The Bay Area recently held their 5K/10K Dream Mile on June 28 2009, and it turned out to be the most successful Dream Mile ever. Do you want to know how it happened, what the volunteers did, how they felt after?
These are some voices from the Bay Area Dream Mile 2009 team – they will speak in their own words about what the event meant to them, what they felt was the highlight and what impact it has left on our action center. ? Read on….
Raja Gobi – chairman emeritus 😉 of the BA action center [BAAC]
“What can I say? It is easily the biggest Dream Mile I have been part of and my vocabulary is not strong enough to express my thoughts. To achieve something of this magnitude in a recessionary economy is more proof that whatever flowery language I can come up with. I felt that the core team of brand new volunteers subscribed to the true nature of the event wholeheartedly and starting running at 100 mph off the blocks. It was really refreshing to see the friendly competitions and how they used that to boost the results in a constructive manner was a breath of fresh air. Hats off the entire core team.”
Muthu – ex- Vibha-COO, current member BAAC.
“Prioritization – last year there was this aspect of we need to do this, we need to do that etc, whereas, relatively speaking, this year there was a greater focus, and better execution on what was decided on.
Better understanding of roles and responsibilities – This is both with the core leads at the top and every volunteer in the chain of command and is a clear marker for success.
Now to the volunteer part – I’ve never seen a Vibha event handling an excess of volunteers. Case in point is this guy Pierre who was in parking. Just finished high school, non-desi, never heard of Vibha before, just saw something about us wanting volunteers online and came in to volunteer.”
Balaji Rajam, 6+ years in the BAAC, member- National Marketing Team, Vibha
“During my second week at Vibha, we (the sponsorship team) met with the (now defunct) Biz-dev team. We were sitting around discussing potential sponsors. I suggested that we should be approaching companies like Gatorade & PowerAde. I was shot down saying “We are not big enough for them to be interested in us”. So seeing PowerAde folks handing out their beverages at the finish line was sort of a vindication for me. Even better was the fact that they approached us. I think that speaks volumes about how far we have come. “
Mukesh Mirchandani, National Fund-Raising Director, Vibha
“All I can say is that I am happy and content. The commitment of the newbie’s to Vibha’s cause of helping the underprivileged was on full display yesterday. Brilliant, all-round perfection. “
James Phillip, 7+ years in the BAAC
“Questions this time leading up to the Dream Mile were – How do we handle 900+ participants? When do we cut off on the day registration – 300, 350 or 400? And this amazing transition from eons ago (seems distant now 😉 where we worried about increasing registrations was truly made possible by a newbie-powered Dream Team who dreamed big, executed well and inspired everyone.”
Milind Sonawane, 6+ years in the BAAC
“Truly amazing experience it was at the Dream Mile, seeing close to a thousand runners and walkers behind the lead biker. In 6 years, this was my first race start that I had seen, and it was great. Actually we can say that, we are not very far from seeing tens of thousands of runners in Vibha dream mile given the set of turbo charged volunteers we had this year. Especially the new volunteers (Vivek, Ribhu, Prashanth, and Shravan) who had energy like I have never seen before.”
Anand Aravindan, 8+ years in the BAAC
- Factual achievements – A decade of the Walk in the Bay Area, the largest in terms of volunteers, pre-paid registrants and total registrants. A successful pledge drive.
- Innovative solutions – The Vibha branded paper weights that I never got to see, Tap-smack tattoos, twitter and face book for publicity, page hits to track impact, ‘
- Dedication # 1 – new vols who came in and took on tasks that were daunting, but in handling them injected a new life into them…
- Dedication # 2 – experience spoke volumes! Inventory, booths setup, registrations, water stations, trails & signs, volunteer relations, décor, carnival, food, sponsorships. If something appeared to have been an easy task from outside, it’s because the execution of the task has been distilled down to a science. “
Rajesh Haridas, COO Vibha.
“940 Registrations, 30K Plus in Pledges, 100 Plus Volunteers!!!!!! The super-motivated, new volunteers created the momentum and nothing could hold them back. In fact it inspired everyone to put in their 100%. The ACC’s played a crucial role in providing the right leadership. The execution on the day was truly awesome. Even when we hit a road block we didn’t panic, instead found a Plan B and ensured that the event started on time. Our volunteers managed to carry 70 A-stands on their shoulder to set up the trail on a very hot day. That clearly shows the commitment of this team.”
Umesh Lakshman – Bay Area ACC
“First of all, I believe the newbie’s to Vibha, stepped it up a notch. The pillars of the event, registrations and publicity, along with Logistics were some of the best planned and executed portions of this event. Ribhu, Prashanth, Harini, Taniya, Vivek, Shravan; you guys are the future of Vibha.
But I think what I have truly witnessed is a result of great teamwork and synergy between the new & old, the dreamers and the doers, the calm and the crazy, and last by not least…the leaders and the leaders… Yes, all of the volunteers yesterday stepped it up and lead something to ensure the event went as planned…”
Bahi Anandarengan- Bay Area ACC
“These numbers are truly awesome. I and Vikram started volunteering around the same time for 2004 Run/Walk and first time at Shoreline too… The no. of registrations and pledge pretty much doubled over years. It’s amazing to see the new volunteers like Prashanth, Ribhu, Shravan and Vivek took up tasks and enabled taking this event to new heights under the able mentoring from Vikram, Balaji, Umesh, & Mukesh. I would like to mention my special Thanks and Congratulations to the Dream Mile 2009 Core Team Members for spending their valuable time for last several months and set this new record.”
