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!