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[edit] A Few Miles for a Million Dreams…Vibha Atlanta’s 11th Annual 5k Run/Walk Race

Jai Ganesh

September 19, 2009 saw more than 800 participants ignore rainy conditions to celebrate Vibha’s 11th annual 5k Run/Walk race at Georgia Tech. In an affirmation of support for Vibha’s mission to raise awareness of underprivileged children in India, the event raised close to $50,000 through pledges, sponsorships and race proceeds.

Racers of all ages, from 5 year olds to 60+, started the day with a light warm-up led by Aarti Patel from Aarti Fitness. At 8:30 am sharp, the runners, followed by the walkers at 8:45 am, gathered at the start line to be flagged off by Pankaj Bolaki. Off they went! The first runner, Vick Vermvon clocked in at 18:59 mins, followed by Randy Long (19:51 min). Melanie Hall led the female runners (22:03 mins), followed by Marilyn Soleti (23:00 mins). The walkers were led by Sundar Bharadwaj in the male category and by Urvashi Patel in the female category. And there were many more, from Nina Gummadi who won the under 15 female category to Puspa Khanna who won the 61+ female category. Even as the race went on, kids had a blast with face painting, clown balloon art, beanbag toss, cookie decoration and more – activities more numerous than the raindrops pelting the pavement!

Mrs. Madhuri Sheth felicitated the winners at the post-event celebrations. But truly speaking, every single participant was a winner for they shared something special that morning; not just the rain that poured incessantly or the inevitable aches that follow a good workout; but something more profound that had drawn all of them together. It was the knowledge that there are few causes more worthy than lending a hand to someone who needs our help. Especially kids, like the ones Vibha’s projects support, who do not have access to basic needs that most of us take for granted - a childhood that has the luxury of playing with toys, an education that opens the mind to new possibilities, a vocation that empowers them to live their life with dignity.

The Chief Guest, Professor Jagdish Sheth, Charles H. Kellstadt Professor of Marketing at Emory University, in his address reiterated the value-addition to society from every dollar that goes to improve the lives of the next generation. Not only is a quality childhood every kids’ right, it is also an investment in productive members of our society. Through Sikshana, Vibha has been able to improve standardized test scores of high school students in India by 30% points with an investment of as little as $1,000 per school. Projects like these, that are scalable and replicable, provide an immense leverage to reach millions of kids all across India (to learn more, visit http://projects.vibha.org/projects/).

As Ralph Waldo Emerson famously observed, “Nothing great is achieved without enthusiasm”. You had to be there to see the spirit and enthusiasm of the volunteers. With unblemished cheerfulness as the rain poured down their face, they celebrated their determination to make a positive difference. Samir Patel, who was felicitated for his extra-ordinary effort at the event, led a large contingent of GT volunteers (India Club, Sigma Sigma Rho sorority, Alpha Phi, Theta Chi, Alpha Omega Epsilon, Alpha Kappa Psi, Circle K, Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, GT Sigma Beta Rho and the Institute of Industrial Engineers). And then there were those who worked for months together planning every detail; like Jaimin Modi, who was recognized with the Sumati Mahajan Volunteer of the Year Award for his sustained and substantial contribution to the organization.

Pankaj Bolaki, the event coordinator, aptly observed:
“In three years of volunteering, I have realized that making a difference is really not hard. Take the time to realize YOUR opportunity, as there are so many available. A big thank you to the selfless volunteers who worked tirelessly to plan this event and to make it an enjoyable experience for the participants in the pouring rain.”

Professor Sheth commented that, “it was a very uplifting and satisfying experience especially to see the dedication and drive to serve the children.”

Voicing the positive feedback received from most participants, Mr. Narender Reddy said, “It is hard to say who I should congratulate for the success of this event…the volunteers who were at every turn of the 5K trail and manning the registration booths etc. or the organizers who spent countless number of hours planning to make this a successful event. My congratulation to all who preferred to walk/run/volunteer while soaking in the rain in support of a noble cause.”

