The Dream Mile X 2020 -By Vaishnavi Pattabiraman

The Dream Mile X 2020, an incredibly successful virtual fundraiser with 4,400+ participants from 4 continents, 13 countries and 38 US states

Vibha, a non-profit and volunteer-driven organization, is a social venture catalyst that brings together those likeminded people who are passionate about making a significant positive impact in the lives of underprivileged children by seeding, growing and scaling sustainable projects that impact  quality of public education in India and in the US.

The Paramount Software Solutions Dream Mile X (DM X) has been Vibha’s global fundraising event that transformed Vibha’s annual flagship fundraising event, Annual Dream Mile (DM), into a virtual event for the year 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. In February 2020, the planning team for the DM X got together to develop a virtual format of the DM within the US as a quarterly or half-yearly event in addition to the in-person annual DM in a few Vibha action center cities. With the unannounced advent of COVID-19 pandemic followed by an extended lockdown from March 2020, we decided that DM X would be one of the MAJOR VIRTUAL FUNDRAISING events in 2020 which eventually transformed into a GLOBAL MONTH-LONG event from September 1st through September 30th, 2020. 

This global virtual DM X event also came with big responsibilities of achieving higher fundraising and registration goals than any of our previous DM events because of its massive scale. For Vibha volunteers, this was an uncharted territory where none of the aspects with respect to such a mega virtual event were ever tested before. However, the ‘can do and never give up’ attitude of Vibha volunteers enabled them to participate across  various time zones within the US and India  to virtually come together and create magic. As a result of relentless pursuit of our goals, together we had 4,422 registrations from 4 continents, 13 countries and 38 US states and we were able to generate $410,000 in funds raised.

Alka Mukker, Rahul Pandey, Ritesh Mathur, Vaishnavi Pattabiraman and Vindali Vartak – the volunteers from Atlanta, Bay Area and Dallas formed the core group that initiated, discussed and implemented various aspects of the event by coordinating with sub-team leads such as fundraising led by Tripura Vadlamani, publicity led by Malika Wadhwani, sponsorship led by Narayana Rekapalli and T-shirts / medals led by Rekha Savant. Durgesh Das, Keyur Shah, Raj Vuchatu, Rama Vemulapalli, Ruchi Dave, Srinivas Vemulapalli &  Vijay Vemulapalli were some of the many other key volunteers who played significant roles in the success of this event. As the planning of the event was completely virtual, all of the discussions, decisions and implementations happened through weekly Zoom calls between the core group members and all other US action center representatives.

With a dual goal of improving fitness while supporting a great cause, the DM X event comprised of month-long challenges (100M, 50M, 100KM, 50KM, 5K/10K/15K/20K steps per day), single-day challenges (1KM, 5KM, 10KM, half/full marathon) and single-day relay challenges (25KM, 50M, 100M by a team of 4, 8 and 10 members respectively). Participants were thrilled to choose from an amalgamation of challenges and the 50M month-long challenge was the most popular followed by 5KM single day challenge and 5K steps a day month-long challenge. As a way of showing our solidarity with the distress caused by the September wildfires in the Western States of US, we extended the event deadline to October 10th which allowed additional time to the participants from the affected states to complete their chosen challenges. By October 10th,  the activities data reported by 1,230 participants showed that we had together completed : 81.5 million steps, 46,500 M  and 11,200 KM of walking/running.

Overall, the DM X 2020 rolled out to be a very successful VIRTUAL MODEL fundraising event where the limitations, because of lack of in-person competitive participation, camaraderie, etc, turned into opportunities to break beyond self-limiting beliefs where the participants came together virtually from anywhere in the world leveraging social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp) for connectedness, motivation as well as friendly competition throughout the event duration.

Despite the pandemic, Vibha has continued its steadfast support to not only its existing programs and projects in India, but also pledged to donate 10% of the proceeds from this event to support children’s educational and health needs across the US via non-profit organizations such as Children’s HealthCare of Atlanta (CHOA) and InspiredU in Atlanta, Georgia; Schools on Wheels of Massachusetts and Communities in Schools of Chicago.

All this was possible because of the large team of dedicated volunteers and continued generous support from our patrons. So, a big THANKS to all of them!

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