Vikram Chandran – – Bay Area ACC
“When I assumed the position of acting lead for the Walk in May, I was a little apprehensive of the task ahead of us this year for the Dream Mile. I was wrong!!!
To give you some idea of the magnitude of our achievement – In 2008, we had 600+ runners, 57 volunteers on race day, and raised $24,000 in pledges. Dream Mile 2008 by any standards, was a big success for us.
In 2009, we had 940 registered runners, 140 [yes, you read that right] volunteers on race day, and an incredible $34,000 in pledges! We have officially made the Dream Mile a $50K event this year.
This could not have happened without the incredible, whole-hearted commitment of our volunteers to this task. As ACC’s – Umesh, Bahi and I are proud to be part of such an enthusiastic, passionate, and dedicated group of people.”
Anand Kumar, 6+ years at BAAC
“I am just simply amazed at the biggest walk I’ve ever seen in all these years. All the new leads came up with a fresh new perspective on things. The proof just lies in the numbers they pulled in, both in runners, and the pledge raised. Special thanks to Anand and Taniya/Harini for efficient organization, and keeping us sane.”
Taniya Baveja, 3 years at Vibha, Volunteer Relations Team lead – Bay Area Action Center
“Dream Mile 2009! When the planning for this event began, all we started with were tough goals, big ambitions and a great team with passions that ran deep. My involvement with the event started with booth publicity at the Pat Tillman race -Prashant and Ribhu’s infectious zest to drive the publicity efforts hit me.
Harini – whatever is said about this outstanding person may not be enough. Barely a week away from the event – I had to travel out of town for work. Harini took up the reins to deal with the ballooning volunteer requirements from all sides. Harini took up this onerous task of balancing volunteers available and dealing with the leads with a cool demeanor that is rare!
To the volunteers who came on the day of event, we wish to thank you ever so much! Whatever your role and involvement was, you were an important piece of a puzzle, which came together beautifully to present a fantastic picture – The Vibha Dream Mile 2009!!! Kudos to all of you.”
Mahadev Konar, 3 years at Vibha, Signs/Trail lead for Dream Mile 09
“My take: Awesome work by the new DreamMile team. It was just unbelievalbe to see 750 folks running on the trail on such a hot day!! Also, great work on logistics on DOE!”
Prashanth Ganapathy & Ribhu Pathria – 3 months at Vibha, Publicity leads – Dream Mile 09
Ribhu – “It was our second meeting and Mukesh was on a roll about how much fun and important, Dream Mile publicity is. Prashanth nodded his head for Dream Mile publicity, and I followed him. Thanks to the help and guidance of all fellow volunteers, the whole publicity effort seems to be not so difficult a task. We have a nice mix of volunteers in Bay area, and it was a lot of fun at meeting discussing all the brilliant ideas.”
Prashanth – “The Publicity Team sets the ball rolling for the Dream Mile every year. How it does, sets the mood, and gives direction to the rest of the team. Ribhu and I had no idea what it would take to publicize the event. But Kamakshi (previous year’s lead) had done a great job in 2008. We simply used her model of publicity as the guiding force. In the beginning, our goal was to at least reach last year’s number of 650 total registrations. But as we went along we realized we were going where Vibha Bay Area hadn’t treaded before.”
Sugam Tiku, 1+ year at Vibha, Corporate Teams lead –Dream Mile 09
“I totally enjoyed being a Team Lead for the NPO/Corporate Teams. It was very exciting and felt nice to receive Vibha compliments and event day compliments from the Corporate team members! I guess I feel so happy when we can put smile on the faces of children back in our motherland! That is the greatest feeling ever!”
Shravan Shashikant, 3 months at Vibha, Registrations lead – Dream Mile 09
“For me, the race day was a complete blur. To go in one hour, from a barren field to 8 tents, and an army of 30 all set and ready to process around 750 people probably tells you why it was such a blur. But one image in my mind is crystal clear. And that’s the image at 8:30 AM, of 700 people lined up and ready to race off! Also attached to that is the image of the “pre-paid” and “on-the-spot” areas having zero lines. That’s an image which I’ll never forget. Folks, we did it! We re-engineered and planned well, we trained well and we put our heads down and executed flawlessly. I loved how whether at the Pre-Paid or the On-the-Spot booth, everybody was totally “in the zone”. I just want to take a moment and thank everyone for producing a fantastic Dream Mile!”
Vivek Gupta, 3 months at Vibha, Pledge drive lead –Dream Mile 09
“We have come to the end of the Dream Mile pledge drive. And what an effort it has been. As a team we have raised a total of $34K!! While it is a bit shy of our twice revised target of $35K, we handily beat our original stretch goal of $30K. Personally, for me it has been immensely gratifying, knowing that our efforts over the last couple of months will bring hope to the lives of thousands of young kids across India & US.”
Harini Ganesan, 3 months at Vibha, Volunteer Relations Team lead – Bay Area Action Center
“”It was great working with Taniya – someone who was so in-sync with the entire event and knew exactly what to watch out for and ensure we did not miss out on anything critical with respect to staffing <including distribution of experienced volunteers across all critical functions to the best of the resources available>
I want to thank the ACC’s – Bahi, Umesh and Vikram who really made themselves extremely approachable to us and were very generous with their suggestions as well when they were sought. And of course all the volunteers who helped us with reaching out to volunteers – Mugs, Rajesh, James, Milind, Mukesh, Umesh, Vikram, Bahi – for helping is reach out to existing volunteers and confirming their availability.
And last but not the least, Anand – for his extra dose of enthusiasm to get the logistics nailed down. “