2015-16: Service Highlights
For the second year, the young adults of the Northeast Region conducted One Voice – an all-day music festival, on 1st August 2015. This joyful event teaches the audience to appreciate the unity of faiths through devotional songs in different languages and religions.
Another innovative project involving several Sathya Sai Centres was spearheaded by the Flushing Centre in New York. In collaboration with Queens Hospital Center in Jamaica, New York, volunteers prepared 150 packages every month for new mothers. Each package contained a baby hat knitted by the volunteers and a baby blanket stitched from flannel material.
Several Sathya Sai centres in the Mid-Atlantic region of the USA initiated an “envirocare” project to protect the environment and care for Mother Earth, including tree plantings; cleaning up streams, marshes, and beaches; and vegetable farming. In New Jersey, members of the Bridgewater Sathya Sai Centre planted vegetable beds, for donating the harvest to local food banks or preparing food for others. Members of the South Bethesda Centre participated in the 33rd Annual Clean Up of the Occoquan river, which provides drinking water to northern Virginia.
In the Southeast Region, four Sathya Sai Groups, from Huntsville, Birmingham, Montgomery, and Mobile, Alabama, jointly started the Alabama Loving Hearts project. This work helps the Good Shepherd Catholic Center serve the residents of Mosses, Alabama, one of the poorest counties in the USA. Sathya Sai volunteers helped to distribute non-perishable food and groceries to 200–400 families in an innovative “drive-through” process, where food and groceries were placed by volunteers inside cars driven by the recipients.
Young Adults from Northern California, USA, have been spearheading a tutoring project for immigrant families living in Morgan Hill since 2014. Most recently, 18 children, ranging in age from 5 to 13, attended tutoring sessions every Wednesday evening with their immigrant parents. Visible improvements have been noticed in the children’s performance at school, while their parents are learning and improving their written and spoken English.
In Southern California, a Special Schools Project originated in February 2014 in response to requests from three elementary schools for basic necessities and supplies for children of indigent families. Volunteers provide 2,000 pounds of groceries to 50 families as well as 40 hygiene kits, on a monthly basis. The SSIO also initiated a programme of providing 75 pairs of shoes annually. To deal with lice outbreaks, 50 lice shampoo kits are supplied quarterly.
In the South Central Region, Young Adults have been conducting a monthly human values workshop for juvenile delinquents ages 13 to 18 residing at a local juvenile detention centre known as The Leadership Academy. The human values programme is creatively designed to have the teenagers each choose a value to practise over a month and then share their experiences. The young adult volunteers learnt to appreciate the innate goodness of the juvenile delinquents.