by Arun Dev Kumar
What does it take to become a community leader? How do we identify a community leader? These are questions that theoretically have many answers but Sewa International Houston knows how to breed them. As flag bearers to the motto of selfless service Sewa International has relentlessly served the community in many areas including education, family services, public health and Disaster Relief & Rehabilitation (R&R) but perhaps its most significant contribution over the years has been its Get Inspired Houston (GIH) & LEAD Internship programs.
Every summer Sewa International as part of its volunteer & community building outreach onboards College undergrads and High School students under six cohorts that set a baseline for developing well rounded young community leaders that emerge at the end of the 2-month internship. The college undergraduate students take lead on various projects assisted by 2-3 High school students in Youth Education, Public Health, Family Services, Grant Writing, PR & Media and Event Management. Students from various backgrounds and across state & city boundaries come together to put in over 200 hours during the summer across Sewa’s flagship projects which include ASPIRE after-school tutorial program, Disaster R&R at Rosharon in Brazoria county and Stop Diabetes Movement (SDM).
Running three after school programs for kids from low-income immigrant and refugee communities at no cost to the families; the ASPIRE program presents interns with tasks to create fun- curriculums that teaches these kids English and draw their creativity to learn. The most recent batch of GIH interns also came out to support the Hurricane Harvey rehabilitation efforts in the Brazoria County where Sewa GIH interns volunteered through the day to support building over 60 homes. Additionally, interns as part of Disaster R&R will also be presenting Emergency preparedness checklists and documentation. In addition to these they will also execute specific projects like planning vaccination drives and assist SDM camps under public health and planning field trips from scratch under event management.
Sewa thrives on ambitious volunteers and openly welcomes creative ideas from the interns to run their own special projects that they are passionate about. This year Sewa onboarded 10 GIH interns from universities like University of Houston, Rice, St. Mary’s college, Arkansas Tech, UT and UTSA to take point on these projects and they will be supported by 28 LEAD – high school interns.
The Houston chapter of Sewa International follows Sewa’s mission of selfless service by promoting volunteerism, aiding the local community and helping humanity in distress. So, to answer– What does it take to become a community leader? How do we identify them?
I believe it is the motivation and passion for volunteerism and benevolence towards the community and the greater humanity at this tender age, exemplified by Sewa’s GIH & LEAD interns. But most importantly it is the nurturing ground such as the one Sewa provides through this internship program that make leaders for the community & by the community.
For more information about the program, please visit www.sewaaspire.com