Sunday, September 14, 2014

Patel Academy

My nieces Sonia and Sarina (ages 11 and 7) sometimes record videos with questions on topics they are curious about and send them to their masis, masas, mamas, and mamis for answers. Sort of like a family-powered, demand-driven Khan Academy. Patel Academy. Recently they sent me and Jay a question about how FaceTime works:



They are very cute, I especially loved Sonia's articulate enthusiasm and Sarina as she avoided getting slapped in the face. I took the question up because it was interesting, I knew the answer, and thought it would be fun to make the the video and delight the girls. I wanted to do something Khan Academy style because the response required a diagram to explain properly. I eventually settled on screen capturing an animated powerpoint, which gave me all the control I needed and perhaps better graphics than drawing on a tab. It was also way easier to set up than a screen-captured stencil and tab:





The video was a big hit with the girls. Sejal and Sanjay were also thrilled, and so was I! I believe Sal Khan got started with his videos in much the same way, making them for young family members. I could see why it was so engaging. It took me a while to do the pixel graphic, but most of the time was taken up recording the voice-over. I tried to make it perfect, since a video lasts forever. I stubbornly didn't script it out, so did about 30 takes before I got it decent. But the whole time I was totally energized and excited to do it. It's fun to think about how to simplify complex topics, fun to produce videos, and most of all fun to think of and feel love for my nieces. They came back with this response and follow-up questions:



This was vintage Sejal, who with Sanjay sent back such sweet and heartfelt notes of praise and gratitude. I was grateful too for the opportunity to be part of the game and feel close and connected to the girls even though I'm so far away. For my responses I did one each for Sonia and Sarina's questions, who asked about what the Internet's "pipes" were and how computers work with 1's and 0s:





Video used like this is an outstanding way to learn and engage. It takes thoughtful effort to record a video response and even the question. Both sides are engaged deeply as they organize their thoughts to record something with quality for the other. It was good fun learning and re-learning (CS61C flashbacks when explaining opcodes!).

I think a great model for growing Khan Academy (if they haven't already done this) is to decentralize the video production and empower TedX-style Khan Academies like Patel Academy. I would have loved some peer-review of my videos and suggestions to improve. If Khan Academy is really to scale, the only way is to birth a million local informal KhanX Academies amongst social groups large and small. Also it's great if the student, not just the teacher, record so the learning is demand-driven and the student's engagement is stepped up by creating, not just consuming.

Imagine, even, if the students turned around and started producing their own instructional videos to keep the chain going!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Driving Delight

Over the last year or so, the most pleasant experience I've had living in India has been that of becoming a licensed driver, and more recently, a car owner. There are many aspects of daily life in India that, put mildly, are a challenge, but I've been delighted by the experience of being a driver with my own car.


I've already written about how driving has subtly but profoundly improved my day-to-day life. In short, I feel more independent, and free of the sometimes harsh often tedious transactions associated with riding rickshaws or public transportation. Now I sit in my nice clean new air conditioned Maruti Suzuki Wagon-R, which has transformed getting around from hassle to something like enjoyment. 

Since I've started driving, I have also discovered the secret world of delightful facilities and services that come with driving a car, and more specifically, being a car owner. I've come to believe that car ownership is one aspect of Indian life that matches the convenience, reliability, and modernity of the US, and in some aspects beats the US.

Buying my car itself was relatively hassle-free. It was just like it would be in the States, I showed up to a local dealership one day, saw what they had, bargained off of clearly written rates that checked out, and bought the car the next day. There was one hitch in the experience that the car I bought got sold before the salesman submitted the paperwork, and I had the T.I.I. sirens going off in my head, but it got rectified in a pretty satisfactory way. The on-the-road ("out-the-door") price included insurance and maintenance, and there were no hidden fees. Very straight-forward. Even dealing with the RTO for registration and license plates was more or less straightforward. The RTO (Indian DMV) sent me an SMS to show up for a license plate appointment, which was facilitated by the dealer that even helped me reschedule. At the RTO I didn't have to bribe anyone (though one guy tricked me out of Rs.100 by saying I had to pay a penalty for rescheduling), and my license plate came as advertised. I had to wait about 2 hours, but that was what I was told would happen so my expectations were properly set. They fit it professionally and I was on my way.

