by Satwinder Kaur — October 09, 2018
“Giving back by doing Seva (community service), helping others and contributing to something bigger than myself always made me happy,” says Satwinder Kaur.
Seva and Satwinder’s early life
Seva (community service) was an important part of Satwinder’s childhood. Satwinder Kaur, Kent (WA) City Councilmember grew up doing Seva with her father. She used to visit India with her dad, who took her to many Gurudwaras (Sikh place of worship), where she did Seva along with her siblings. This laid the foundation of the volunteer work she started doing as she grew up.
Satwinder joined the boards of different organizations and started interacting with people belonging to diverse backgrounds and communities. She volunteered at homeless shelters and with other communities when they needed help. She educated them about nutrition and empowered them with different skills related to business, arts and crafts, so they could start earning their living. “Giving back by doing Seva, helping others and contributing to something bigger than myself always made me happy,” said Satwinder.
Seva influences Satwinder’s professional life
Her experiences doing Seva influenced her professional life as well. She learned to respect other people and their differences and understanding their needs. These principles guide her in her profession as a City Councilmember where she hosts roundtables and has an open dialogue with people belonging to different communities. She makes herself available, understanding their perspective and celebrating their culture. She described the process as an “eye-opening experience where you learn amazing things about people and what they are doing.” These interactions with different communities help her look at things from their perspective, putting a different lens on issues before decisions are made or ordinances are passed.
Family support for doing Seva
Satwinder’s family fully supports her passion for doing Seva. Her son, her husband and other members of her family register for volunteering activities together. They spend quality time with each other by doing things like packing food for kids who need it over the weekend.
Message for the Sikh community- “I would encourage all Sikhs to be more involved in the community, to vote and to volunteer,” said Satwinder. “When you volunteer wearing a turban, you are representing the Sikh community and the Sikh values of Seva and equality for all. Talk to people, answer their questions and educate them about Sikh values.”