Vibha Chicago-FMSC Event

FMSC2 Picture (1)by Priya Balachandran

Vibha-Chicago Action Center organized a local community volunteering event at Feed My Starving Children (FMSC.org) Aurora center on a fine Saturday afternoon (06/20/2014). Vibha-Chicago Volunteers and their family members including children under 18 years hand packed meals at FMSC center, turning hunger into hope with their own hands. This is the second time this year we are doing this event. It was amazing that even the kids were patiently and enthusiastically doing the jobs allotted to them for about 2 hrs – measuring, filling, weighing, sealing and boxing the meals.

FMSC’s fortified meals are nutritionally balanced to nourish malnourished children with a blend of rice, soy protein, and 20 vitamins & minerals. The packed meals travel around the globe to nearly 70 countries and reach the less fortunate children through various orphanages, clinics, relief centers, and schools.

Vibha-Chicago Action Center believes ‘acting locally and impacting globally’. Nearly 6200 children die of starvation per day around the world and the packing meals at FMSC is a small step to reduce this number, hoping to diminish it to 0 one day in future. We thank FMSC for giving us an opportunity to do a service that is so close to Vibha’s cause, the child welfare. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram @VibhaChicago.

Vibha Boston Flies High

by Saloni Shah

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The 2015 Kite Flying Festival was held on a warm afternoon with a light breeze. It was the perfect setting for our joyous event. Our volunteers at Vibha successfully hosted a kite-flying event, a happy playtime for children and adults alike. It was a wonderful day with parents teaching their children how to fly kites and the young ones running around the park with their very first kite.We set up a booth where everyone could have their pick….big, small, princess kites and spiderman too! The families picnicking at the Arsenal Park came by to buy their kites and soon the park had an array of colors as vivid as a kaleidoscope, floating above the horizon! After a few hours of play, everyone loves a good treat…and so we had mouth watering Indian dishes like samosas, bhajias and gulab jamun too. We also offered face painting and kite making booths for the creatively inclined. There were little girls with painted faces flying their pink kites, and little boys with their daddy’s competing for whose kite soared the highest, and then there were a few people like me goofy with excitement on flying their first kite.  It was a great effort by all our volunteers who put together this event for a great cause. What a wonderful thing it is when the volunteers at Vibha are able to generate help for the needy by bringing joy and play to the folks here in Boston.”

Lending a Helping Hand

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Vibha volunteers across the world don’t limit themselves to volunteering with just Vibha. They participate in charity work with numerous other charities. Recently, members of Vibha Boston volunteered with Cradles to Crayons (C2C). Cradles to Crayons is a non-profit much like Vibha that helps children in Boston and Philadelphia receive the “essential items they need to thrive.” Much like Vibha, they are focused on helping low-income children that face limitations such as lack of supplies. Saloni Shah along with other Vibha volunteers spent close to two hours sorting books at the Cradles to Crayons location in Boston. “Our task was to check for quality, as only the best books were to be donated and then sort them by age groups.” Shah says. “The sorted books were then made into packages of 3/5 books to be given to a child who may not be from secure social or economical backgrounds.” While three to five books doesn’t seem like a lot, it makes a telling difference for a child who didn’t own a book before. Knowledge is powerful, and even the smallest amount of wisdom gained from reading a book is worth gaining. And it is true that even the smallest effort can help. Shah and the other volunteers dedicated two hours of their time and managed to help over one hundred children receive their own mini library.

Vibha Atlanta Cricket Cup Bowls Another Year

It was Déjà vu for the Future Tech cricket team, almost! Being the title sponsors and one of the best teams of the Future Tech Vibha Cricket Tournament over the years, reaching semifinals and finals on several occasions, they have never won the prestigious cup.  They are often compared to the South Africans as the choking genius of Vibha cricket. Once again, they reached the finals of the Corporate Challenge Cup and batting first they were scuttled out for a paltry 30 runs in 8 overs of the allocated 10 overs. The target was so small – it can be achieved with only 5 heaves across the boundary or sedate nudges in every over – that their opponents Marietta Mahem were sensing victory and visibly excited.

