On Saturday, October 1st, the people of Austin will once again join together to serve their community as part of the Be the Change National Day of Service. Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s famous quotation, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world,” Be the Change takes place every year on or near Gandhi’s October 2nd birthday. Started at the University of Michigan eleven years ago, Be the Change has grown into a volunteer and leadership development program that attracts thousands of volunteers across the country. In 2010, nearly 3,500 volunteers participated in fifteen cities and on over sixty college campuses nationwide.
Be the Change is coordinated nationally by South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), a national non-profit organization dedicated to building a more just and inclusive society. Taking place for the third year in Austin, the Be the Change Day of Service is organized by a diverse coalition of community groups and individuals throughout Central Texas.
Austin has also been selected for the second straight year as one of nine featured Core Cities whose activities are highlighted nationally by SAALT. Last year, Austin had the largest number of volunteers in the country, with over five hundred volunteers participating in over fifteen service projects for organizations such as the Capital Area Food Bank, Texas After Violence, Trees for Pease, and the Workers Defense Project. Last year’s volunteer events concluded with a historic celebration at the Texas State Capitol featuring local musician Kat Edmonson and speakers including Council Member Laura Morrison, State Representative Mark Strama, Deval Sanghavi, and Parag Mehta of the US Department of Labor.
This year’s Be the Change Day of Service in Austin will kick off on the south steps of the Texas State Capitol on the morning of October 1st to provide flexibility for scheduling projects, including day-long service opportunities. The Day of Service will be preceded by a screening of the Oscar-winning biopic Gandhi on Saturday, September 24th, at the AVAYA Auditorium on the University of Texas campus. Students will also have the chance to participate in a Be the Change essay contest.
Media inquiries may be directed to Ramey Ko, Be the Change Media Outreach Coordinator, at (512) 577-5729 or Media@BeTheChange.org. Proposals for or questions regarding service opportunities and project sites should be directed to Rupal Shah, Be the Change Volunteer Coordinator, at (512) 740-8895 or Volunteer@BeTheChange.org. More details will be available soon at http://BetheChangeAustin.org/ and via Facebook and Twitter.
WHAT: Be the Change Day of Service
WHEN: Saturday, October 1st
WHERE: Texas State Capitol (Kickoff); Various Project Sites
WHO: Volunteers from all across the Austin area