Monday, February 19, 2007

Team Asha Rocks Austin! - Part III

Hi All,

Here is the third in the series.

I . Team Asha's Heroes
II. Proposals to Asha Austin
III. Inspiration that humbles
IV. Dinner Reminder and Race Day Info

I . Team Asha's Heroes

Mansi Shah
Mansi was a 'roguette' before she joined Team Asha. She was inspired by the rest of the team to be a part of the effort. There was no way that we could have refused her enthusiasm! She has been holding on to her training well. The long distance that she has to travel for work, training and back home not withstanding she has been very regular for all workouts. She has 'blazed' ahead in her fundraising efforts and is really very close to reaching the target. On Sunday, I am sure it will be no different as she makes Team Asha proud!

Meghana Malur
I think I won't do justice to the amazing efforts she has put in without numbers! Being a student she had signed up to raise $400 and what has been her fundraising effort so far ? $3036 !! More than 7 times what she set out to achieve! She is Team Asha's Champion! I hope she accepts the invitation to give a lecture on fundraising to the next year's team. Her dedication and commitment to running was no different. She turned up to workouts regularly with the rigors of graduate school not withstanding! She has reminded everyone that crossing the finish line on Sunday doesn't mean a lot unless we fundraise.

Mihir Anandpara
Returning Team Asha Runner. Mihir's enthusiasm and energy has no bounds! He loves what most of us dread the most - Hills! In his own words its just 'insane' to be a part of Team Asha -BTW 'insane' means 'too good' :) An austinite for years, Mihir has been the mainstay of Team Asha for the last couple of years now. He is always there to help out the team - be it running or otherwise. On Sunday, he will be one of the few runners who go out to do their first marathon! We hope he gets all the hills he wants!

Mohit Sood
What chances would you give to a runner who gets injured twice - back to back ? Here is a marathoner who is going to inspire us to do our best despite what our mind tells us! Mohit had an injury early on in training and had to take time off to recuperate. Once, he was ready to get back to training, he hit shin splints! But, this time he was not taking 'NO' for an answer. Mohit again is going to be one of the few marathoners from Team Asha. It sure is going to be inspiring to all of us when he crosses the finish line on Sunday.

Murali Narasimhan
He works for 'Catalisis Health' and volunteers for both Asha and Vibha. His in-depth understanding of experiences working with projects, guides Asha Austin many a times. He has been actively involved with the 'Right to Education' bill and has been Asha's main resource person in this regard! Murali has been involved with the organization of the program as well. Thanks to his efforts we will have a lot of volunteers at the 'Asha' water stop on Sunday. He has been training at the North side location and has put in all the hardwork to be at the startline on Sunday.

Neena Richard
Neena has a full time job and a family with two kids to take care of! Many of us are worried about the time we can spare given all that we do. But, I have never heard her mention time as a constraint for anything. I am amazed as to how she wonderfully balanced a full time job, family and the training. She is one of a kind! Neena is also one of the more improved runners with Asha. She has come a long way from where she started out in terms of running. The sheer grit and persistence she has demonstrated for the rest of us, has inspired our team many a times!

Nivas Durai
The chances that you saw him running at the workouts is going to be slim, because he is most probably done already :) Though he is very modest about it, he is Team Asha's fastest runner ever. There is nothing wrong in being fast! He had again back to back injuries - Shin splints and then ITB issues when he came back to running. A lot of travel on the job didn't help a lot too. He came out to cheer at races and was always there for the rest of the team. There is no denying the fact that all of Team Asha is proud of him - not just for the 'lightning' speed, but for the amazing efforts he has put in for the team and in fundraising for the cause.

Praveen Kalamegham
Praveen is an active Pratham volunteer. He is one of the silent performers in Team Asha. His hetic work related travel schedule meant he couldn't turn up for a lot of workouts. This did not deter him from training on his own. He did a lot of runs at the places he travelled to. It really takes a lot of dedication and commitment to be able to train alone. The same qualities also reflect in his fundraising efforts - he has already crossed the target! We as a team truly do recognize his amazing efforts and humble silence! On Sunday, as Praveen crosses the finish line the whole team shall shout out for him!

