AmeriCorps VISTA Staff

AmeriCorps Vista is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service, an independent federal agency whose mission is to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering. AmeriCorps VISTA provides full-time members to community organizations and public agencies to create and expand programs that build capacity and ultimately bring low-income individuals and communities out of poverty.
What began as a response to President Obama’s Call to Serve in summer 2009 lead to an initiative to build capacity through seva by a group of Hindu Americans. Hindu American Seva Charities (HASC) entered into partnership with Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), AmeriCorps VISTA, the Points of Light Institute, and the Institute for Faith & Service through the appointment of three skilled AmeriCorps members: Dr. Kumud Sane, Niki Shah and Rema Venkatsubban.
As part of recommendations issued to President Obama on “Integrating and Valuing America’s Religious Diversity,” HASC is undertook this comprehensive initiative to build capacity and leverage the talents and resources of the community to strengthen America and reduce poverty.
Highly qualified individuals from our community started training and orientation on August 2nd, 2010 in Atlanta began work full time for a year, on specific Seva projects identified by HASCand the new class of VISTAs who started in November 2011 is continuing the effort :
Engage New Americans, particularly the Dharmic (generally refers to Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Sikh) students at colleges and campuses across America to advance interfaith and provide community service in low-income
Work with Dharmic faith based temples and organizations to develop Seva centers to expand civic engagement to serve economically deprived communities and thereby promoting interfaith service
Support Bhutanese and other refugee communities and other under-privileged communities to become self sustaining and self-reliant.

Ramya Ram, Program and Social Media Coordinator, Maryland

Ramya Ramachandran recently graduated from the College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences. She obtained a Bachelor of Science in Human Physiology and Neurobiology from the University of Maryland-College Park in May 2011. Ramya is an individual who is passionate about helping humanity through life and environmental sciences. One of her most recent projects has been to motivate students from local schools to think about ways in which they can "environmentally enhance" their school grounds. Ramya has guided them through fund raising for their events so that they can buy the appropriate resources for their activities. Over the years, Ramya has coached students through various levels of biology and chemistry. In the future, Ramya hopes to use her past experiences in order to help people play a greater role in conserving their environment and achieving inner spirituality.

AmeriCorps Staff 2010 - 2011
Dr. Kumud Sane

Dr. Kumud Sane is board certified Pediatrician and Pediatric Endocrinologist. She retired from Pediatric Endocrine Department, University of Minnesota recently. She is one of the Founder of Hindu Society of Minnesota which was established in 1978. She has served in various capacities in the organization. At present she is the Chair of Executive Council of Trustee Board. She has worked hard to unite all Hindus and Jains in Minneapolis and St. Paul to build Beautiful, Grand Temple with twenty-one shrines. The Hindu Society of Minnesota is involved in educational, cultural, charity and interfaith activities along with religious services.
Niki Shah
Niki Shah was born and raised in Mumbai, India until he was ten years old. He received a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Media and Economics from and M.S. in Global Affairs and minor in International Business from Rutgers University. His foreign policy experience includes working at the United Nations and volunteering for the UN Volunteers Program and the UN Global Compact Group based out of New York. Most recently, he worked on Capitol Hill and his background and research interests are focused on U.S. foreign policy in Middle East, South Asia and Africa. Niki serves on the boards of other South Asian organizations where he focuses on addressing both domestic policy and foreign policy issues to advance development and foster inter-cultural communication and understanding.
Rema Venkatasubban
After taking a B.Sc in Chemistry with a minor in French, Physics and Math, Rema Venkatasubban went on to complete the course work for a Master's degree in English Literature in India. She later accompanied her husband to France for five years, where he was a French Government scholar. Housed by the Government in special accommodation intended for overseas scholars, she had the unique opportunity of living amidst families from 26 different nationalities. This exposed her to the rich and varied cultures of the world. Raising two children in France and later on in the US, she was an active volunteer in their schools for the past 16 years, thereby bringing about a passion for Seva. Her spirit of community service was kindled by the opportunity to work for the City of Wichita as a Library Assistant for 5 years, and by her volunteering to cook and serve supper at the Inter-faith Inn for the homeless for 8 years. As a care taker of her mother in a local nursing home, she is keenly interested in bringing about dignity, respect and dharmic culture to elder care homes in the US.