Events like these depend on their abiding sponsors. Vibha Atlanta thanks the gracious support of each and every sponsor. They are: FTC, Primus Software Corporation, Pyramid Consulting, Sanket Systems, Swathi Indian Cuisine, Zee TV, US Census, Equifax, Manekar Medical Clinic, Shalin Financial Services, Inc., North Fulton Smiles, Allied Informatics, IACT, Manhattan Associates, Khabar, wownow.com and India Tribune.

If you could not make it to the event be sure to plan for it in 2010! But in the meantime you can still help with your pledge at www.thedreammile.org/atlanta

Vibha's mission is to Educate, Empower and Enable every individual who wants to make a positive difference in the life of an under privileged child.

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[edit] Upcoming Events

Volunteer Meeting - July 9th, 2016 Saturday 2:00 to 4:00PM Johns Creek Fire Station

Local volunteering @ Fostercare Support Foundation – Saturday July 30, 2016 – 10am-Noon

Dream Mile 2016 – Sep 17, 2016

[edit] Recent Events

Volunteer Meeting - June 12th, 2016 Sunday 2:00 to 4:00PM OCEE Library

Volunteer Meeting - April 2nd, 2016 , Saturday 2:00 to 4:00PM Sharon Forks Library, 2820 Old Atlanta Road, Cumming 20041 GA

Vibha Cricket Cup 2016, April 16th

Volunteer Meeting - May 14th, 2016 , Saturday 3:00 to 5:00PM Sharon Forks Library, 2820 Old Atlanta Road, Cumming 20041 GA

Volunteer Meeting - Oct 10th, 2015 Saturday 2:00 to 4:00PM OCEE Library

Dream Mile 2015 - Sept 19th

Foster Care Volunteering, August 1, 2015

Volunteer Meeting - July 11th, Saturday 2:00 to 4:00PM

Volunteer Meeting - June 7th, Sunday 2:00 to 4:00PM, Johns Creek Fire Station No. 62

Vibha Cricket 2015 - April 2015

Youth Volunteer Meeting - April 26th, Sunday 12 to 2PM, Shakerag Firestation (Near Shakerag Elementary)

Vibha Chess 2015 - February 7th 2015

Volunteer Meeting - February 14th, 2015 - 2:30 pm - 4:30 pm @ OCEE Library

Vibha Table Tennis 2015 - February 28th 2015

Volunteer Meeting - January 10th, 2015 - 2:30 pm @ OCEE Library

Local Volunteering @CRN Gift Wrapping, December 20th 2014

Volunteer Meeting - December 6th 2014

Dream Mile 2014 - Sept 20th

Vibha Cricket 2014

Dream Play 2014

Dream Mile 2013

FutureTech Vibha Cricket Cup 2013

Dream Play 2013 - February 16th, 2013

Paramount Software Dream Mile 2012

FutureTech Cricket Cup 2012

Dream Play 2012 (Khel Mela) - March 24th, 2012

Hands-On Volunteering - Dec. 18th, 2011

Paramount Software Dream Mile 2011 - Oct 1st

Vibha Open - Tennis Tournament - Aug 20th

Krishna Kanhaiya - June 19th

FutureTech Vibha Cricket Cup 2011

Vibe - March 5th 2011

Past Events

[edit] In the Press

Cricket and Service: A Perfect Duo

FutureTech commits $50K in the next 5 years to Vibha Cricket Cup

K-MACS Dream Play 2012

FutureTech Vibha Cricket Cup 2011 - Khabar (July 2011)

International Dance Festival raises funds for children’s causes! - Khabar (February 2011)

12th Annual Dream Mile - Khabar (October 2010)

FutureTech Vibha Cricket Cup 2010 - Khabar (July 2010)

11th Annual Dream Mile - Khabar (October 2009)

Pyramid Consulting Super16 (July 2009)

FutureTech Vibha Cricket Cup 2009 - Khabar (June 2009)

Sanket Systems Khel Mela 2009 - Khabar (May 2009)

Older Press Releases

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