My car is great. I had my eye on Wagon-R for a while because it looks just like my long-time car at home, Suzi, which was also made by Suzuki. My Wagon-R is named Laila. Anji came up with the name and Aum approved it. Laila is a joy to drive, she is fully loaded with power features, and smells great thanks to my little "perfume" (air freshener). I can plug in my iPod and listen to rap on Indian roads, which I will probably never get tired of. But usually I have the radio off so I can concentrate. There's nothing like having a new car. And since Maruti Wagon-R's have great reputations, I have no worries about it maintenance wise.

Probably my favorite aspect of driving a car is going to the petrol (gas) station. This is one of the rare arenas where India beats the US in customer experience. In an Indian petrol station, it's full service. You pull in and an attendant directs you to a pump. There is almost never a line. Then the attendant asks you how much to fill, you pay him, as a matter of protocol he requests you to check the meter to make sure it's zeroed out, and then starts pumping. Meanwhile you're just chilling in your car and the attendant squeegees your windshield. The attendant is almost always friendly and *never* hassles you about change. In fact, you can reliably break large notes with them, pretty much the only place you can do so in Indian life.

I recently took the Gujarat Express Way from Ahmedabad to Nadiad, and another time to Baroda. The freeway was clean and besides super aggressive drivers that make moves that literally pay no regard to other drivers' lives, cutting people off and squeezing you behind trucks for no reason, it felt just like I was on I-80 going from Sacramento to Mountain View. Even better because there's very little traffic. The toll tax is clearly written on a sign and the booth attendants give you a scannable receipt that they beep through when you exit the freeway. There are lots of signs to direct you, even in Ahmedabad city the signs are super helpful and between them and asking strangers you can get anywhere pretty much stress-free. Roads in the city are also not bad; despite negative reputation of the state government I routinely see potholes one week disappear the next.

I ordered pleather seat covers for my car, since Ba insisted we have them and it seems every Gujarati blindly assumes that you must have seat covers or else it's barbaric. The guy I ordered from sent the installers to my house one evening. It was a team of four young dudes that showed up like X-Men. I expected a crusty old man on a bike that would take 4 hours to do the work, but these young bucks attacked my car like true pros and got the job done within 30 minutes. In India, seat covers form-fit and require unbolting and removing the seats to install. These kids worked like a true team and did a fantastic job. The seats looked great. Like with petrol stations, this was one of those rare times in Indian life where what you got from a customer experience standpoint was way beyond what you expected your money would buy. The customer was delighted.

I broke loose my rearview mirror driving the wrong way of a one-way street (I regret it, wasn't my choice, and won't do it again), and was a bit worried about how hard it would be to get it fixed. Where are the Maruti service centers? Will they hassle me or make me do something with my insurance? Will it take forever or be expensive? Turns out I was apprehensive for no reason. The service center was in Naranpura close to Ba's house, and even it had useful signs from the main road to guide me there. The dude at the service center quickly took a look at the mirror, drove the car behind, and within 5 minutes returned with the electric mechanism working perfectly. He had also put into place a part of the plastic case that had slightly dislodged, which I had forgotten to mention. He had me sign a slip and that was it. No charge! I told him this was great customer service, and I love being a Maruti owner.

The promise and potential of consumerism/customer experience in India functioning at a world-class level is on display in the arena of car ownership. Way on the other end of the spectrum is consumer banking, which is the shittiest thing ever. But that's for another post.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Corruption Is The Root

During the last Indian election the Aam Aadmi party shook things up and offered many people hope of working for a corruption-free India. I wasn't following the elections very closely, but from what I gathered, AAP's platform was that corruption may not be India's only problem, but it is the first problem because it is at the root of many others. It is the mother of all systemic problems in India.

It's possible to understand "corruption is everywhere" in the abstract and even in the mundane in Indian daily life. For example traffic cops take small bribes and hassle you for no reason all the time. But I had a real epiphany about how corruption colors everything about life here while I was at the RTO getting my car's license plates.

I've written about how doing most things in India, like opening a bank account or getting an Internet connection or registering for an exam or getting your license plates, is full of protocol. There is paperwork everywhere and it is nerve wracking because people will nitpick your paperwork and find any reason to reject it. You are missing this document, this document must be notarized, your signature doesn't match, your signature isn't signed across the photo, your photo isn't passport sized, you made a correction in the date but can't cross-sign dates, I've heard it all. In the US paperwork is a formality; in India people make livelihoods out of pushing papers, so it's all scrutinized to an obnoxious level.

