SUNNYVALE, Calif. — Early July 12, Baylands Park here was sprawling with over 5,000 runners, walkers, and volunteers as the annual 2015 Sevathon Run/Walk was kicked off by the India Community Center here. Brought to life every year by tireless volunteers, Sevathon is a large-scale Indian American community event that promotes the spirit and volunteerism of non-profit organizations throughout the Bay Area.
This year, 115 non-profit organizations and over 3,500 walkers, runners, and yoga enthusiasts participated in the event, including over 200 seniors and over 300 half-marathon runners. From one-year-olds to 84-year-olds, participants came from all ages and backgrounds for a single cause: to nurture the spirit of giving.
Govind Desale, a 5K participant, told India-West, “I am a supporter of Indians For Collective Action, and I am participating on behalf of that organization. Also, walking and running is always good, but this is for a good cause.”
Fellow 5K participant Perunal Ratnam agreed with Desale. “This is my first time doing Sevathon, thanks to Govind, but it’s fun to walk and meet good people,” he told India-West.
To exemplify this nature of giving, ICC seniors woke up extra early Sunday morning and voluntarily prepared delicious treats like pani-puri for the participants and volunteers, before walking in the 5K themselves. When asked why they went the extra mile to buy and prepare the food, the seniors simply smiled and said it was the least they could do for such a kind community.
The event included onstage performances by U Jam, BollyX and many traditional Indian dance and music groups.
The Sevathon executive board also took a few moments to acknowledge a few Indian American youths who have bettered their communities in various ways.
The impressive awardees were Aditya Gunda and Hersh Solanki of Catch a Z Foundation (see India-West’s article here: http://bit.ly/1BIixXI), which helps the impoverished with donated blankets and microloans; Saagar Gupta, a serial entrepreneur who has worked to eliminate racism through his Desegregate Society movement; Shubham Banerjee, the inventor of the Lego Braille printer; Rebecca Dharmapalan, an award winning filmmaker and activist against sexual trafficking; and Arvind Sridhar of Geography for Tomorrow, which aims to educate underprivileged children.
The six awardees were each presented with a plaque by outstanding leaders in their field: Farhana Huq, Dayamurda Dennehy, Vinod Jain, Ram Reddy and Dr. Sunil Vermuri.
“It’s a great honor to be accepting this award for youth achievement,” awardee Arvind Sridhar told India-West, “I really hope that it motivates other community members to also go out and teach other underprivileged kids.”
Sevathon also received an award from Hayward’s Life Chiropractic College West’s India Club president Dr. Raj Dhaliwal for Outstanding Achievement in spreading Indian culture.