But in the game of cricket, miracles can happen. The Future Tech Bowlers – Niyaz Ahmed,  Surendranath Gandavaram, Atul Chauhan and Ravi Rajput – bowled with such line, length and variation that they gave away virtually nothing to the batsmen. In the second over, the ball from Atul pitching well outside the leg and turning to knock the leg stump of the batsman was the ball of the tournament. The spectators gasped at that and the more knowledgeable ones compared it to Shane Warne magic. Future Tech bowlers never looked back after that ball and their captain, Anj Balusu, rallied the team to an unprecedented victory, by removing the opponents for 15 runs in 9 overs. Finally, the curse was broken and Sravan Vellanki, the Chairman and CEO of Future Tech, was in all smiles lifting the huge cup!

The exciting final on the May 9th made up for all the days lost in April due to the unusual incessant rains in Atlanta. The volunteers of Vibha maintained their hallmark professionalism and kept the teams informed at regular intervals about the weather conditions and made sure that the entire tournament finished in a safe and orderly manner. Srinivas Duddempudi, the coordinator of Vibha cricket this year, said “The enthusiasm with which all the volunteers stepped up week after week and the spirit of the players – some players playing for the cause of the children and some for the love of the game – made it worth our efforts in organizing the tournament. It is inspiring and motivating to see the commitment towards Vibha’s cause”.

 

Never satisfied with the status-quo, either in making a difference to the lives of children or in the innovative ways they raise funds for the cause, Vibha volunteers changed the format of the tournament this year and split it into two parts – A Star Cup for the first 16 non-corporate teams, and the finalists joining the Corporate Challenge Cup of 24 teams. The Women’s tournament was once again a special attraction with the two participating teams Marietta Mayhem and Willow Vanithas playing with a lot of enthusiasm and sportsmanship. Willow Vanithas won convincingly by scoring 52 runs and restricting their opponents to 29 runs.

The 2015 Future Tech Vibha Cricket Tournament was inaugurated on April 11th at East Roswell park by Mr. Sravan Vellanki, where he unveiled the official tournament T-shirt.  He lauded the volunteers of Vibha and thanked the players and all other sponsors of the tournament. The Star Cup final was played on May 2nd between Syrainfotek Willow Raiders and Columbus Strikers.  Willow Raiders won the match easily by bowling extremely well and restricting their opponents to 26 runs and reached the target losing only one wicket.  After receiving their Star trophy and their individual medals, both the teams gained Quarter-finals berth in the Corporate Challenge Cup.

The Corporate Challenge Cup games had started on the 2nd of May with many of the teams from previous years in the fray as well as several new teams. There was the usual mix of exciting nail biters and one sided games in the initial rounds and in the end the two teams that rose above the rest as finalists were Marietta Mayhem and Future Tech, of which the later prevailed in a nail-biter. The captain of the winning team, Anj Balusu commented “As a volunteer, supporter and participant of Future Tech Vibha Cricket, it has been 14 memorable years of accomplishment with mounting pride, for being able to be part of this tournament year after year, win or loose”

The funds raised from this event will be used to support child development projects in India in the fields of education, vocational training, and healthcare. For a complete list of projects supported by Vibha, please visit www.vibha.org/projects.

Having finished one event that is a mainstay of the cricket enthusiasts in Atlanta, Vibha volunteers are already setting their eyes on the next biggest event – The Paramount Software  DreamMile 2015!  One of the best 5K/10K walk/run events in Atlanta attended by close to 2000 runners and walkers, the DreamMile will be held this year on Sept 19th in Forsyth at Collections Mall. Volunteering in Vibha is a mix of fun and the spirit of helping the cause of underprivileged children of India and USA. Please join us at atlanta.vibha.org.

A Vibha Success Story

 

by: Pranayi Pala

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Hello! My name is Pranayi Pala and I am a proud ninth grader from Liberty High School, Frisco TX. I recently received a gold level Presidential Volunteer Service Award for completing over a hundred service hours for the year of 2014. 2014 has been an amazing year for me at a personal level as I spent countless hours volunteering for community service and fundraising events for charitable causes. Volunteering, to me, is a way to give something back to the community, and thanking it for all that it has provided for my welfare. Volunteering not only helps in developing important life skills but also helps immensely in developing leadership skills and self-esteem. Most teens of today’s world, including some of my own friends, don’t pay much attention to the importance of community service. It is often looked upon as wasting time at meaningless and boring events. I was under same impression a year ago until I embarked on this beautiful volunteering journey of 2014. I have to thank Vibha for opening this door for me in the field of volunteering and community service. I learned  right away that if you pick the events and activities that interests you, you’ll not only thoroughly enjoy doing the work but also makes you keep coming back to do more.

