Seva: Can you tell us a little bit about what is it that you do outside of Seva?
Manraj: Life outside of Seva….is there such a thing. I sometimes feel that we are so connected with the amazing work our Seva Team continues to do that in our lives outside of Seva we are always talking about Seva. I still have the Seva Spark 2016 poster as my desktop image at work because it always sparks a conversation about Seva.
I guess I would say I’m an engineer by day, self-acclaimed chef by night, aspiring Indian classical musician in my off time and Seva Food Bank poster boy all day every day.
Seva: What gets you happy, giddy and excited?
Manraj: I think I am happiest when I am with my family. That does not just include my amazing parents and siblings but it also extends to my Seva Family who have a very special place in my heart, my musical family and students who inspire me everyday and believe or not my work family who push me to be and work harder (and smarter).
Seva: How did you get involved in the Seva Initiative? what was the experience like?
Manraj: Believe or not….the idea of Sikhs Serving Canada was the result of a conversation around a coffee table. Looking back and reflecting on it I am in awe at how we got here and the dedication that continues to burn inside of us all. I feel as though collectively we have all created such a magical space that has an energy that is infectious. Its truly a blessing to be on this journey from beginning.
Seva: How did that transition to you becoming a member of the board?
Manraj: I have been on the board from the on-set, as one of the founders of the organization. I remember when we were in our initial meetings with the Mississauga Food bank, prior to opening our first location, I was taking notes like crazy so I didn’t miss anything and for about a year after that they had the impression that I was the lawyer on the Seva board.
Seva: What is your Role as a Seva Board member? Key accountabilities and function?
Manraj: Being the engineer on the team I work most of the IT issues with my close friend Amritpal Singh. When we first started out I designed the database for our clients and now its more maintaining the IT equipment.
I also work very closely with our volunteer coordinator Marianthi.
I have to say that the most enjoyable time I have is when I am chatting with the families that come to Seva and engaging with the kids. We try and actively cultivate a feeling of warmth at the food bank that I think makes us truly unique and makes everyone who comes to us feel special.
Seva: What is the biggest growth opportunity that Seva has provided you as part of being the Seva team?
Manraj: Each and every day I am learning from and growing with my Seva family, from the board level to the client families. Whether its to think more strategically and focus on long term planning or to be empathetic and remind people that there always comes a time where you need to ask for help and that is why Seva exists. To help and empower the members of our community.
Seva: What is your personal vision for Seva ? Where would you like to see Seva in the long run?
Manraj: Seva is a community, a collaborative creative space, that allows the opportunity for authenticity without any judgement. Seva is the support you need when your down on your luck. Seva is the spark you need when you need to be inspired. Seva is the light that guides Peel region to live better and be stronger. That is my continued vision for Seva.