyvale, CA. The event was the result of a very hardworking and dedicated young team of High school students mainly from the Cupertino and the Evergreen areas of the San Francisco Bay Area. The event activities were designed around providing some wholesome fun and sharing the joy with the local community and at the same time, to raise funds for a great noble cause. The team was successfully able to raise enough funds to sponsor about 1000 Cancer related tests such as VIA test, Mammogram test or Pap smear test.
The event started with a brief introduction of the purpose of VT Seva and the purpose of the nightâ€™s event by Ms. Sreeja, an active VT Seva youth volunteer. Then, the VT Seva Bay Area branch director, Ms Vasuki Bellary started the cultural event with a peace prayer. The program followed with some great energetic performances by several young and dynamic volunteers, namely, Ms. Swapanthi, Ms. Hiranmayi, Ms. Anulekha, Mr. Yasaswi, Ms. Ann, Roshni Dance Group and â€œThe French and Indian Warâ€ - a delightful guitar recital was presented by Mr. Christophe and Mr. Hemanth.
The program continued delighting the guests with more songs from old Hindi films - this segment was presented by Mr. Ramakrishna and group. This was followed by a percussion performance by Mr. Nandan. After the dinner, Ms Vasuki presented high-level facts and figures of VT Seva service activities in the local community, across the nation and its outreach projects in India. The next item of the evening â€“ An eclectic Dance Performance by Monta Vista High School Bollywood dance students was cheered by one and all.
Volunteers planned and auctioned off a few â€œmade for twoâ€ gift baskets in line with the Valentine theme of the night - these baskets were well-received by the audience and in the spirit of charity - the bid went from $30.00 and ended at $165.00 per basket. More song performances and a wonderfully exciting coupleâ€™s game later, a Vote of Thanks was presented by Bay Area Volunteer President â€“ Mr. Yasaswi and Co-President and VT Seva Youth Director - Ahish to every one of our sponsors and donors. Our Platinum sponsor - Namaste Plaza - was profusely thanked along with our Bronze Sponsors - Hyatt House, Sri Auto Services, Mr. Neeshat Khan - Dentist, Manisha Jewelers, Mr. Bradley Greene - Dentist, and Joohu.net and so were our very active parent helpers â€“ Ms. Deepaji, Ms. Madhuji and Ms. Sheetalji and even Coordinator Ramakrishna ji who assisted with several meetings and preparation work of the event.
The youth team Mr. Vedang and Ms. Ankita (Secretaries), Mr. Sanchit and Ms. Sreeja (new volunteer coordinators), Ms. Hira, Mr. Sahil and Ms. Anu (cultural coordinators), Mr. Sahil and last but not the least Mr. Yasaswi and Mr. Ahish with the VTSeva Volunteers â€“ who worked very hard in spite of pressures of student lives.
The best of all, the event was able to successfully raise awareness about Cancer - the camaraderie showed by the local community was very encouraging and empowering to the youth volunteers. Most of the youth volunteers are recipients of US President Volunteer Service Award Program for VT Seva. The Bay area VT Seva team is eager to take on more projects and fundraisers such as this one to assist with humanitarian causes that are the pillars of VT Seva.
for photos from the event.
VT Seva volunteers makes a difference in Tanzania
Sri Muppidi, an active volunteer of VT Seva's own words about the project -
In Swahili, the native language of Tanzania, maji stands for water. Water is essential for life. No living being can live without it. However, nearly 50% of the Tanzanian population does not have access to safe water. Every year countless people, most of them children, die from diseases associated with inadequate water conditions. Water scarcity and insufficient sanitation negatively impact food security, life choices, and educational opportunities.
To combat this major problem, I initiated a project to help build water retention systems in Tanzania. The project, entitled â€œ
Magic of Maji
,â€ strove to provide safe, accessible water to a village in Bukoba, Tanzania. I did this by hosting an African culture show to bring awareness of the vibrant African arts to my community and to raise funds for the water retention systems.
VT Seva generously supported this project and looked forward to the success of the project. By collecting a significant sum of money, we were able to successfully fund for the water retention systems as well as a goat pen for the village. Over my winter break, I traveled to Tanzania with my dad to actually work with the community to build the water retention systems and goat pen. Working everyday for over 5 hours in the course of two weeks, we were quickly able to see the completion of the project. This project greatly benefited the Tanzanian villagers, providing a local solution to improve their health and access to education through improved diet and increased income.
It was an amazing experience for me to see the impact of the project on the villagers and how grateful they were for everything. It made me realize how lucky I am and how a small effort on my part was able to make a huge difference in the lives of others. It was a fulfilling experience and I wish to visit once again to see how far the village was able to progress. This project laid the foundation, but the villagers have the drive and potential to go beyond their expectations and really make a change in their own lives.
Overall, my experience in Tanzania had been well above my expectations, and I hadnâ€™t expected the culture and people to be so similar to that of India. I was able to see so many see similarities between India and Tanzania, allowing me to become more accustomed to Tanzania and get over the culture shock of a completely different country. I will never forget my experience in Tanzania, a place that will now always remain close to my heart.
