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We are family!

written by Uttanshi Agarwal

There is always energy, the infectious kind, which storms through a room that is filled with teenage students and last Tuesday at the Ashwini Charitable Trust was no exception. After a tiring day at the office, which I spent sitting in front of a computer, this energy was definitely a welcome and much-needed distraction. As I walk in, I see some familiar faces, some not-so-familiar ones and even some complete strangers, who were all warm and welcoming.

Everyone has favorites-favorite students, favorite subjects, favorite teachers, favorite centers. The Ashwini Charitable Trust is a favorite among the U&I volunteers because everything there is so ‘amazing and sorted’, as they put it. The children love their social sciences, math (Oh yes, math!) and English. They want to play cricket the way Virat Kohli and Sachin Tendulkar do. They love their teachers and cannot wait to go out there and explore the world full of opportunities that awaits them.

I got to know the teachers a little better and was amazed at their commitment to the cause. Tazeen, a teacher who is pursuing her degree in Business Management, tells me that she loves teaching and uses this time to hone her skills. She believes that it is essential to do what one holds dear to their hearts, even if it means juggling between unbelievably long college hours and volunteering with this NGO.

Ashitha, another volunteer, is of the opinion that the two hours she spends coming to class every week are the most enriching and she learns more from her students. Chandan, who has been associated with the NGO for three consecutive years, nostalgically remembers the speeches given by Ajith and Satish, the co-founders of the NGO, who were instrumental in roping him in.

Jeevitha, the Center Manager, had just graduated from her Engineering college when she realized that it was just not her thing and instead joined U&I where she manages curriculum and occasionally (read everyday) visits these centers. Jason Robert, who has been a part of CRY, says ACT is his family: one that he comes back to and can count on to lift his spirits and also to give him peace that is usually absent in the Law course that he is pursuing from CMR Law School.

I walked in as a stranger to the majority in that room and left secure in the knowledge that while our aged is busy combating national issues, the youth is busy oiling the wheels that will lead the nation to glory. I came as a mere observer, but I left as a person who was sure of the change that was taking place. I walk out with a smile that is a result of the warmth of a family even in the coldest of times.

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