Volunteer Ahmedabad Proudly Graduates 5th Batch of Young Leaders
On 15 June 2010, Volunteer Ahmedabad (VA) celebrated the graduation of its 5th Youth Leadership Course (YLC) batch. With 15 graduating members, the ceremony on the rooftop of the Indicorps office brought together YLC alumni, parents, partner organizations, and hosts of other well-wishers. The parents of the 2010 YLC participants were elated. “What we could not help our son do in twenty-four years, Volunteer Ahmedabad’s YLC did it in six weeks,” shared the proud father of Abhishek Khatri, 2010 YLC participant.
The 2010 YLC focused on three topics: education, environment, and heritage. The education team organized a student show for Helpline– an Ahmedabad-based school focused on educating the children of migrants; the environment team planted over 50 trees; and the heritage team organized a Grand Heritage Walk in the Ahmedabad Old City. “YLC has given me a platform to initiate a social change that I always wanted to make and it will continue to be a part of who I am forever,” said Yash Modi, a member of the 2010 YLC education team. Mahesh Desai, founder of Helpline and a mentor for the education team, applauded the YLC participants’ dedication and creativity and said, “While I was supposed to be guiding them, in all honesty, the YLC education team has rejuvenated me.”
YLC also allowed for intense personal development of each participant. Nakul Vadher, from the heritage team said, “Six-weeks ago, I was reluctant to talk to people. Now I am willing to speak to friends, family, strangers, and the media about the importance of heritage and civic responsibility.” Abhishek Khatri added, “I have a new-found confidence in taking responsibility for things around me that I want to change.”
Even more extraordinary was the fact that the 2010 YLC course was conducted almost entirely by former YLC participants. YLC alumni shared best practices and innovated in their curriculum design and peer-to-peer leadership-building methodology. 2009 alumni Dimpy Dave took the lead. With support of YLC alumni Jinesh Mistry, Khyati Bhaglani, and others who served as project guides, Dimpy’s tenacity and enthusiasm proved to be a constant source of motivation. Dimpy says, “Coordinating this year’s YLC gave me immense pride. It helped me test my leadership skills and experience leadership in a true sense.”
The participants’ reaction to the peer leadership experiment was incredibly positive. Kiran Dodiya, YLC 2010 environment team member, states: “Before YLC I did not think that one person could make a difference. However, now I think I can be that person. I can initiate a change by starting a chain of positive actions.”