In my first year of attending Richmond Hill high school I had heard many students talking about SEVA, however at the time I was not sure what SEVA was , I knew the word itself meant selfless service in punjabi. As I made new friends I eventually learned about this organization in greater detail and what it offered. I was told it was non-profit community service organization located in Richmond Hill. I knew right away this was something I wanted to be a part of, and I am so glad I did. In 2010, I joined SEVA as a volunteer and began working on the census and voter registration project. I was never part of any organization prior to joining SEVA , so this was a new experience for me. I lacked communication and leadership skills, and confidence in being able to speak to people and organizing events. With the coming years I found myself thriving in these very things.
I have always been passionate about helping others and my community , and making the difference. SEVA provided a platform in which I could do just that. As an active SEVA member I had the opportunity to educate local members of the community about the importance of census and voting, I was able to educate women about breast cancer and provide them with free mammograms. In addition, every year I have the chance to put everything we stand for in action at the annual Sikh Day Parade. When SANDY hit, SEVA members raised hundreds of dollars to purchase canned goods for the survivors, as well as start a clothing drive. Furthermore, through SEVA I have the chance to work on different campaigns such as NY Speaks Punjabi. Of course this list does not contain various other projects and events that SEVA has worked on. I also attended several meetings , including meetings about redistribution in Richmond Hill, organizing the SDP, and RH restaurant week. Seva also introduced me to people within the community such as the local desi police men, congressmen, lawyers, and other organizers.
On a personal note , I have grown so much as a member of SEVA. I now have the confidence to lead my own projects, put events together and anything else I set my mind to. I am ever so grateful to SEVA because it did much more than provide me with a multitude of events and project to work on but it also helped me in my own personal life. Through SEVA I got to meet and see amazing people such as Kiran Bedi and Malala Yousafzai. I developed the confidence to speak to other organizations and work side by side with them. I learned how to create and maintain databases, and all the outreach and speaking to the public boosted my confidence while doing presentations in college. Joining SEVA was the easiest thing but I also learned all the hard work it takes to make an event be possible. Through SEVA I have made many new friends , and frankly they have become my second family. I gained two mentors Gurpal and Sharon who always taught us to work hard and never forget why we do what we do. I am currently a Hunter College student working towards becoming a child psychologist.
I was 12 years old when my family thought it was a good idea to move to Richmond Hill, Queens, from a small town in Punjab, India. They were right in doing so, because I met some of the most influential people I've known thus far here in Richmond Hill with the help of SEVA. SEVA found me in 2010 when I was a mere teenager looking for purpose. Through rigorous training, SEVA taught me about "community empowerment" through organizing. I really do believe that the best way to help someone is to empower them, to take personal action to solve their dillemas so that they can experience the process of social change for themselves. I consciously work to incorporate these theories into other parts of my life. I'm also a full-time student at Queens College studying Business and Accounting, amongst other things. I enjoy spending my free time brainstorming with the SEVA crew and discovering the meaning of life.
I graduated from City College pursuing a Bachelors in Political Science. I first joined Seva back in 2010 after I watched them in action at the Sikh Day Parade. I live in Richmond Hill, Queens and the organizing work I do with SEVA has connected me with my community in a deeper way than I had anticipated. I have worked on numerous civic engagement and community organizing campaigns including SEVA's Census and redistricting projects. I approach community organizing with the understanding that only a long term commitment can result in substantive change in our communities.
I lived in Queens, New York for the first 10 years of my life before my family relocated to New Delhi, India. After living there for 8 years, I returned to the U.S. to attend college. Here, I'm working on my Bachelors degrees in Physics and Biological Anthropology at Queens College. During my time here, I've also been a research intern at RF CUNY and a physics tutor. Starting Fall 2015, I'll begin working on my PhD in Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. I first became involved with SEVA NY as a volunteer for the 2012 Sikh Day Parade and have since continued to be a part of the organization as, at times, the "voice of reason" and at others the "cynical naysayer." I'm also the in-house Neil deGrasse Tyson at SEVA.
Daljinder Singh Japra
I was born and raised in New York. I attended public elementary, middle, and high school in Queens. Things started picking up when I entered my freshman year at NYU Polytechnic Institute of Technology (also known as NYU-SoE). I'm currently pursuing my Bachelor's in Science and majoring in Electrical Engineering. I've been a community organizer with SEVA for many years now. Like many others, my community organizing career began as a volunteer with SEVA at the Sikh Day Parade. My community organizing work at SEVA is focused on civic engagement. Contact me if you are interested in working on our voter registration campaign. Desis Vote!
I was born in India, raised in Astoria, Queens and have been living in Richmond Hill, Queens for over ten years. My involvement in SEVA has spanned nearly 7 years beginning when I first met Gurpal in the summer of 2008 at the Sikh Cultural Society of New York. I have worked on almost every campaign and project that SEVA has undertaken. The community organizing work I have done with SEVA has changed my perception of society works and the impact a small few can have on positive change in a community. I am focused on working on youth engagement and community health projects as I work on my Bachelors degree.