Seva Center Prototype

Recommended Seva Center Prototypes -“Internal and External”


The community would benefit greatly with “Seva Centers” developed to provide needed social services.  We have developed these prototypes to beginning a dialogue to engage the community service providers, temples, government.

 Service within the Hindu Community – “Internal” Seva

Service Opportunity


Specific ways to help

Understand community’s needs

Needs will vary depending on age bracket, socio-economic status, ethnic and educational background

1) Survey of membership
2) Analysis of Census and other demographic info

Provide ways to get involved in Seva

Provide concrete and understandable activities - engage people in Seva that helps them feel a sense of having contributed

1) Have a "Committee Coordinator" to ensure interaction of temple committees
2) Have a "Volunteer Coordinator" to match the volunteers' interests and the seva needs/opportunities


Helping people who move into or out of our community – a “newcomers” organization

1) Tours of local community facilities (house of worship as well as civic spaces)
2) Workshops on various topics to help with acculturation (how to get a license, how to apply for a credit card, etc.)
3) Benchmark similar social service/networking groups - "Troy Newcomers", “Livingston New Comers Picnic”


Provide social services when someone passes

1) Bereavement counseling
2) Help with household activities
3) Help with ceremonial activities - meals preparation, helping with out of town visitors, etc.

4) Will preparation workshops


Helping the hospitalized, the terminally ill and their families

1) Providing Counseling
2) Providing practical support (meals, driving, etc.)


Various ways to provide for the health of the community

1) Health Fairs 

2) Breast Cancer screenings

3) Bone Marrow Drive

4) Nutrition and health-related seminars

Economic crisis

Community members may have issues - recent recession resulted in several murder/suicides and we need to be ready to respond and reach out

1) Helping with job loss and related economic crisis
2) Provide socio-economic support – food/financial, health care, job search


Helping the aging and elderly

1) Adult Activities Center -
2) Adult Day Care

Assistance for the Homebound

Helping the homebound and institutionalized:

1) Provide transportation for basic needs – shopping, doctor
2) Help them get to Temple
3) Help around the house, provide social interaction

Transition crisis

Helping households facing crises or transitions – divorce, separation, new baby, etc.

1) Divorce/Separation
2) New Baby
3) Death of Spouse (see above - bereavement)
4) Other transition

Career Counseling

Provide career counseling services

1) Job Fairs
2) Visa Fairs

Youth Counseling

Provide support services for young adults

1) Suicide and drug abuse prevention programs (partner with local agencies doing this kind of thing – Troy Community Coalition for the Prevention of Drug and Alcohol Abuse (
2) Parenting workshops – dating/sex education
3) College and career Counseling, SAT Prep
4) LGB community needs

5) Language and culture

Women's Empowerment

Providing additional social services not already listed

1) Develop SV/DV agency links  - e.g., Michigan Asian Indian Family Services or Shanti Project at University of MI. Manavi, Sakhi
2) Develop training programs to educate women
3) Networking opportunities for women - cooking, craft, career (National Council of Jewish Women)

Service to the Larger Community – “External” Seva


Service Opportunity


Specific ways to help

Feeding those in need

Various ways and levels to be involved in feeding the hungry.

1) Provide meals at a local soup kitchen, or provide food to (make sandwiches and deliver)
2) Support Meals on Wheels
3) Collect non-perishable items for Gleaners or local food bank


Provide Other Services & Amenities to those in need


Provide financial and other support -  develop strong connections to local social services agencies, find ways to help depending on the region

South Oakland Shelter is a moveable homeless shelter for individuals who are seeking work or are currently employed and within weeks or days of having earned their way off the streets. Area churches share responsibility for hosting the shelter, and each church hosts up to 30 individuals for one week during the year; a temple should be able to do this or partner with someone to do this

Women In Need of Guidance and Skills - donations or other services requested

Suburban Michigan - help Troy People Concerned (

Suburban Michigan - Macomb County Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers - website has details

In urban areas, help an agency like Blight Busters, Youthville Detroit, etc.

Collecting winter coats and shoes, clothing, furniture (Furniture Bank)

Support poverty-reduction programs such as


Develop strong ties with Interfaith organizations


Allows Hindu American community to have a voice, saying that this is the Hindu position on "X" - explaining that the Hindu position is often complex, and may consist of multiple viewpoints

Participate in Interfaith Services (Thanksgiving, National Day of Prayer) - to bring awareness of who is a Hindu and what the belief system is

MI Bharatiya Temple joined MI's Interfaith Alliance to support affirmative action in 2006; sevaks  participated as part of this faith-based group to develop support for continuing affirmative action, viewing it as a social justice issue.  MI Bharatiya Temple members participated in an interfaith press conference protesting desecration of a local house of worship.

Create a position paper or publicity materials, such as the SSVT-UHJT, DC area interfaith organization pamphlet on the Swastika

Active participation of Hindu communities in Interfaith activities even without a temple.  In Livingston, NJ Hindu Americans rent space in a local church to create a public faith based space and are integrated with faith based activities

Education programs

Help those in the local community by offering classes, tutoring, scholarships, etc.

1) Participate in interfaith panels
2) Provide opportunities to the local community to encourage partnerships with Hindus on different levels

Emergency aid programs

Have a resilient system to support when there is a national or international crisis, e.g. Haiti or Tsunami disaster recovery support

1) Summer of Service campaign - feedback form and data compiled by HASC
2) Haiti Emergency Relief - feedback and data collection started by HASC



Educational/spiritual/religious activities are not listed since temples are already focusing on these kinds of internal help. Seva through the temple needs to be cultivated in different ways. When we provide services to the community beyond the traditional religious rituals, religious education and spiritual space, they will be in a position to provide seva to others in the faith community and the larger community.


We must to be sensitive partnerships are true interfaith where each faith respects the other equally, (because many social services are provided through houses of worship which proselytize and often are perceived to have a biased view of Hindus.  The community is sensitive and hesitates in working with the intermediaries).

Logo - final 9-21-2010 cropped