“Foster the seed of Love that clings to ‘me’ and ‘mine’, let it sprout into love for the group around you.
Let it grow into love for all mankind and spread out its branches over animals, birds,
those that creep and crawl, and let the love enfold all things and all beings in the world.
Proceed from less love to more love, narrow love to expanded love. ”
– Sathya Sai Baba (Sathya Sai Speaks, vol. 8, ch. 16)
Dearest Zone Chairs and Zone Youth Coordinators,
Loving greetings of Sairams to all of you. We are very happy to inform you that the theme for SERVE THE PLANET 2016 is “Love for Animals“. As our dearest Swami beautifully explains, Divine Love embraces everything and every being; His love is always inclusive and expansive. As you know, although the theme for the project changes every year, the underlying current linking all the service activities carried out under the Serve The Planet (STP) framework is Human Values.
STP was launched in 2013 as a global service project of the SSIO. The energy and impact of people all around the world engaged in service activities focused on a common theme, on the same day, has created a great sense of global Unity, Harmony and Love. This has also created a resound in our local communities. From these past experiences and from your valuable feedback and sharing, the STP International Team has been reviewing different aspects of the project, involving more youth in the core team and we have identified various opportunities for improvement which we would like to share with you.
- Regular Communication: an update/informative e-mail will be sent on the 20th of each month about one or more aspects of the project in order to have a more regular and constant flow of communication. This will avoid periods of ‘absence’ and help maintain the project’s momentum throughout the year. Since the selected date for this global service project is the 20th of October (day in which our dearest Sathya Sai declared His Divine mission in 1940), we believe that the 20th of every month is a perfect date to stay tuned with the project. (We apologise for the slight delay this month).
- Focus on Common Service Activities: one of the greatest strengths of STP is the energy derived from carrying out service activities under a common theme. Therefore, we find it important to identify and select two or three service initiatives under this year’s theme (after receiving your feedback). All zones should engage in these selected activities around the globe.
- Simplified Reporting Structure & Template: in many countries more than twenty different activities take place under the STP initiative each year and we understand it may be tedious to provide a summary of each one of these activities. Therefore, from now on, rather than having to provide a summary on each activity carried out, zones will be requested to provide a short summary and statistics by country rather than by activity. This will simplify your task while compiling reports as well as our task at the time of summarising the information received.
- Study Circles / Self-introspection: we all know the importance Swami has placed on self-inquiry and regular study of His teachings as an important part of our spiritual discipline. For this reason, an inspiring booklet with extracts from Sathya Sai’s discourses on service and this year’s specific theme will be prepared as well as questions for both personal and group inquiry. The aim is to help us deepen our understanding as well as improve our practice. So although we are “going out” into our societies and local communities, at the same time we are also “going within” as this expansion takes place at both levels.
Additionally, one of the main objectives of STP is to encourage the participation of the general public. For this purpose, the tools below are being developed.
- STP Video Presentation: explaining the inspiration behind the STP project, its objectives, overview of activities carried out over the past three years and invitation to participate in this year’s initiative.
- STP Informative Leaflet: same content as in the video, in the format of a one-page clear and attractive leaflet.
- STP Facebook Page: taking advantage of the impact and opportunities social media can provide, an official STP Facebook page is being designed.
As you can see, after careful observation and review, there is a lot going on at the moment and various opportunities for growth and active involvement are available. Your contributions and collaboration is very much appreciated.
So, how can you help us create greater awareness and further promote participation in the STP 2016?
- By distributing this communication to all the National Council Presidents and National Youth Coordinators in your respective zones so that every SSIO member is informed about the STP 2016 and the general scope for active participation.
- By asking youth to provide you with ideas of service activities that can be carried out under this year’s theme. Please provide us with the initiatives/ideas of service activities by 30th April 2016.
- By letting us know if there are any youth in your zones that would like to be part of the STP core team, who will help to prepare the materials for study circles and/or social media.
- By letting us know about any additional ideas for improvement, which have not been identified in this e-mail.
Over the next three days, we will send a personal message to each Zone Youth Coordinator and arrange a Skype meeting with you to strengthen our “heart to heart” communication and to hear your direct feedback & valuable contributions.
Looking forward to speaking with you very soon and thanking you in advance for your loving collaboration. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions/comments.
STP International Team
Alida Parkes, Zone 6 Chair
Shivendra Kumar, International Youth Coordinator
Raksha Mahtani, Zone 6 Youth Coordinator