CMA’s ‘Yuva Connect’ Initiative
Chinmaya Mission Alpharetta (CMA) hosted a Yuva Connect program organized by its high schoolers (JCHYK) on March 26, 2017 at their ashram Chinmaya Gurukul. The event was open to the public, connecting with the wider youth community, even outside the Indian diaspora, on the theme “Overcoming obstacles and negative addictions.”
The vision behind Yuva Connect was to empower the JCHYKs to lead and coordinate an event that brought together youth from all backgrounds, both within and outside of CMA, to discuss and find creative solutions for issues related to youth and to learn from motivational role models in the community. With the motto “Connect, Motivate, Transform,” the program segments were Guest speakers/Role Models, Youth Group Discussion/Debate, and Workshop.
Guided by the vision and plan of the adult coordinators, the JCHYKs worked out the details and added their own creative elements. Their publicity included outreach to students at local high schools and libraries through social media, flyer, brochures, and a website. They also interviewed the guest speakers and planned the group discussion, activities, and logistics.
After prayers and aarti, the youth emcees opened the show with some lighthearted humor, followed by a presentation on the CHYK program. Icebreakers then added a lot of fun and energy to the audience.
Icebreakers played a part in the program to “Connect, Motivate, and Transform.”
Interesting group discussions on the benefits and risks of social media brought out many new perspectives. An innovative obstacle course embodied the challenges one faces throughout high school.
Mr. Dharmadhikari (second from right), a nuclear scientist and a blind inventor, was an inspiration.
The first guest role model was Mr. Dharmadhikari, a nuclear scientist who became blind at the peak of his career. A youth panel interviewed him, learning how, after his blindness, he led his life with perseverance and strength and invented a Braille keyboard that could help other blind people use computers. A lively Q&A session followed.
Dr. Arun Pol (left), a clinical psychiatrist, spoke about social media and meditation.
The second guest speaker was Dr. Arun Pol, a clinical psychiatrist. Drawing on his experience as a medical expert, he spoke about the damaging effects of social media addiction as well as the benefits of meditation. His refreshing perspective covered not only spiritual effects but physiological benefits as well.
The event featured food for thought and food for the stomach: the JCHYKs had planned a sumptuous menu! CMA’s first Yuva Connect was a huge success. Everyone, 8th graders and up, including the many non CMA kids who came, enjoyed the event.
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