Stand Together, Serve Together

Stand Togeth­er, Serve Togeth­er: Over 3,000 vol­un­teers cel­e­brate ser­vice and Gand­hi’s chal­lenge at Be The Change events nation­wide | PDF

For imme­di­ate release:
Octo­ber 6, 2012

Wash­ing­ton, DC — The spir­it of vol­un­teerism and com­mu­ni­ty ser­vice should be tak­en beyond a sin­gle day of ser­vice — that was the mes­sage at the annu­al Be The Change nation­al day of ser­vice host­ed by the DC area-based non-prof­it orga­ni­za­tion, South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er (SAALT), on Sat­ur­day, Octo­ber 6, 2012, in coor­di­na­tion with over 46 cam­pus and city plan­ning teams around the coun­try.

Inspired by Mahat­ma Gand­hi’s mes­sage, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world,” over 3,000 vol­un­teers includ­ing stu­dents, pro­fes­sion­als, and retirees con­tributed their time and ener­gy to ser­vice activ­i­ties around the coun­try, includ­ing Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chica­go, New Brunswick, Philadel­phia, and Wash­ing­ton, DC. In addi­tion, col­lege cam­pus­es from Hawaii to Okla­homa to New York coor­di­nat­ed Be The Change activ­i­ties.

“For the past 11 years, Be the Change has encour­aged com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers, young pro­fes­sion­als and stu­dents to take an active role to build com­mu­ni­ty through ser­vice. With each year, we are increas­ing­ly inspired by the growth in num­bers and ini­tia­tive tak­en by indi­vid­u­als around the coun­try to live the words of Gand­hi as they get involved on this day and tru­ly be the change,” said Deepa Iyer, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of SAALT.

“This was Austin’s third year par­tic­i­pat­ing in Be the Change as a core city. It was extreme­ly excit­ing and grat­i­fy­ing for the Austin BTC coor­di­nat­ing team to watch the day unfold as vol­un­teers from all walks of life stood togeth­er in ser­vice,” said Sonia Kotecha, the head of BTC Austin’s plan­ning team. “To think that just a small group of us could inspire, moti­vate and mobi­lize an entire com­mu­ni­ty to ‘be the change’ was hum­bling. It reminds me each year how ordi­nary peo­ple can do extra­or­di­nary things through serv­ing each oth­er.”

This year’s ser­vice activ­i­ties focused on food and hunger, seniors, chil­dren and youth, civic engage­ment, and the envi­ron­ment. Part­ners and spon­sors also affirmed the val­ues of Be the Change. Part­ners ranged from South Asian soror­i­ties and fra­ter­ni­ties to nation­al Asian and Pacif­ic Islander orga­ni­za­tions and South Asian pro­fes­sion­al net­works. Be the Change 2012 was sup­port­ed by Nation­al Spon­sors Sodexo, Devel­op­ment & Train­ing Ser­vices, Inc., North Amer­i­can South Asian Bar Asso­ci­a­tion, and Iota Nu Delta.

“Sodexo is once again thrilled to be a part of the nation­wide Be The Change events which align with our cor­po­rate val­ues and reflect our Busi­ness Resource Groups’ com­mit­ment to com­mu­ni­ty engage­ment,” said Cas­san­dra Chin Muh Loh, Sodexo Senior Train­ing Man­ag­er and Nation­al Co-Chair of Com­mu­ni­ty Engagement/Cultural Aware­ness of Sodex­o’s Pan Asian Group.

This event was tweet­ed under #BTC2012. For more infor­ma­tion and addi­tion­al pho­tographs, please con­tact info@saalt.org or 301–270-1855.