Guest AuthorNathan S V

Impacting futures – one person at a time

By | Nathan SV | Partner and Chief Talent Officer at Deloitte India

Years ago, I had joined an organisation, which was different in every way that I have experienced. Within a few months of my joining, there was a lot of buzz around the ‘Impact Day’ and I was asked to lead a ‘thread’. I understood this to be volunteerism of some kind. I chose to be with the ‘Seniors’ Home’ thread. The magic date came by and I went to the place for senior citizens, many abandoned to fend for themselves. The volunteers had some activities for the residents followed by lunch.

I saw an old woman who was somewhat aloof. I went up to her and struck up a conversation with the only two words I knew of the local language- ‘how are you?’ She spoke to me animatedly for around an hour in a language I had no clue about. Her face was expressive. I held her hand and nodded my head pretending to understand. I still remember how it ended – she gave me a warm hug and placed her hand on my head, as if to bless me. She had tears in her eyes. And, she was not the only one.

Years passed and much later, my mother came to stay with us. I remember the first time I returned home from work I went up and asked her the same question –‘how are you’. She spoke to me endlessly, mostly about her aches and pains. I empathized with her, nodded my head. She gave me a warm hug and blessed me, her hand on my head. I followed this ritual until her untimely passing away. A deep connection, all owed to the magical Impact day that taught me about relationships. A deep Impact for sure.

A number of years have passed since that incident, but the spirit of Impact Day has remained just as strong. Every year, I’m humbled to see so many young people take charge as project leaders for threads that appeal to them, and so many thousands more volunteers who invest time, energy, and passion to execute the plans.

This extraordinary year poses many questions – will we be able to have an Impact Day at all, the risk of health and safety concerns for volunteers? A few months back, at the height of the lockdown, we tested the waters by offering a virtual volunteering option, which would help sustain learning outcomes in underserved communities, even as classrooms stayed shut – and volunteers took to it like duck to water!

I’m very excited to share we’re having a completely virtual Impact Day on 27 November. The pathways are focused on education and skill-building, vital if we at are to prepare ourselves for the future. In addition to our own volunteers, here in India, Deloitte Global CEO, Punit Renjen will also be hosting a session for the young women at Udayan Care – an NGO that runs a fellowship program that provides scholarships and developmental opportunities to deserving and talented girls (aged 16-21) from underserved backgrounds. Things are slowly falling into place and I hope you will wish us luck for this unique leg of Impact Day.

This isn’t just about me telling you about an initiative – we are in unprecedented times and there are many out there who need a bit of support to get back on their feet. In whatever way you can, for whichever cause is dear to you – reach out. We all need to take care of each other, and trust me –we all feel its impact, one person at a time.

Republished with permission and originally published at Nathan SV’s LinkedIn

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