August 3, 2010
Contact: Minauti Dave, firstname.lastname@example.org
HASC Partners with AmeriCorps VISTA to Strengthen Seva (Community Service) Capacity
- Announcing historic appointment of AmeriCorps Members to a Hindu organization -
What began as a response to President Obama’s Call to Serve in summer 2009 lead to an initiative to build capacity through seva by a group of New Americans, the Hindu American community. This now has gained momentum as Hindu American Seva Charities (HASC) enters into partnership with CNCS (Corporation for National and Community Service), AmeriCorps VISTA, the Points of Light Institute, the Institute for Faith & Service and other national organizations, through the appointment of three skilled AmeriCorps members: Dr. Kumud Sane, Niki Shah and Rema Venkatsubban (bios follow below). These highly qualified individuals from our community started training and orientation on August 2nd in Atlanta and then will work full time for a year, on the specific Seva projects identified by HASC :
• Engage New Americans, particularly the Dharmic1 (generally refers to Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Sikh) students at colleges and campuses across America to advance interfaith and provide community service in economically deprived communities
• Work with Dharmic1 faith based temples and organizations to develop Seva centers to expand civic engagement to serve economically deprived communities in selected cities (thereby also promoting interfaith service)
• Support Bhutanese refugees and other under-privileged communities to become self sustaining and self-reliant.
HASC is undertaking this comprehensive initiative to strengthen capacity building and leverage the talents and resources of the community to, in turn, strengthen America by implementing recommendations (Integrating and Valuing America’s Religious Diversity) made by President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
AmeriCorps is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service, an independent federal agency whose mission is to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering. AmeriCorps VISTA provides full-time members to community organizations and public agencies to create and expand programs that build capacity and ultimately bring low-income individuals and communities out of poverty.
AmeriCorps Members Bios:
Dr. Kumud Sane is a board certified Pediatrician and Pediatric Endocrinologist. She recently retired from the University of Minnesota’s Pediatric Endocrine Department. She is one of the founders of the Hindu Society of Minnesota where she serves as the Chair of Executive Council of the Trustee Board. She has worked hard to unite diverse communities in Minneapolis and St. Paul and to build a beautiful temple. The Hindu Society of Minnesota is involved in educational, cultural, charity and interfaith activities along with religious services.
Niki Shah was born and raised in Mumbai, India until he was ten years old. He received a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Media and Economics, an M.S. in Global Affairs from Rutgers University. His foreign policy experience includes working at the United Nations and volunteering for the UN Volunteers Program and the New York based UN Global Compact Group. Most recently, he worked on Capitol Hill. He serves on the boards of other South Asian organizations addressing both domestic policy and foreign policy issues to foster inter-cultural communication and understanding.
Rema Venkatasubban holds a bachelors degree in Chemistry, French, Physics and Math and a Master's in English Literature from India. Rema has had the unique opportunity of living in France for 5 years amidst families from 26 different nationalities, exposing her to the rich and varied cultures of the world. Coming to America, she became an active volunteer in her children’s schools. She expanded her community service by working for the City of Wichita as a Library Assistant for 5 years, volunteering to cook and serve supper at the Inter-faith Inn for the homeless for 8 years and as a care-taker of her mother in a local nursing home. She is keen to bring about dignity, respect and Dharmic culture to elder care homes in U.S.
HASC's primary supervisors for the AmeriCorps VISTA program are Ved Chaudhary and Anju Bhargava. Dr. Ved Chaudhary recently retired as an Assistant Commissioner for the Office of Management and Budget in the Department of Environmental Protection in New Jersey. Anju Bhargava is a Strategic Business Transformation and Risk Management senior professional and management consultant, a change catalyst pioneer and social entrepreneur,
HASC welcomes the AmeriCorps VISTA members, our new additions, and thanks them for their leadership and service to the nation and for working to make a lasting impact in the national movement to expand civic engagement and build capacity.
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