Bay area volunteers organize musical night to raise funds & awareness about cancer
Valentine's Day is celebrated to show one's appreciation for friends, family, and siginificant others. It is a day to celebrate love -- and VT Seva Bay Area youth volunteers have done just that. On February 19th 2011, these kind-hearted kids demonstrated their love and concern towards people whom they have never met and might never meet in their lifetime by hosting a Valentine's Musical Night Event. Though the night was dismal and rainy, the Banquet Hall in Adithi's Restaurant was filled with gaiety and laughter.
In less than a month's time, the youth members put together a show with musical entertainment, dances, and food, to raise money for the cancer awareness and cancer treatment programs going on in India. The main objectives for the night's event were to raise awareness of our organization within our community, and let everyone know about all of our local events and our international outreach events as well. More than 250 people were able to attend the event, and the venue was packed with supporters,, audience members, singers, and our own volunteers.
The youth started off this event with community singing, where audience members were free to come and sing, kareoke-style. This was then followed by a brief introduction speech, welcoming everyone to the event, which kickstarted the youth singing section. Several VT Seva members loaned their voices in singing popular Hindi, English and Telugu songs.. After the youth singing session, all the Bay Area members presented the goals and pillars of VT Seva, and the activies that were done for the past few years for the local community and internationally, and also projected future events to be done. The volunteers were also surprised with their Presidential Award Certificates and Pins -- proof of the hard work they have done over the past year. These were presented to the members with applause and praise ringing from the audience. After this, the adult singing session started.
This event was backed by a great team of youth, who started to put this event together for World Cancer Day with support from their parents in about a time. Despite this, their motivation for service was contagious that night -- new youth members displayed interest in joining VT Seva Bay Area, and audience members made generous donations for the Cancer Awareness Cause. Thanks to volunteers' parents for providing help and support.
VT Seva Bay Area sincerely hopes to do more and moe community service in the future and work towards promoting the mission and vision of VT Seva.
Bay area volunteers organize winter camp
In December of 2010, VTSeva held a children's winter camp to recruit newer members, teach kids about service, and raise funds for local activities. The camp was a major success in all areas and helped VTSeva volunteers gain experience organizing such events. The children in the camp also enjoyed it and wanted to come back next year. The children also learned many valuable skills by attending the camp.
The VTSeva volunteers taught the kids about leadership through worksheets, hands-on activities, and a presentation. Firstly, a few volunteers prepared an interactive powerpoint presentation and the kids about what leadership is, giving many examples and quizzing them along the way. Then, the kids all played games such as Doctor Doctor to apply the leadership principles that they learned. Lastly, the kids were given homework in the form of worksheets testing what they had learned about leadership each day. The parents were very impressed with the results and wanted to send their kids to the camp again.
The volunteers then taught the kids speech, debate, and presentation techniques. This was a great activity that the kids enjoyed. National award winning debate and speech students from high school taught the kids tips and techniques to get their point across effectively. At the end of the camp, several speeches and mock debates were held in front of the parents who were very impressed with the results.
Another activity that the kids took part in was dancing. Two VTSeva volunteers divided the children into two age groups and taught each group one dance to perform in the final show. The volunteers worked tirelessly ensuring that all the children performed perfectly. In the show at the end of the entire camp, the dances were amazing and the parents loved both the dances.
The last activity that the children took part in were the art activities that the volunteers organized daily. They taught the children about creativity and how to have fun. The kids completed a variety of art projects including tie-dying their own shirts. When the camp was concluded, the volunteers and the kids both felt sad that it was over so soon.
Bay area volunteers organize 4K walk for cancer awareness
Everyone was expecting a rainy walk, because of the forecast, but it seemed like even nature wanted to support the cause, and to everyone's surprise, the day tu rned out to be warm and sunny. The walkathon started at 9 in the morning, and walkers were sent in batches of 20-25 members. Some of the enthusiastic walkers carried placards, with anti-cancer promotion, while others handed off information brochures to passersby, containing information on cancer created by VT Seva and American Cancer Association.
Walkers displayed colorful placards with cancer slogans such as "Nip it in the bud", "Arrest Cancer before it kills you", "Early detection is the best prevention", "A minute of smoking brings years of suffering." etc., It was very encouraging to see the group of students, children and walkers distributing the awareness literature to the pedestrians. They have also raised money for the cause during the walkathon.
Many of the participants were strongly motivated and took resolutions towards improving their lifestyle and health. Everyone was happy that a noble cause was being served and they were able to participate in it. T-shirts, walkathon kits, discount coupons from sponsors were given to participants free of cost. When walkers came back they were served with fresh fruits and water. Overall, it was a wonderful program, and renewed everyone's zeal to lead a healthy and stress free life.
Few youth enthusiastic volunteers created signs that said, "Honk for cancer", and motioned to passing cars near different intersections to honk, if they were aware of cancer and its deadly implications. They received over 600 honks=2 0from passing cars in a few hours!
Clubs and students from Notre Dame High School and Monta Vista High Schools volunteered and participated in the walkathon. Monta Vista High School High School Interact club, and the Monta Vista Robotics team both declared partnership to spread awareness to club members. Notre Dame High School's Activities coordinator sent emails out to students to come and participate in the walkathon, and encouraged them to volunteer as well. The students collected pledges for the walkathon and raised funds for the event. A consulting company "Jaya Consulting Inc" matched the donations.
for photos from the event.
VT Seva is a 501(c)3 non profit organization
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