I realized that when you have these very rigid almost ritualistic protocols to do everyday stuff, it requires a gatekeeper to check your work. And as a gatekeeper you can stop folks from getting what they want. And if you have the power to stop, you have the power to be fed. So why is Indian life so full of annoying paperwork and processes that often reject you out of stupid technicalities? Because that provides a pretense for someone to take a bride.


If AAP's vision comes to fruition and corruption is eradicated from Indian society, the annoying ritualized protocols will also fade away. If there is no opportunity to be greased, why am I keeping this gate so tightly?

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Candy Crushing It In AnyVillage, India

Over Raksha Bhandan holiday I visited Bithli, Masi's gaam. Since Bhoti got married, Masi and Masa have mostly shifted base from Baroda to Bithli. Masa manages the farming operation and Masi entertains an endless stream (though slightly less bandwidth than Aalap) of guests.

While I was there, one thing totally captivated my attention, beside the huge 15x10 foot wall length portraits of Keya and Sujit on the second floor of Masi's house. As far as I could tell, Candy Crush had swept up the entire male population of the village. Everywhere I went, men were playing. Every house had the same scene: all males head down, sometimes sitting in corners out of semi-shame, working their thumbs nimbly over their sleek touch screens.

Masa told me he himself plays five hours a day. Five hours a day! Candy Crush when you wake up in the morning. Candy Crush while waiting for lunch. Candy Crush while relaxing after lunch on the porch. When your wife yells at you to get off of the phone, pull out your tab and Candy Crush on there. That's really crushing it. Masa has become an expert player. Conversations in all male huddles, which tend to form throughout the day in gaam life, never concluded without chit-chat about what level someone reached or what quest was completed or little quirks and ways to cheat the game. Dhruv taught me a bit and I found the game interesting and pretty challenging. But nothing I would play for hours every day.

I thrilled at how this game had penetrated this random Indian village and taken it by storm, so far away by distances of space time and context from where it originated. What would happen if the Candy Crush Braintrust, what I imagine as a cadre of 20-something hipster-types in a posh industrial area in SF plotting the next move for their game to conquer the world, visited Bithli?

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Manav Sadhna Blue Stars Update


There have been a few landmark moments for the MS Football team over the last few months and it is high time I write about them. First, the team has officially been named the Manav Sadhna Blue Stars. The children decided on the name themselves after nearly six months of passive deliberation. The 'Blue' is the children paying homage to my high school team, the "Blue Devils".

In July, The Blue Stars participated in the annual Sintex Cup, hosted by Kahaani, one of Ahmedabad's premier and most active football clubs and one of our program's best supporters. Coming into the tournament, we faced a tall task because we were forced to play in the U18 division. The divsion below was U14, and since our A team has players ranging from 13-17, we got caught in the middle. Playing against older boys would not be easy, but in three matches we put up a solid effort. In the first match, the children never backed down throughout a 5-0 defeat to a team from Rajkot, one of the best teams in the tournament. Our biggest challenge was keeping organized defensively and maintaining enough possession to attack. In the second game we had our breakthrough, scoring our first goal ever in tournament play. It was off of a quick pass by Daval which Nilesh pushed in from five feet. The kids reacted like they won the World Cup. They lost the match 6-1, but there was no way to tell by the demeanor of the teams which team won after the game. I personally felt a sense of relief that we had finally broken through with a goal in a real match. In the final match of the tournament we were shut out again, and the team didn't play up to their potential against a weaker opponent. They played like they had already gotten what they came for in the tournament. It was gratifying to put one big step behind us (scoring) to clearly face the next huge one (winning). The kids got enough of a taste that they remain fiercely hungry, and completely unfazed by losing.

Today, we had another truly memorable day, holding our Sunday morning practice in Jamalpur, a medium sized slum in the old city. There are a group of about five players on our team from Jamalpur that form the backbone of the program. Ravi, Mayur, Daval, Hitesh, and Dasarath are our historically most committed players. They travel the furthest for Sunday practice, and are usually the first to arrive. They are also amongst our best players. They hold their own daily soccer practice in Jamalpur with local kids, whom they have introduced to the game completely on their own. This day was a long time coming, as they have been insisting that I visit Jamalpur and see where they come from and how they play.
They play in a dirt patch on the riverfront. It is littered with large colorful piles of garbage. Walking up the clearing I was thrown off because the colors almost made it look beautiful.

