On Saturday, September 27, 2014, volunteers around 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 and coordinated nationally by South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), Be the Change has grown into a volunteer and leadership development program that attracts thousands of volunteers across the country.
For the third consecutive year, the Longhorn Center for Civic Engagement (LCCE) is partnering with SAALT to host Be the Change in Austin, as well as to provide a week of service-focused programming that precedes the city-wide day of service.
Be the Change day will kick off in the morning of September 27 at the Asian American Resource Center, with keynote speaker, Shubhada Saxena, who is not only president and founder of South Asians’ International Volunteer Association (SAIVA) but also a master’s student in the School of Social Work at UT-Austin and the UT recipient of the Newman Civic Fellows Award of national Campus Compact. Judge George C. Thomas, the first Indian-American judge in Travis County history, will be a special guest at the kick-off event.
This year, volunteers will work at sites all around Austin, including the Miracle Foundation, Sunset Valley Elementary, and Old Pecan Street Festival, and diverse Austin neighborhoods, including Colony Park, Holly, East Cesar Chavez, Dove Springs and Rundberg. More participating neighborhoods can be found on bethechangeaustin.org/schedule and individuals or teams can register to volunteer here: http://bethechangeaustin.org/projects/
The LCCE will host a week of service-focused activities preceding the Be the Change day of service:
- Saturday, Sept. 20: Student Summit for Social Change – St. Edwards University, 9am – 4pm
- Monday, Sept. 22: Be the Change Kick Off and Service Event – Gregory Plaza, 10am – 2pm
- Wednesday, Sept. 24: Volunteer Fair – Speedway Plaza, 9:45am – 2:45pm
- Thursday, Sept. 25: Be the Change Service Panel – Texas Union, 6pm-7:30pm
- Saturday, Sept. 27: Be the Change Service Day, City wide, all day
Keynote Speaker: Shubhada Saxena
Shubhada Saxena is the President & Founder of SAIVA-South Asians’ International Volunteer Association (www.saiva.org) which focuses on enabling immigrant seniors to engage as effective citizens for over 6 years.
She has over 20 years of corporate IT experience in Consulting, Government, Healthcare & Insurance industries at small and large companies including United Healthcare and IBM. She serves on the board of Family Eldercare and City of Austin Asian American Quality of Life Advisory Commission and is a member of the Aging Services Council.
Shubhada holds an honors Engineering degree and is pursuing the Community & Administrative Leadership Masters Degree in Social Work at UT Austin. She received many accolades in 2014, including the Trailblazer Award by the Indian-American Coalition of Texas (IACT), the Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact, and the YWCA of Greater Austin “2014 Women of the Year” awardee for Racial Justice. She has been selected for the Leadership Austin Class of 2015.
Special Guest: Judge George C. Thomas
George C. Thomas was appointed as a Judge for the Municipal Court of the City of Austin. He is the first Indian-American judge in Travis County history. After graduating from the University of Houston Law Center, Judge Thomas worked as a Legislative Assistant in the Texas House of Representatives, and practiced immigration law in Houston. Judge Thomas then spent almost 10 years as a prosecutor for the City of Austin and Travis County. He is on the Board of the Indian American Coalition of Texas (IACT) and South Asian Bar Association of Austin.