The diagnosis of a life-threatening or chronic illness can symbolize the end for so many things; but there’s an organization determined to make it a beginning too. Shanti serves to enhance the quality of life for those suffering by providing volunteer-based emotional and practical support.
In Sanskrit, “Shanti” means “inner peace” or “tranquility,” and the organization works to provide those qualities to those living in difficult situations by easing burdens and improving well being.
Dr. Charles Garfield, recognized internationally for pioneering the development of service oriented volunteer organizations, founded the organization 39 years ago. Since then, it has grown in scale and scope.
The organization’s core values on which their services are based include mutual respect, positive regard, empowerment of the client, genuineness, acceptance of differences, and empathy.
Shanti’s current Executive Director, Kaushik Roy, is the youngest CEO in San Francisco’s breast cancer and HIV/AIDS communities. He began in the organization as a Volunteer Caregiver in 2004. Just two years later, Mayor Gavin Newsom recognized him for his exceptional work during the City of San Francisco’s 25th Anniversary of the HIV/ADS Epidemic Ceremony.
Later that year, Roy left his career in sales and marketing in the corporate insurance industry to join Shanti’s staff full time where he held a number of director-level positions before being appointed Executive Director.
“I love the organization and what it attracts and the staff it inspires,” said Roy in an interview with 429Magazine. “It’s not just volunteering, but caring.”
Of his leadership style, Roy says it’s important to be transparent and to know your vision.
Shanti’s ultimate motivation, and motto, is: “You Can Be The Difference Between Zero and One,” highlighting the importance of having even one “compassionate witness” to our lives as we struggle through hardships.
To find out more about Shanti, becoming a volunteer, or to find out what else you can do to help, visit their website here[link].