Dear Vibha Patrons:
It's hard to believe that the first quarter of 2021 is already over. Along with a new spring, we all feel a new hope in our hearts that maybe we are rounding the corner on the pandemic as well. At VIBHA, we have had a stellar year in 2020, where we actually beat our fundraising goals, in spite of the pandemic. Last year, in India, in addition to our efforts in public education that impacted over 2 million children, our efforts during Covid have been recognized by the UN and we became a partner org that worked primarily to support food insecurity. In 2021, we will provide support to our children by focusing on their education needs.
In the US, we have focused our efforts on improving the quality of education by addressing the digital divide that impacts our disadvantaged communities most severely during Covid. We’ve distributed laptops and other digital devices through our NGO partner in Georgia- Power my learning. In the summer, our Dallas chapter offered 22 summer camps to kids in disadvantaged communities at no cost. In Massachusetts, we’re supporting the educational needs of 100+ families through Meals on Wheels. In Dallas, we donated over 800lbs of food to the North Texas Food Bank. We are currently in the midst of another food drive where we have a goal of 1600 lbs. of food.
We are very proud to be working on a couple of tutoring/mentoring initiatives. We are very proud to announce that we will soon be scaling our Study Buddy initiative to serve disadvantaged kids in Chicago Public Schools, through our partner org- Communities in Schools (CIS). We are working on a pilot to provide one on one tutoring support for elementary school kids on an ongoing weekly basis. We are also partnering with CIS Chicago and are focused on funding digital /remote delivery of mentoring and counseling-critical services right now as students reel from the many effects of the pandemic. In addition, we are supporting a couple of educational initiatives and virtual field trips as we believe this exposure is vital for kids’ development and instills hope and opens them up to many possibilities. In a separate initiative called Pair to Care we are starting a pilot mentoring program with our very own CORP street children project in Mumbai. We are very excited to see all the positive impacts both these initiatives will have on the children we seek to serve as well as on our own volunteers who will be involved.
We are also proud to announce that we have completed two sessions with another partner organization- Mudras in Motion- offering therapy through movement, using the vocabulary of Classical Indian dance forms. As this initiative attains momentum, we hope to be able to offer this to many groups of children and adults in 2021.
Our Science fair at the end of March is another area where our youth mentors are working one on one with several children through weeks long process to complete a full- fledged science fair project. It's been gratifying to see so many kids who have not had much exposure to the scientific method learn about how to create and execute an experimental design.
Our Youth team has blown us away this year with their boundless energy and enthusiasm. Read on to learn all about what our youth have been up to.
The list goes on and as you peruse the newsletter, you can tell we have been busy, and we have a whole lot of plans and dreams for 2021! Come join us, raise your hand if you have some spare time that you can give to us and help out with any of these fabulous initiatives or the ones that are coming up. If you'd like to support us with donations instead, we welcome that as well. Finally, Thank you!!! Our Action Center cannot do what we do without the support, dedication, and utter passion that you all bring.
With much Appreciation and Gratitude
Rohini Sheeba and Ritesh Mathur
Executive Directors - Vibha Dallas
Initiatives by our Vibha Youth
There have been more than a few moments where the passion and determination of our volunteers have seemed endless. These past three months have proved this time and again with the many initiatives organized and facilitated by our adult and youth volunteers. The year began with climate change initiatives that have sought to eliminate the amount of toxic wastes sent to landfills to stop the release of greenhouse gasses. Our youth volunteers have done this by collecting old electronics and delivering them to electronic recycling centers, and by donating desi clothing to ´One Earth One Chance´. Together, Volunteers have donated over 300 electronics and reached a hallmark in donating over 600 clothes.
In partnership with Tango Tab, our Vibha youth team has dedicatedly donated 37 lunches to support our city. In partnership with the Pearson project, our youth volunteers conducted a hygiene drive and have donated over one thousand-five hundred items as part of the initiative to uplift the living conditions of the homeless. Within the hygiene drive, volunteers made crochet soap sacks to donate to the underprivileged.
As part of Education support initiatives, our volunteers have continued to participate in the Study Buddy Program in partnership with the Pale Blue Dot Foundation and mentor Bhutanese refugee kids by teaching them English and Math. Vibha Dallas has recently undertaken a new 'Pair to Care' initiative where Dallas youth volunteers are partnered with children from Bombay to assist them with homework, support them outside of education, and help them fly high!! In Vibha´s Essay Writing Workshop, over the course of four weeks, our youth volunteer Nandini Dasari conducted weekly session with kids and guided them on how to write essays in an essay writing workshop. For Vibha’s global young scientist virtual Science Fair contest, students were mentored by high school students to create amazing projects.
Our volunteers have also played key roles in fund raising and in the safety of our local environment by participating in an Irving Clean Up initiative and a Family Fun night. Even in this pandemic, our youth have come up with an ingenious way to raise money for the underprivileged, by teaching kids how to bake delicious desserts. Along with our baking camps, many volunteers have come together and participated in a bake sale over multiple areas and have together been able to raise $1940 to support Vibha's cause. In the spring food drive initiative with Hunger Mitao, Vibha volunteers have donated enough food for 2000 meals and have contributed over 270 hours.
Choosing courses for high school is a nerve-wracking task for both students and parents. The brilliant idea for counseling students about high school choices was first thought up by our youth volunteer Lakshana Parasuraman. After she conceptualized this initiative, a collective of individuals have dedicated their time for this successful project. Senior high schoolers have come together and taken time from their busy schedules to mentor middle and early high school students completely free of cost. These mentors have answered questions about course selection, choosing pathway, Grade-point average questions, and how to prepare for certain courses. Over thirty families were mentored across Plano, Coppell, Frisco, Prosper and Flower mound. Our adult volunteers Lalitha Iragavarapu and Kranthi Nandi were also key individuals in the coordination and organization of these counseling sessions and have worked with mentors to provide a service that will affect a student’s education and pathway for the rest of their lives.
Keep a look out for these wonderful opportunities to join hands and take part in Vibha initiatives.
Youth Plant Sale
Creative Writing Workshops
Multiple Summer camps - keeps a look out in this space
Our marketing team has been a key to delivering information and helping Vibha reach its potential by spreading information and delivering it in an effective way. A big thank you to all marketing team youth and adult members and to all supervisors.
Newsletter Team: Radha Sundaram & Treilokya Kancherla