White House Honors Student For Essay on Seva
Local Voice: Divyaansh Raj, an 8th grader, writes on how selfless service can change the world.
Divyaansh Raj, known as Divi, an eighth grader at Heritage Middle School, participated this summer in the Hindu American Sava Charities (HASC) conference “Impacting Change in America and Abroad" in Washington DC.
About 200 Hindu Americans including youth, military and community leaders of many faiths, participated in the event.
Divi was recognized for his winning essay about the role the Hindu faith plays in service. Divi and other winners were given a tour of the White House and received a medal at the White House briefing.
The following was written by Divyaansh Raj.
The only way to change a society is by making its foundation stronger and more powerful. This will cause the mood of the nation to turn and will soon affect the entire country in a positive way.
I believe that the only way to do this is by starting with kids from an elementary level, say 1st grade. Just like the way that we have the D.A.R.E. program at my school, we should have a Seva program; this program will teach the little kids about selflessness at a very moldable age.
I believe this as the studies show that if kids watch shows with mean characters and violence, then those traits get engraved in their behavior. So if it works in that negative way, I believe we can also achieve the mass movement for seva and can change the way people in this nation think by impacting the young minds through positive action. We will then not be producing just men and woman, but humanitarians who will take the poverty off the streets of our great nation.
Most of my community is above the poverty line so I haven’t seen, but only heard about the people who are less fortunate than me and my classmates. But there are things happening around me that hurt some of my schoolmates, and I feel need to change these.
In my school, there are some kids with disabilities; and instead of helping them, or making friends with them, many kids think it is amusing to make fun of them indirectly. They will try to strike a conversation with a challenged child and then they will mock at the answers they get. Those special kids aren’t able to understand the sarcasm in the bully’s voice, and they are aloof from the idea that they are getting bullied. Those young girls and boys are so unaware of the hurtful things that are said to them behind their backs.
I feel for these kids who are trying hard to be in the mainstream education, and fit in. This is where I feel we should do something. If we can make the bullies to be respectful human beings to those people and care for them, we can truly expand the true meaning of seva. We don’t have to join a center or temple, but helping the people around you, and giving up some of your time for those who need all the hands they can get, we can setup examples of selfless service. We have to see divinity in every living thing.
Another way we can expand seva for the rest of our kids and families is by establishing seva centers and encourage kids to join them. These centers can identify people in the community who need help, either physically, emotionally, or financially. The kids can visit these people and help them. This way the kids will be able to learn and accept the many challenges of life, and have reasons to help those who are less fortunate. They can learn to donate time to others. And above all, they will get a new meaning to their unique dharmas.
I feel that for a successful Seva center or program, it is important first to evoke and stir the desire for selfless service fire in hearts of people. Once kindled it will keep itself ignited for ever because the happiness and joy it gives. I feel it, and I am sure that by spreading this around, everyone will feel the same way.