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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2015 Vibha Dallas Kite Flying Festival

By: Anjali Gonuguntla

It was a beautiful, bright, sunny, and moderately windy Saturday afternoon at Frisco Commons Park, Frisco Texas. I stepped onto the pavilion, which was swarming with people clad in identical neon green shirts, busily working to arrange kites, briskly opening toys, quickly organizing boxes, and laying out drinks in a hurried, but determined and orderly manner. It was a race against time itself! There were only 30 minutes left till it would officially commence! I was also wearing one of these bright green shirts, getting hyped up to welcome our guests to the festival. I took a confident breath, and ran up to my place on the pavilion – right next to the amplifier and right behind the mic, ready to host alongside Vibha Volunteer, Nimitt Sharma. Within a few minutes, I got the music running, and we had music playing just as the preparation for all of the activities had finished. I took a deep breath, and spoke into the mic:

“Welcome! To this year’s annual Vibha Kite Flying Festival!”

As my voice echoed throughout the park, a large crowd of people started to walk over into the pavilion, and into the inviting fields beyond.  They enthusiastically snacked on food while chatting with each other, sharing jokes, and playing games! All the attendees were dressed in picnic clothes, and many brought their families. The crowd had a large smile on their face, as did the volunteers. “I was pleasantly surprised by the demographics of the participants of the annual celebration of kites. I saw babies and preteens and teens and uncles and aunties and grandparents, all enjoying the idea of fresh air with the rest of the community” said Youth Volunteer Varun Bojji.  The addition of Chettinad Palace catering piping hot Vadas, Samosas, Dosas, Chicken 65, and Chai added a new attraction to this year’s festival.

Vibha KFF originally took shape in 2003. This event initially started out as a family fun event and STEM awareness event on kites.  From a small scale festival 12 years ago, KFF has grown into a large event, attracting around 1500 attendees this year, which is a great accomplishment, considering that 8 years ago, our attendance was a mere 100 people! This year, we had 60 volunteers, of which 40 were from the Dallas VIBHA youth group.

There were many activities to ensure that none of our guests would be bored! Our booths included Kites, Face Painting, Mehndi, Kids Carnival, Snacks & drinks. All booths were very busily worked to keep up with eager customers. Donations came ringing in for colorful kites with their favorite characters.  The girls lined up for mehndi, while all the toddlers had butterflies, balls, and flowers painted onto their faces. Kids of all ages participated at the Kite Making table, unleashing their creative side and giving birth to very unique and original kites, with customized drawings and colors that spanned the spectrum. “The most memorable moment from the festival was when I was helping on the kite making table and I saw these little kids, faces lighting up, as they made their own kite, for presumably one of the first times of their lives.” ~Rooshi Nagar, Vibha Youth volunteer, Age 14.

For the past couple of years, we have had a tradition of hosting an “On-The-Spot Talent Show”. This show involves kids being able to pledge money towards the cause of Vibha, and show off one of their talents for three minutes. This year, the Youth Group volunteers performed dances to kick start the talent show.  People joined in, and were soon in an upbeat mood, ready to show off their talents! The show lasted for two and half hours, and brought in a large portion of our revenue.

The Kite Flying festival has brought together the Indian Communities of the DFW Metroplex. “I enjoyed the atmosphere that the Vibha organization created. Overall, I noticed the positive change that Vibha made by bringing more and more people in the Dallas area a sense of societal togetherness by hosting these memorable events.” ~Varun Bojji, Vibha Youth Volunteer.

Truly Kite Flying Festival is now a tradition our community looks forward to. It is destined to grow bigger and have a larger impact for Vibha.

Find your Everest!

By:  Prathibha Tammana and Photo Credits to  Anjali Gonuguntla

It was a beautiful sunny afternoon in Plano, Texas when a large group of Vibha Dallas Youth volunteers and parents arrived at Parr Library.  Amidst friendly hugs and warm welcomes, everyone was greeted and seated in anticipation of the Award Ceremony. TV Asia media coverage team was all set up and ready to record history in the making! Anjali Gonuguntla, our young and wonderful Vibha Youth volunteer photographer was ready to capture moments of accomplishments as they came about throughout the afternoon.

Presided by Mr. Sanjive Agarwala, Senior Director, Texas Instruments and Ms. Shabnam Modgil, Chief marketing Office of FunAsia Radio 104.9FM, the function promptly began at 3pm. Aakash Tammana, Vibha Youth Volunteer started off with introductions. In attendance were Hyma Mylavarapu, Dallas Action Center Coordinator, Prathibha Tammana, Vibha Dallas Youth Group Coordinator and Arvind Peechara, long term leader and supporter of Dallas Action Center.

This was not going to be just another regular award ceremony – the afternoon was kicked off with an energetic and bold performance by Bubbling Frogs! This group of Vibha Youth Volunteers adopted Vidyarambam, a Vibha project, and raised a whopping $5100 through their creative means and innovative methods such as hand-designed custom flip flops as appreciation gifts!

