Get to know Mukta Joshi

How and when did your Vibha journey begin?

I started volunteering for Vibha during our first Vibha Vibe in 2009. I kept hearing about the event through Orkut and e-mails. It looked like a fun event, so I joined the group. We have had 3 awesome Vibes, 2 Dream Miles and I look forward to many more!

What was the main motivation behind becoming a Vibha volunteer?

I always wanted to be a part of an organization that does something to make a life better for children and what better than education! While looking for organizations to donate to, I found Vibha online. I also kept hearing about their events in Milwaukee and joined the group. Over the last 2 years as I have been more involved with the AC activities and attended a volunteer conference, I have learnt a lot more about Vibha.

What do you like the most about volunteering with Vibha?

I love the people involved. All the volunteers, who in spite of being busy with work and family make time to help out and all friends and acquaintances, who participate in events to show their support. Sometimes volunteering locally brings in some surprises. We volunteer for the Epilepsy Foundation’s run every year and they have been kind to let us borrow their finish line equipment for the Dream Mile. Last year a bunch of us volunteered for the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon and a few days later we received an email saying that they would like to make a donation to Vibha!

All the awesome friends I met through Vibha, fellow volunteers and supporters make volunteering such a joy!

Tell us about your experience of working with fellow Vibha volunteers.

 It has been absolutely fantastic working with all the volunteers. Before an event when we are all under pressure there’s occasional yelling and exchange of words, but come event day we are one strong team working togetherJ. I am inspired by their hard work and dedication.

I have contacted some volunteers outside Milwaukee, especially the Vibha IT team with my website queries. There have been times when I have called or emailed people saying we need this taken care of now and they have been extremely helpful.

How was your first Vibha event? Did you take the lead for any event? How was that experience?

 My first event was the very first Vibha Vibe we did. The energy and enthusiasm of the volunteers was infectious and has kept me going strong with Vibha.

I was the event lead for the next Vibha Vibe. It was very exciting to meet performers and audition them. After our event I received emails from performers saying how they enjoyed seeing different forms of dance on the same stage, they appreciated the fact that the show started and ended on time and that the volunteers made them feel very welcome! We also got comments from the audience that they had a great time at the event!

Tell us about an incident that made you feel extremely satisfied with your contribution to Vibha.

I visited the Door Step School in Pune in 2009. It was very fulfilling to see what all our efforts translate into. Rajani Tai took us to two of their schools at construction sites. The little kids sang for us with their teachers and the ones who went to school impressed us with their English poems. The kids were very excited about taking the DSS bus to school every day and learning something new.

What is that one thing you would say to encourage someone to become a part of Vibha?

A little bit of your time can make a huge difference in someone’s life. It’s a great way to give back to the society while having fun.

Tell us three things you have learnt from your volunteering experience with Vibha?

 Working with a group of people with different ideas and opinions has made me understand that it takes a team to succeed. I have learnt to appreciate this diversity.

After volunteering for a while now, I can approach people without any inhibitions and ask for help. Help with sponsorships for events, donations, registrations for our run or just to talk about Vibha to spread the word and see if there is any possibility of local volunteering. I have learnt to take responsibility – responsibility of an event, any small task or our action center.

Who is your role model?

My family and close friends are my role models. Each of them has qualities that I admire and emulate.

 Tell us more about yourself and your hobbies and interests.

I work at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee doing research in Biomechanics. At work I study human movement and injuries and that got me interested in running. I have been an avid runner for over a year now. I ran a half and a full marathon last year and will do the same this year. Training gives me a chance to enjoy the Milwaukee summers. I also enjoy cooking and singing.

What is your message to fellow Vibha Volunteers?

Keep up the good work and please plan on visiting a project the next time you are in India. It just motivates you to do more!

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