The following services are a few that I really enjoyed participating in:

Every year in spring, Vibha hosts an annual Kite Flying Festival. This event is very popular with residents in the Dallas area. I have volunteered at the Kite Flying Festival for many years now, and it excites me so much to see the huge group of guests and volunteers ready for a day of fun. It’s breath-taking just looking up at the sky and seeing the thousands of kites all up in the air at the same time. Even though my work involves assisting festival guests and selling kites, it doesn’t feel as if I am working because I really enjoy doing it. After my shift, I get to hang out with my fellow volunteers and enjoy the rest of the evening.

Around August, Vibha hosts a mini marathon called Dream Mile. It is worth waking up early in the morning to see all the people lined up at the starting line. Every year more and more people are signing up for the Dream Mile, and people of different age, gender, and ethnicity attend the event. It truly is amazing to see the various mix of people gather together on a Saturday morning to stay fit and healthy. I have a lot of fun handing out snacks and drinks to the runners and congratulating them on their accomplishments.

Another marathon-related event that Vibha takes part in is the Plano Balloon Festival that supports City House Plano. City House is an organization that provides emergency shelter and transitional residential services to children and young adults who are in need due to abuse, neglect or homelessness. The Plano Balloon Festival marathon is very popular among the residents of the city, and the number of people that attend is just mind-blowing. I love seeing the passion that various people have, such as small children, senior citizens, and even moms with baby strollers. The water that I provide for the runners is my way of providing support and encouragement for the marathon participants. I sincerely enjoy volunteering for Vibha because all the events are so fun-filled. I participated in several other non-Vibha activities over the years and I can say this with conviction that Vibha events are so much more fun, especially for teens like me.

Ever since I was young, I had a passion for learning and playing music. I started playing the piano when I was five, and I played the viola for my middle school orchestra. With my musical experience, I knew I wanted to do something for the community that involved playing music. Luckily, I found a newly formed organization called Raag Rhythm. Raag Rhythm is a symphony orchestra that consists of middle and high school kids in the Plano/Frisco area. This orchestra is special because we play Indian classical music on western instruments, therefore fusing Indian and Western cultures together into one mind-blowing ensemble. The program starts in September and ends with a concert in March. During the seven month span, we learned six challenging Indian classical pieces, practicing eight hours a month. All the funds we raised with concert ticket sales went to two charities. One was Musical Angels, whose mission is to uplift and improve the quality of life of hospitalized children by actively engaging them in the process of making music with their own hands and hearts. Music is a powerful, non-invasive medium that assists in reducing fear and anxiety. The other charity was Shankara Eye Foundation, an organization in India that provides eye treatment for people with vision disabilities but cannot afford the high costs of treatment.

Another volunteer service that I enjoy doing is helping out at the Plano Public Library System. I have really enjoyed reading books from a young age, so I know I wanted to help out in the library. Although I am not authorized to help check-out books, I help the librarians out with simple tasks like re-shelving and arranging books on the bookshelf and helping out during the children’s programs. I especially love helping out during the youth programs because it gives me the chance to be a role model for the younger generations. Some of the programs that I helped out with were the Children’s Robotics, in which children got to create and build a robot and use simple programming to make it do easy tasks. I also helped out with Family Game Night, an activity in which families could spend quality time together playing board games. During this time, I have gained a lot of experience of how the library system works.

I have also really come to enjoy a new service that I recently joined called Teen Court. This organization is available all the State of Texas, and is entirely run by teens. The jurors and attorneys are all middle and high school students. Being a juror requires no experience whatsoever, whereas attorney requires applicants to complete a training seminar. Although I have no aspiration for a career in Law, I still enjoy being a juror and listening in on the cases. Many people think that Teen Court is like a mock trial, but in actuality, the cases presented before the court are real. The prosecution and defense present their arguments and the jury has the responsibility to deliberate and come out with a verdict. This volunteer service experience has taught me many important skills such as collaborating with others and being a leader.

