“You Must Be the Change You Wish to See in the World”
Be the Change National Day of Service Aims for Over 1,000 Volunteers in Austin;
Nimesh Patel, Singer Turned Altruist to Keynote Kickoff Celebration
AUSTIN, TX – On Saturday, September 29th, the people of Austin will come together to serve their community as part of the Be the Change National Day of Service. Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s famous quotation, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world,” Be the Change takes place every year on or near Gandhi’s birthday. Started at the University of Michigan over a decade ago, Be the Change has grown into a volunteer and leadership development program that attracts thousands of volunteers across the country. In 2010, nearly 3,500 people volunteered in fifteen cities and on over sixty college campuses nationwide. In 2011, over 1,000 volunteers participated in community service projects in Austin alone, marking the second year in a row that Austin led the nation in number of volunteers. Be the Change is coordinated nationally by South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), a national non-profit organization dedicated to building a more just and inclusive society.
This year’s Be the Change National Day of Service in Austin will kick off on Thursday, September 27th, with a celebration from 6:30 to 8:30 PM on the south steps of the Texas State Capitol, followed by service projects throughout the day on Saturday, September 29th. Volunteer registration is now available online at BetheChangeAustin.org for the Town Lake Animal Shelter, Recycled Reads, and many other service opportunities. Current proposals for this year’s Be The Change are closed; however, proposals for next year’s 2013 projects should be submitted to George Luc, Be the Change Volunteer Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Volunteers are also encouraged to RSVP, join the community discussion, and share the event with their networks on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=109740835789400.
Austin has also been selected for the third straight year as a featured Core City, which will be highlighted nationally by SAALT. Last year, Austin held the largest event in the country, with over 1000 volunteers participating in over 25 service projects for organizations such as the Capital Area Food Bank, Texas After Violence, Trees for Pease, and the Workers Defense Project. Organizers are confident that Austin’s spirit of service will enable the city to build on last year’s tremendous turnout and are aiming to exceed last year’s numbers through partnerships with local universities.
This year’s participants will kick off their service projects with a keynote speech from Nimesh Patel, a singer and songwriter turned altruist. Nicknamed Nimo, he began his career in Manhattan after graduating from Wharton Business School in 2000. At the same time, he founded Karmacy, a hip hop group, and rapidly achieved international stardom on MTV Asia and VH1. His success continued as co-creator of a comic strip that led to the development of an international award-winning animation studio. Despite these tremendous accomplishments, Nimo was concerned that his achievement had not led to a sense of peace and fulfillment; that was when his path and his life were changed forever by Mahatma Gandhi’s quotation: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Leaving his former career behind, Nimo moved to India and joined the non-profit Manav Sadhna, where he helps street children achieve a brighter future through music, education, and the arts. Having just finished a summer tour of the US and UK with 16 children and their dance drama show EKATVA, Nimo looks forward to sharing the story of his journey with the Austin community and hopes to inspire others to make service, love, and togetherness a central part of their lives.
WHAT: Be the Change Day of Service
WHEN: Kickoff Celebration – Thursday, Sept 27th, 6:30 – 8:30 PM
Service Projects – Saturday, Sept 29th, Various Times Depending on Project
WHERE: Kickoff Celebration – Texas State Capitol, South Steps
Service Projects – Various Sites
WHO: Volunteers from all across the Austin area
HOW: Register to volunteer and find more information at www.BetheChangeAustin.org