The Jamalpur kids had been prepping the ground for the past week, pulling wild grass and cleaning up garbage. They had even booked a garbage removal service to come with a machine and scoop up the heaping pile they had gathered up. That machine didn't show up, so at 5am all the local kids woke up and moved the pile to one side with their hands to have a good place to play later that morning. It took my breath away. They also built an incredible homemade goal, inspired by a photo essay I showed them during World Cup on goalposts from around the world. I felt awe and admiration for the passion and dedication these kids show for the game.

We practiced for a couple hours with over 40 players, using the fantastic collapsible goals brought over by Eashan from the UK, and then went to visit some of the players' homes. This was something I was really looking forward to. Connecting with how these kids live, breath, where they come from, it all felt long overdue since they have have been an important part of my life over the last couple years. I wanted to meet their parents to understand the kids better and also engage the parents to feel part of the program, hear out their concerns and dreams, and generally develop a deeper connection with the kids and community. I truly feel that these kids are talented in their own ways and have such great potential, and I was delighted to find that each of their parents saw the same. They want to grow up to be accountants, artists, or work with computers. Mayur's mother, a 10th-grade pass-out who has worked 17 years for a local NGO, traveling all over India and addressing crowds of thousands, spoke about how she sees soccer matches on TV and how she envisions her son there. How she is grateful that her son has an opportunity to develop to his full potential. She sees Narendra Modi, who came from a modest background to be India's PM, as an example of how any child, including her own, can reach grand heights. In their very modest 200 sq. foot one-room home, I was humbled and grateful to hear Daval's father talk about how he sees his future in his only son. He works late nights till 12 or 1am to support him and his two daughters. He carefully monitors Daval's progress in school and only asks us to look after him well. All of these families are working class; Mayur's father supervises a clothing factory, Dasrath's mother is a vegetable seller, Daval's Dad is a clothing decorator. All of them wanted basically the same thing: continue to play football, but also to give the same effort and attention to their schoolwork. I told Mayur's mom that in my personal experience growing up with sports, my achievement in school and soccer were correlated; both reinforced and supported achievement in the other, such that I probably wouldn't have been as successful in either had I not had both. This is the message we will impart, perhaps more frequently and explicitly, to our players.

Working with these children over the last few years has caused me to question having my own children. If I can be around children like these, give love and support in the ways I feel most connected to, and actually feel that I'm influencing them positively in even a small way, that is enough. If I have my own children, I would have to prioritize them first. And there are so many millions of children already in the world that need love and support.

We ended with a meal arranged at Manav Sadhna's Jamalpur center (Manav Gulzar), the first place in India I've ever seen with a temple and masjid side by side. As we left, I felt exhausted but filled up with real joy and gratitude for having these kids and this project in my life.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Unsung Hero

Raghu Makwana, a friend and long-time pillar of the Manav Sadhna ecosystem, passed away yesterday. Lot of people closer to him will probably be posting more detailed tributes about him and his work (UPDATE: beautiful writeup by Sid) , I want to share some of my reflections on what he did and who he was, and what it means to me.

Raghu was a true unsung hero. He wasn't famous, he didn't have followers, his work was small. But it was done with a deep purity and with a vast amount of love. He was a real-life manifestation of Mother Teresa's credo: "We can do no great things; only small things with great love".

I will remember a few personal moments with Raghu. First was his smile and his loving embrace. Having no legs, he was low to the ground, so to give him a hug you'd often have to crouch down on the ground. But it never felt unnatural or abnormal. In fact his "disability" didn't enter my conciousness much if at all when interacting with him. That may be one of his most inspiring qualities. He had such dignity, he never let you feel sorry for him.

And he never felt sorry for himself. As Amitabh shared today during the funeral, he was a modern-day Shravan. Instead of asking his parents to take care of him, he took care of his parents and his entire family.

He took care of so many others as well. He treated the 30+ maa-jis he served through Tyaag Nu Tiffin like his own mothers. Jayeshbhai noted today that he would feed all of them before he ate himself. So he acted like a mother to them. That motherly love is close to Godly love. Jayeshbhai called Raghu "baghwaan nu maanas" ("man of god"). And that's why he left us so early; God called him up to do His work.

