Community Service Fair: Greater Boston, MA
The Sathya Sai Centers of the Greater Boston area- Norwood, Northborough, Maine, Chelmsford and Boston- helped organize a community event on 4th May, 2019 at the Disabled Veterans Park, Norwood MA. The event, Love All Serve All – A Community Service Fair, was the result of a collaboration with 22 other local churches and non-profit organizations. The aim was to raise public awareness of human values and to encourage engagement in various service activities within the community.
Attendees at the fair were presented with several service opportunities. Sai Center members, along with volunteers from churches adjacent to the park, collected gently-used clothes and sorted them to be sent to homeless shelters, church-run thrift stores and various other organizations. Sai Center members also helped with yard sales to raise money for the churches and their service projects. A booth, managed by the Boy Scouts, had volunteers build and finish kitchen tables for the New Life Furniture Bank, which provides furniture for families in need. At another booth, attendees helped put together emergency clean-up kits for the Church World Service. In addition, the American Red Cross held a Blood Drive in one of the churches adjacent to the Park.
There were also activities to raise community awareness of human values and their importance in our lives. Sai Spiritual Education (SSE) children and Young Adults (YAs) used their ingenuity and creativity to set up booths which featured various human values games and activities such as the Wheel of Peace and Righteous Roulette, and a Love All Serve All raffle, which were enjoyed by one and all. At the “Go Green” booth, attendees learned about the various “Go-Green” initiatives that Sai Centers had been championing in the local communities.
The SSE children and the YAs also presented songs on Human Values, while the YAs chanted multi-faith prayers after the flag hoisting ceremony to promote cultural inclusivity. At one section of the Fair, attendees could meet inspiring role models, such as Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Theresa, Malala Yousafzai, and Helen Keller. There, they had an opportunity to interview these leaders and learn about the human values they stood for. Finally, a major highlight of the event was a mini Walk for Values around the park by the SSE children and their teachers, which attracted the attention of many onlookers.
The event was a unique and uplifting experience for all Sai Center members, especially the SSE children and the YAs. Sai Center members felt gratified they were able educate the public about human values and make them aware of the service opportunities in their community. The event was also a wonderful public outreach opportunity and a chance to collaborate and foster close bonds with other service and faith organizations. Sai Centers feel especially gratified to note that other faith entities involved in organizing this event continue till this day to sign off with "Love All Serve All" in their communications! As a result, the Sai Centers in the area are committed to hosting a similar event every year, with the belief that such events will help their members be better at conversing and sharing Sai Baba’s teachings on human values with the broader public.