The above services are just a few of the community service projects that I have participated in 2014. I had so much fun volunteering in my neighborhood, community, and even through Vibha. I possess a vague understanding of the world around me, but I know there is so much more to learn and experience. Volunteering is a win-win situation because the community benefits from all the hours I put in, and I gain valuable knowledge and experience working with other people like myself. Vibha has given me a step up into the real world, and because of Vibha, I have gotten to be a part of so many amazing activities and services. As I look back on all the things that I have done in 2014, I truly believe that 2015 will be even more magical and memorable.

How to sign up for the Presidential Award

 

How to create the account

  1.     Go To: https://www.presidentialserviceawards.gov/register-vo         one
  2.     Create a login per child. Parent can operate the account if child is under 14. Please add Birthdate to keep track of the age category for the award.two
  3.     After you create the account, go to Profile for the account by clicking on the profile button. (If you are under fourteen, you will not be able to see it until your parent confirms the account.)three
  1.     Once you click the Profile button, scroll down to see the Record of Service Key. Click edit and enter the Record of Service Key JFJ-59391 that attaches your account to Vibha Youth Volunteer team (I can then see the youth Volunteer record for certification)four                                                                                                                                                                                                           How to record the service hours
  1.     Go to My Service Tab, click on Add Activity
  2.     Enter Service Activity
  3.     Example: Conducted Canned Food Drive
  4.     Enter Benefitting Organization

a.     Example: North Texas Food Bank

  1.     Enter Date of Service
  2.     Enter hours

Certification

Vibha service award calendar runs from Jan to Dec every year. At the end of the year, we go through the service record and if there is a possibility of getting the award, I review the hours and certify them and National Team will order the award.

General guidelines

  1.     As Vibha Youth Volunteer, we request you support one or more Vibha events per year.
  2.     Please do not submit religious volunteering activities for certification
  3.     If you are supporting organizations other than Vibha, please have your hours approved (signature on paper or electronic copy) by the organizations. You will need to provide a copy upon request.
  4.     Being a certifying organization is a privilege that Vibha team takes seriously. Without proper paperwork, we will deny certifying the hours.

Vibha: Investing In The Future

 

Imagine giving a child a beautiful edition of a classic book, ornately decorated and written in an elegant font. Now imagine that child hasn’t been taught to read. Maybe they will appreciate the rough feel of the paper beneath their fingertips, and perhaps some of the illustrations will tell parts of a wonderful story. But for anyone who has ever truly lost themselves in a book, you know that the true magic, the true joy of the story is in the text. The child can’t access that magic if they can’t read.

Money can sometimes be just like that book: a generous gift with good intentions, but one that won’t last more than a moment. Used, discarded, forgotten, on to something new.

 

Giving the gift of a future is a powerful thing.

From the money you put into the collection tin at your local supermarket to the monthly direct debit payment you make to the charity of your choice, you feel part of something, contributing to a worthy cause.

In the current economically uncertain times we find ourselves living in, giving help to those who need it is even more crucial, and even more difficult. It is hard to know if the money you invest is going to reach those who you intend it for. It is hard to know who to help, because let’s face it: so many people need our help.

 

At Vibha we understand this.

 Vibha numbers

 

It isn’t just about giving money to a good cause. It is about investing in projects that are long-lasting, that will benefit the people we want to help for years to come. It is about seeing the positive results of your help. In essence, it is about helping children have a future that without help, they cannot even dream of.

For over 20 years, Vibha has been the movement that has matched generous donations with exceptional projects. More than $10 million has been invested in initiatives that do more than just give money where it is needed. These projects are set up to help overcome systemic problems and educate – to help people to help themselves.

From new school shoes, to improving reading, writing and arithmetic in public schools, to helping eradicate child labour in the poorest of areas; it is easy to see what a difference is being made, and what possibilities for the future these investments will bring.

 

Our Focus

Vibha’s main focus areas for our projects are:

  1. Education
  2. Vocational training
  3. Care for physically and/or mentally challenged children
  4. Rescue and rehabilitation of children in vulnerable conditions

These are the areas that we believe matter most, because these are the foundations on which we feel great futures can be built.

Please help us build on these foundations.

Please give the gift of hope.

 

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