The waves from Bangalore and Mumbai fundraiser marathons for Isha Vidhya seem to have traveled across Pacific, and reached the shores of Silicon Valley (San Jose/San Francisco) in California. This was the first time in the US that Isha Vidhya participated in a marathon event.Waves of blue were seen rising, and the words Isha Vidhya with the message 'I am running to build a rural school' were seen soaring high amidst myriad of colors at the India Community Center (ICC) – Sevathon 2012 campaign on July 15.
We had over 125 registered runners that gathered in their blue Isha Vidhya tees in Baylands Park at sunrise, the venue for 5k, 10k and half marathon. The local community along with our volunteers came together and fundraised more than $27000 to educate over 100+ underprivileged children in rural India.
The preparations started months before the event. Local volunteers were divided into various teams who will take care of all aspects of the event, and included Brand Design, Public Relations & Marketing, Volunteer Engagement, Booths, Community Engagement, just to name the few. Local volunteers dedicated all their time and resources to make the event a success and a memorable one. No stone was left unturned. Volunteers were seen at all prominent local events, fairs, celebrations venues, etc to promote Isha Vidhya and to register runners. Weekly training and practice sessions were organized for the runners. A continuous dialogue was established through a dedicated Isha Vidhya-Sevathon facebook page, SFBay Isha Vidhya google group, and other social media platforms.
We are very grateful to India Community Center, who brought over 60 prominent non-profit organizations together under the umbrella of Sevathon, and provided the platform to promote our cause also. All the non-profit organizations were highly impressed to see Isha Vidhya register maximum runners and raise maximum funds amongst them all.
More than the numbers, it was the tremendous joy and enthusiasm that our team displayed throughout the day that made the difference for our team and the event. Besides, every detail was meticulously planned and executed. Some of our volunteers also helped ICC in the event management. Isha Vidhya made a huge impact and definitely had the spotlight !
Besides, India Community Center and Sevathon team acknowledged and honored Isha Foundation with a 'Spirit Award' (which included a momento and a cash award of $500), for not only registering the first hundred runners but also “upholding the spirit of sewa and volunteering, and for setting an example of inspiration and motivation."
We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to all the volunteers, runners and donors who made this a big success. Their support will go a long way in bringing about change to the lives of many rural children. One baby step in California – One big leap for rural education.
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Some of the volunteers and runners share:
No words can express the warmth, enthusiasm and the energy level I felt from all the volunteers – it was contagious. I participated in the Sevathon to be part of a cause which is close to my heart, and firmly believe that change begins with oneself. If I had to use a word to explain what I felt being with the Isha Vidya team, it would be “Oneness”. I want everyone to know that you can make a difference, you can change a child’s life, have an influence on the next generation, and the opportunity to be part of something great – don’t miss out.– Manni
I felt very privileged to be part of Sevathon and be introduced to the Isha Foundation. Being able to participate in the walk for this great cause and making people aware of the organization after meeting the group made me feel enlightened and very humbled. This experience has opened many doors of thoughts for me to take back to the UK. My best wishes to the team and keep up the good work! – Nimmi
I am an Isha volunteer and familiar with the admirable work of Isha Vidhya in educating the rural children of Tamil Nadu. Earlier I had donated for Isha Vidhya through another volutneer who ran for the Isha Vidhya cause in the annual international marathon conducted by Standard Chartered Bank in Mumbai,India. Hence when I got an opportunity to participate myself as a walker in the 5k race at the Sevathon here in the US, I jumped at the opportunity! – Subramani
It was indeed a great event on Sunday (July 15th). I have known about Isha Vidhya from my Dad since he practices Isha Yoga. I was amazed by the way it was conducted in such an organized way. I have wanted to do my bit for Isha for a long time, so when this opportunity came by I could not let it go. Personally I always believe that education is of utmost importance. This will help so many children in rural areas. By providing quality education that Isha Vidhya does it enables so many parents to educate their child. Thank you for giving me this opportunity. -Shobhana
It felt good to wake up early in the morning to run for the Sevathon, so some kids in India can wake up early in the morning to go to School. – Madhumitha
I always had a dream of running a marathon. But because of my back, I was very skeptical. But I was pleasantly surprised, as on the first day itself I could run two miles continuously. I realized it was due to all the Yoga Practices. When Isha Vidya announced half marathon at Sevathon, I was a bit worried in the beginning but wanted to do my first run for Isha Vidya kids. If I could help send one child to school it will be great. I was able to raise funds and even my daughter supported my cause donation from her first salary. The night before the race I couldn't sleep and I hardly slept for three hours. Because of this, and the heat it became very tiresome in the second half. Every time I feel like quitting I thought about the underprivileged children and my fellow volunteers who were eagerly waiting for me at the Finish line, my friend cum trainer who was there for me through the whole run. That whole weekend was an eye opener for me, and I felt Sadhguru's grace in every single moment. – Shanthi
A country like India with a literacy rate well below 100%, it’s a huge drain on our talent and resources to see a big potential (children) being unexploited. With this in mind, we wanted to donate to Isha Vidhya so that first generation school goers can take the first step towards a possibility that will enhance not just their lives but the lives around them. It will help them get out of the economic and social pits they are forced in and join the mainstream society to contribute. Running for Isha Vidhya at the Sevathon was a blissful experience. We all gathered together which was a big motivating factor. – Goutham