I will never forget Fernando's sharing during an Awaking circle just after he had spent a day making the tiffin rounds with Raghu on his custom-made hand-pedalled cycle. Fernando was an MS volunteer from Guatemala. That day when he saw Raghu interacting with the maa-jis, he felt closer to God than he had ever felt. People were confused about him coming to volunteer in India. Why were you going? Were you depressed or crazy? Why are you leaving your good career and all your friends? Fernando didn't have an answer to the question until that day with Raghu. That day, he realized he had come to India to tell his "masterpiece" love story, and it was about a man with polio in an Indian slum serving meals to old women.

Countless others have been  touched by Raghu's feats of love. Abdul Kalam once saluted him and presented him an award. Jayeshbhai shared that a volunteer from the other side of the world heard about Raghu's passing and called him, crying and crying. She was from a different country, followed a different tradition, observed a different religion, spoke a different language, but had connected with Raghu's heart. And so she was crying and crying about how this soul could have left us so suddenly.

Nisha and I talked tonight about pure work. Without putting any labels on it himself, Raghu did pure, heartfelt work. I remember speaking to him a year or so ago after his first 10-day, he had a visible glow. He had seen how the inner work related to the outer, how he had connected the dots and gained a spiritual perspective to performing each action. He had reached a new understanding. And since then he had put it into practice.

These days I find myself thinking about legacy more that I probably should (read:EGO). What is Raghu's legacy, now that he is no more? His work was a drop in the ocean, but it was so pure, done with genuine love, beyond seeking self-congratulation or external accolades. And that purity itself rippled out. Fernando wasn't moved because Raghu was an exemplary social entrepreneur. He was moved by the depth of Raghu's compassion and love.

I find myself feeling more and more that for me planting seeds of compassion and love is the only legacy worth striving for.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Manav Sadhna Football 2013


After over three years, the Manav Sadhna Football Program continues to march on, driven by the enthusiasm and dedication of its players. Below is an update from the past year.

 

Practices

Sunday morning practices have remained an anchor-point for the program. An average of 20 players (out of ~25 total) come to practice and play from 7am-12pm. The practices follow a standard format: warmup/running, stretching, passing and dribbling drills, shooting/small sided games, scrimmage, prayer and snacks. Over the last year the players have shown significant improvement in their ball control and passing skills. Our team is small and physically weaker than most of the competition, so our philosophy is to play with higher skill. We cannot outrun our opponents, so we try to out-pass and out-think them. This is one of the reasons we have modeled our play after FC Barcelona, who became the best team in world emphasizing passing and teamwork.

 

Tournaments

In the past two months the team has participated in two local soccer tournaments. The first was hosted by Kaahani, one of Ahmedabad's top soccer clubs. In Kahaani's Sintex Cup, Manav Sadhna's team participated in the under-15 division, which prevented some of our best players from playing. Yet the team gave a strong showing for two matches. In the first match, Manav Sadhna conceded two quick goals in the first half due to lack of organization on defense. We struggled to keep up with the speed of the opposing players and the large space they were suddenly tasked with defending. After the second goal we settled down considerably. In the second half, we held the opponent to a 0-0 draw. In the second game, the team faced a superior opponent who picked our team apart. The score was easily run up to double digits, with our team having perhaps one strong scoring opportunity. It was a thorough beating. However, the team responded with resolve to improve and practiced hard for their next tournament match, which was held several weeks later as part of Gujarat's Khel Mahakumbh. It was a single elimination tournament with thousands of teams from all over Gujarat participating. Matches were only 20 minutes. In our first match, Manav Sadhna drew a strong but equally matched opponent. The game was intensely played and our team did well to keep organized on the defensive end. The game ended in a 0-0 draw, and went to a penalty shoot-out. In the shoot-out, our players were confident but ultimately came up short, losing 3-1. The players were absolutely devastated. They had come so close to their first victory! After the match, the players sat silently together waiting for the bus, not speaking a word for 15 minutes. They were very disappointed with the outcome. However, as has become a trademark of these children, they bounced back up. With the clear goal of winning their next match in mind and within reach, they have come much more prepared and focused to practice.

