Saturday, August 30, 2008

Spotlight on a volunteer

Three years ago, Matt from Manchester came to Mysore to practice yoga, and to volunteer with Operation Shanti and our Street People Program. Matt was an immediate hit with our boys as, in his late 30's at the time, he still possessed those kid-like qualities that children so easily relate to.

Matt with the boys three years ago on the street

This year, the same boys that Matt hung out with three years ago, plus a few new ones, are now at Karunya Mane. One of Matt's duties as volunteer this year was to play soccer and cricket with the kids on Sundays.

Matt also got to know the other kids at KM, teaching Divya and Shanti how to tie their shoe laces on Independence Day, and helping the three newest kids -- Vinod, Netra, and Swarana -- during their move-in at KM.

Matt also spent time on the street in the mornings, and the little ones sure did enjoy him.

Matt and Saumya

The younger kids didn't really remember Matt from 2005, as they were all of one year old then, but the older boys remembered him immediately -- especially Venkatesh, with whom Matt developed a strong connection. Matt's support for Operation Shanti doesn't stop with just spending time with the kids -- he created the site Shanti Shirts, a fundraising vehicle, and sponsors Venkatesh through our sponsor program.