A first-hand perspective on Be the Change —
August 13, 2020

A first-hand perspective on Be the Change

By Ashna Bhansali

be the change

Be the Change is a day of national service inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings and his famous quote, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” When I joined Be the Change, I was an incoming eighth grader, and one of the youngest people on its newly formed youth leadership council.

Organized by South Asian Americans Leading Together, the Be the Change youth leadership council is taking the lead on planning Austin’s event. The youth leadership council is a part of Be the Change that allows teenagers to share their voices and engage in civic service by meeting regularly to plan an annual day of service. At first, I was extremely intimidated by the sheer amount of people there and how much older than me they seemed to be, but I quickly learned that everyone’s opinion was equally valued in the council. Everyone showed me warmth and respect, and now I am proud to be a part of Be the Change, as I know that I am standing for a good cause, alongside amazing people.

I have met so many brilliant and kindhearted people through Be the Change, as well as significantly increased the amount of volunteerism I do. Be the Change is empowering, and makes me realize that if one individual can do so many things for the world, actively collaborating with peers and colleagues can create movements that achieve great heights.

The event’s goals are to motivate individuals around the country to participate in community service, to develop and promote leadership in the South Asian community, to create and cultivate partnerships with local and national organizations and companies, and to build a sense of unity and teamwork within the South Asian Community in the United States.

Through Be the Change, I have learned a lot about myself and my culture. Along with other members of the organization, I have attended and taken notes on meetings that were about listening to issues people of my ethnicity and background have faced, and seen people make an effort to change them. Be the Change has shown me that people really care about the struggles other people fight to overcome, and that they will work tirelessly to create change for them.

I have admired Mahatma Gandhi and his work towards nonviolent change ever since I was a child. He helped inspire people to do more for their community and stand up for what was right. When I watch the people of Be the Change in action, I see people selflessly serving their community. I witness my peers inspire others to be more involved with helping their community through the day of service.

In honor of Gandhi, Be the Change is usually hosted around his birthday, Oct. 2. This year, the planning committee has arranged for the event to be held on Saturday, Oct. 1. I am proud to be continuing Mahatma Gandhi’s legacy through this initiative, and I hope others are also inspired to find their voice and have an impact in the world.

How can you be a part of Be the Change? For questions and concerns regarding community service opportunities in Austin, you can contact Sonia Kotecha, one of the main organizers of Be the Change, at s_kotecha@yahoo.com. To be a part of this day of service, you can sign up to volunteer at BeTheChange.org.



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