 

Challenges: Field and Equipment

The program continues to struggle with two main challenges: adequate equipment for the children and adequate practice facility. Some players still lack shoes. Shoes, socks, and balls especially wear out fast due to inappropriate field conditions. Currently the team practices in the abandoned lot area across the street from Gandhi Ashram, next to Vinay Mandir. This is a hard dirt area that is uneven and very rocky. The children are uncomfortable practicing in cleats on this hard ground for long periods of time. Also, the game's flow is interrupted because of the unpredictable terrain. It is unfortunate that the children still lack a proper place to grow their skills. With an open grass field, the children would be able to play in game-like conditions and also be able to practice aspects of the game that are difficult or impossible on hard ground/dirt (tackling, positional tactics, shooting and set pieces, etc.)

Personal Reflections

I continue to be very moved by participating in the Football Program. First and foremost, I am inspired by the children. They have developed a true love and passion for this game. They are dedicated to being better players. They go beyond what is asked of them to improve. In Jamalpur, for example, the players organize their own practices during the week. And they point out that they don't just play matches, they run drills and do exercises that they learned from Sunday practices. Despite having limited open space and lots of trash around, they are able to carry on their practice. One thing they especially work on is juggling the ball individually and in groups. When we first introduced juggling a few months ago, players could keep the ball in the air for a only a few touches. Now, almost all can juggle 10 and some up to 50 touches. Group juggling has become a fun and lively game.

It is a joy to be a part of a program where the children themselves drive things. We do not have to push the players to practice more; they are the ones pushing the coaches to extend practice for an extra hour or organize more matches. They have made it clear through their consistent commitment that they want to improve and grow with the game. One of the signature stories I tell about the dedication of these children is the Jamalpur players' Sunday morning routine. Living on the other side of the city, they wake up at 5am on Sunday morning to catch a bus by 6am, which brings them to Manav Sadhna for practice by 7. All by themselves, with no one other than each other to be accountable to. And this is on Sunday, one of their precious days off!

One of the most memorable moments I've had with the children was the practice we had two days after being blown out of the match at Sintex Cup. I was curious to see how the players would approach the practice having experienced a very discouraging loss. Would they see practice as hopeless and not put in the effort? Before the practice started, I reminded them that in sports, there is always one team that has to lose. The question isn't whether you will lose, because every team loses. The important question is how you respond to losing. Do you hang your head or do you learn from the loss and work on your weaknesses even harder? They took the message to heart and worked very hard that day. It was probably the best practice we had all year.

Going forward, it will be mine and the other coaches' main responsibility to offer more opportunities for these players to improve. Whether it is more tournaments and matches, better coaching and training, and/or better facilities and equipment, we have to make sure that we don't put a ceiling on the players' development and instead let them fly as far as their wings will take them. So far the players have shown real talent; it makes me hopeful that some day one of our players will make it to the national level.

Football (and sports in general) is a powerful medium to make better human beings. Having grown up as an athlete, I never recognized or appreciated the things football instilled in me until I began coaching these children. Football, in particular, teaches so many important life skills. Discipline, work ethic, teamwork, cooperation, communication, flexibility, even empathy and generosity. It is such a fluid game, each player is so interdependent on the other. My team will only succeed if I put my teammates in better positions to make a good pass or take a shot. So I have to care for and go the extra mile for my teammates.

Over time, I have seen a shift in the children. Most of these children have very challenged backgrounds, growing up in harsh environments. It is not their nature to cooperate with each other and communicate in positive ways. Early on, we often used to see teammates stopping to berate each other in the middle of the game, not realizing that they were doubly hurting their team by being negative and stopping their own play to do so. But over time, I have heard their vocabulary change. They are much more encouraging to each other. Nowadays, you are much more likely to hear "well done!" or "good defense!" than a negative comment on the field.

It is a blessing to be a part of these children's lives, to give them love and to receive so much love from them. This experience has shown me how important sports have been in my life, how much they have molded me to the person I am today. Coaching these children, I see how much influence my own coaches had on my personality. And I feel deeply moved to use the medium of sports to bring a positive influence on these children's lives.

Last but not least, I want to recognize and thank Rahulbhai. This program stands on his shoulders, he is the backbone. He is boundlessly dedicated to these children and supporting their growth. He comes to practice on his only day off from regular duties as arts teacher at Manav Sadhna. He never misses a practice or game, and is never late. He brings energy, tough love, and committed strength to this program. I feel fortunate and blessed to be working with him on this project.


Support The Team

We are seeking support for equipment and building a proper practice field for the MS Football Program. We welcome gifts of cash and in-kind. We would also welcome those who are moved to come and volunteer their time with the team. If you are interested in learning more about how you can help, please contact me at neilpatel AT gmail.