Sai Chat ~SSE Outreach Program: San Jose, CA
On April 6 2019, SSE (Sai Spiritual Education) children from the Central San Jose (CSJ) Center hosted “Sai Chat”, a human-values carnival at the Willow Glen Community Center, San Jose. They invited the families of the Morgan Hill Community to be their guests. The children from Morgan Hill, primarily from Hispanic immigrant families, have been engaged in weekly tutoring by the CSJ Young Adults since 2014. They have also taken part in the CSJ Center's Christmas program every year. Naturally, the SSE children wanted to invite the Morgan Hill families to their human values carnival!
Sai Chat was an SSE initiative, wholly planned and executed by the SSE children. The carnival took 6 months of planning and was designed as an enrichment program to share the joy of practicing human values with a larger community in a fun-filled learning environment. About 150 people attended the event, including 35 Hispanic guests from Morgan Hill.
The event kicked off with a 12-minute movie created by the Group 3 SSE children titled “The Magic of Plant Confidence”. The movie highlights how inspiring figures such as Lebron James, Lionel Messi, J.K. Rowling and Francisco Jimenez overcame great odds to achieve success through self-confidence, courage, a spirit of sacrifice and an attitude of perseverance and positive thinking in their lives.
The carnival had various craft booths for card-making, bead stringing and fabric painting as well as booths for fun and games. Each activity at the carnival was designed to help each child experience values embedded in these activities in a fun way. For instance, the popular life-mapping activity reinforced the value of creating a road map to meet one's goals and aspirations. A book drive initiated by the Sai nursery children, reinforced the value of self-sacrifice. In total, the children collected more than 90 books for the Morgan Hill community. The carnival was also designed as a “zero waste” event wherein the children learned how to make decorations with recycled material. Food was also served in an eco-friendly manner.
The event was meaningful and enjoyed by all. An adult Sai Center member reflected on their experience: “I realized that “SSE” is not just for children. It's lifelong learning and events such as Sai Chat help reinforce that. The joy, the collaboration, the struggle to live up to human values and surrendering the outcome to Divine Will, were all part of the “continuing education"." A couple of the mothers from the Morgan Hill community shared, “Before we came to this program we were not sure how it would be, but we felt very welcomed. The values you shared and the friendliness of the people made us feel very comfortable and be a part of the celebration.” The friendliness was clearly reciprocated in a touching moment when the guests from Morgan Hill treated an SSE student with a birthday song in Spanish. Finally, the SSE coordinator summed up what the event accomplished: “From the planning till the execution, the goal was to make Sai Chat comfortable and inclusive for our guests from the Morgan Hill community. Through the fun craft activities and game booths, we were able to achieve that goal with our young guests, who seemed to have an enjoyable time and felt very at home."