Pritam Kulkarni
The first to reach the fundraising target! She was so fast that most of us hadn't even started to fundraise then! She had to do a lot of travelling to get to the workouts down south. But, she has been as committed to training as she was committed to the cause. She has already started making plans for her next goal - San Diego Marathon! We all know that she is for sure going to rock the 'Rock N Roll' marathon there. She is again one of the silent performers in the Team and has put on a sterling effort both in terms of fundraising and running!

Priyavadan Kumar
Sports and being fit is not new to him. Priyavadan is part of the Texas Cricket League and has also represented Austin in major matches! With crazy work schedules, visiting family etc. training did get a bit off and he also had to face injury concerns. He got back to steady running only last weekend and ably supported other runners doing the Surfside half marathon. Being a Team player is not new to him and he has been providing a lot of support and encouragement to the rest of the team. On Sunday, as he crosses the finish line, I am sure the rest of the team would give back to him!

Go Team Asha!!

II. Proposals to Asha Austin
What is a project proposal ? What questions do you ask a grass roots effort ? Proposals and documentation are very important aspects of how we work with a project - it furthers our relationship with the efforts at the ground and promotes transparency of our work.

Here is a sample proposal :

III. Inspiration that humbles
We have been inspired and humbled by amazing athletes and amazing lives of dedication to a cause!

Sometimes the whole idea of 'giving' / 'doing' creeps in a 'feel good' factor for those who do it. Did we really support an effort to feel good about supporting it ? or did we take the effort to see that the support did bring about a positive change in the lives of the people it reached out to ? Here are a few stories about a few lives that we touched - these stories are a source of immense inspiration and humbling too. The kind of odds they had to face to be here is not something we can easily imagine.

I state below from my own learning at Asha Austin :

Sheela from Seva Chakkara Samajam
Brought up in the orphanage, sheela always looked out for all the other children in the home. After graduating from her MBA, she had many options, but decided to give back to the organization. She is one of the main co-ordinators at the orphanage now.
(Details chanegd to protect privacy)

Asha Austin had supported the efforts of Seva Chakkara Samajam earlier -

Shailaja from Prasanna Jyothi
Shailaja is in the last semester of her Engineering degree in Civil engineering, with the Bangalore College of Engineering. She is actively looking for jobs that will get her placed. She has similar interests and goals as any other student of her age, but she comes from a different background. She was raised in Prasanna Jyothi, one of the Asha supported orphanages in Austin.
(Details changed to protect privacy)

Stories from Banyan
There are amazing stories from the banyan that inspires us to take on life and contribute in whatever way we can - here are a few :

These are just few of the efforts that Asha Austin is involved with. There are a lot more inspiring stories in every project. I strongly encourage you to take some effort in going through the projects to learn more about the wonderful work they do!

IV. Dinner Reminder and Race Day Info

Today at 6:30 P.M is the Team Asha Pre-race Dinner! Please do plan on being there on time!

Water Stop
Look out for the Asha water stop on the course. We will be at around Mile 5. Please don't plan on staying there for the party :) You will be amazed at what that Asha T-shirt can do for you when you get there ;)

Pankaj (510-637-8512) has been doing a wonderful effort in co-ordinating the water stop. If you have any questions let him know.

Cheering on the course
"Go Team Asha!!" you are going to hear this so many times that you are going to mumble this in your sleep!

Really, we plan to be of support to you in whatever way we can and make sure that we notice you! Its going to be a huge crowd on race day and as always make sure you stand out. I think it comes naturally to the Team ;)

The real plans could be a guarded secret from the runners!

If you have any questions please let Gaurav (650-450-3541) know. He has been pitching in with a wonderful effort to co-ordinate the whole cheering for the Team!


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