Deepti Aravapalli, Young entrepreneur from Bricks, Bots and Beakers was our sponsor for the evening. She noted “Today, we are pleased to sponsor Vibha, a remarkable program with a mission to serve underprivileged kids in our community. We hope to continue to work with you, so that we can provide the next generation of Vibha volunteers with the critical thinking skills they need in order to solve problems in our community. In addition, we hope to bring the B3 program to the same underprivileged children that Vibha actively tries to help”. Thank you Deepti! We are very thankful for your support!

As Youth volunteers were called to the stage, one after another, friends and family swarmed to the center of the room with their eyes full of admiration, filling the room with the flashes of the cameras. There were 20 Presidential Volunteer Service Awards given away – 12 Gold, 2 Silver and 6 Bronze. Together, it amounted to more than 1800 hours dedicated to service in the year 2014 alone! It was a proud moment, one filled with a great sense of satisfaction even as we realize we have miles to go!“Find your Everest” said the 2015 Asian American Engineer of the year, Mr Sanjive Agarwala. Quoting Himanshu Parwani, he continued “Find something that you’re passionate about and channel that passion into compassion”. The words shared by this leader could not be more apt for the occasion.

Mrs Shabnam Modgil, Women of the Year 2012, chimed in on the importance of adding creativity to the journey that the youngsters were on. “Add Arts to your passion of STEM  (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)” she said, “STEAM is even better.” After all the cheers, applause, we settled into our tradition of supporting a service project during our monthly meetings. This time, we had the privilege of supporting an impactful organization called Meals on Wheels. For more than 40 years now, Meals on Wheels has fed homebound elderly, sick, and disabled individuals. They deliver more than a million meals a year and do it with the help of a large network of volunteers, just like us. Our service project to decorate lunch bags and placemats for them will bring a smile to those receiving meals. They prove that we care about them and they are not forgotten.

Well, Vibha Youth, You have done it and done it in style! Here is to 2015 and the challenge to give back more to the community we live in!

SVGives Day 2015: New Beginnings

It’s the first day of the new school year.

A group of nervous but excited five year olds are eyeing each other warily from their new desks in their new classroom, from behind new lunchboxes, new satchels and new pencil cases.

Fingers brush against the unfamiliar-feeling uniform, and you can be sure that some of them are already working holes in knees and sleeve cuffs. Neat ponytails are slipping, socks are falling down, and there are already smudges of dirt on some of their faces.

Today is the first day of the rest of their lives, and the world has an infinite number of opportunities open to them. Whatever their dreams are, whatever they want to learn to be, access to a good education is the key each child is presented with when they begin school, and it will open whatever doors they choose to open.

But what if children are never given that key?

 

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A Bleaker Picture

What if there are no desks, no proper classroom, no resources? What if there is no real school, or a school with nothing to offer its students because it simply doesn’t have the funding available?

What if the child doesn’t even have shoes to walk to school in?

This isn’t some bleak, dystopian novel of a possible future. This is a very real scenario facing thousands of children today, where the word new has no place.

No new books. No new shoes. No new anything.

Reality is so much crueller than fiction.

But the future need not be so cruel.

 

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An Invitation To Change

Vibha, through over 20 years of experience and investments of more than $10 million in 250 projects, invites you to do what you can to give these children their very own keys. We are not merely a fundraiser; we are investing in models that will ensure that education – what we feel is a natural, human right – is available to as many underprivileged children as possible.

Vibha invites you to take part in SVGives Day.

On Tuesday, 5th of May, 2015, by donating what you can to this incredible movement for change, you can contribute to the future of a child and give them the same opportunities that you had yourself.

 

SVGives Day Focus

Here is a taste of what we hope to achieve this year.

Target for SVGives Day – $70,000

  1. Sikshana – $25,000 for improving reading, writing and arithmetic levels of 5,000 children in public schools
  2. Alamb – $15,000 for vocational training for girls in basic computer training, garment making, and beautician courses
  3. Samavesh – $12,000 for providing quality education in public education system
  4. School van for HEARDS – $8,000 for rescuing children from hazardous working environments and providing quality education in special schools
  5. My New Read Shoes (Silicon Valley) – $10,000 for helping homeless and low income children look and feel confident by providing them with new shoes and clothing for school

On SVGives Day, between 12am PST and 11:59pm PST, you can contribute to these amazing causes by donating here. You can even pre-schedule donations now. Donations can be made by mobile for your convenience, and you will receive a donation receipt – donations are 100% tax free. If you have any questions the answers are here.

 

What We Ask Of You

Here are the five things we would love our donors to do:

  1. Spread the word! Tell your friends about Vibha.
  2. Mark your calendar for May-5 SVGives event. Donations of any size are appreciated.
  3. Encourage your friends to schedule their SVGives donation.
  4. Make a donation and/or encourage your friends to make a donation to Vibha on SVGives Day, May, 5, 2015.
  5. “Share” your SVGives donation on Facebook and “Like” our postings to show your support of Vibha.

 

Be a part of Vibha. Be a part of someone’s future.

 

 

Please give on SVGives Day.

 

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