Tag Archives: Programs

Walkathon/ 5k, 10K run and Half Marathon Om Run

Spring is a season that is referred to as the time for the rebirth of ideas, rejuvenation, renewal, resurrection, and regrowth.

May 6th Om Run hosted in Vasona Park offered an opportunity for over 1800 people of the Bay Area to mingle in a 5K, 10K run, and half marathon allowing for socializing and having a family fun-filled day of activities together.

Hosted by Chinmaya Mission, which was established in India in 1953 by devotees of the world-renowned Vedanta teacher, His Holiness Swami Chinmayananda.  Guided by his vision, devotees all around the world formed the nucleus of a spiritual renaissance movement that now encompasses a wide range of spiritual, educational, and charitable activities, ennobling the lives of thousands in India and across its borders. Presently, headed by His Holiness Swami Swaroopananda, the Mission is administered by Central Chinmaya Mission Trust (CCMT) in Mumbai, India. Under his guidance, the Mission has continued mushrooming across the globe and stands today with over 300 centers worldwide.

Chinmaya Mission San Jose is one of them.

Swami Bodhatmananda Ji planted the OM Run seed in 2010, and since then it has germinated into a full-bloomed event year after year. Thanks to the fervor and zeal of over 200 volunteers who get an opportunity to serve in the event alongside with the Chinmaya Yuva Kendra (CHYK) our young adult members who are graduates of our Bala Vihar program.

Om Run has training sessions helping people and children train for the run prior to the big day that hosts a large outdoors “fair” (with rides, games, food stalls and other family-friendly activities). The organized event attracts Bay Area professionals from different fields. As a sponsor (depending upon the level of sponsorship), they get a booth at the event, a color advertisement in a professionally printed booklet that is handed out to each family that is registered and attends. The logo is also imprinted on the event T-shirt that is given to each registrant and of course, multiple shout-outs by the MCs of the event.  This avenue allows the sponsors to market and publicize their products and services while gaining leverage in the large south Asian community.

This run not only brings the Chinmaya Mission Family together but also encourages people of all clan to become health conscious as they renew, resurrect for the year.

Funds raised from OM Run are shared by several local and international charities like CORD (Chinmaya Organization for Rural Development), St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, American Diabetes Association, PACE (Pacific Autism Center for Education), where we support children with autistic challenges and Friends of Independent Networks (FINS), a local nonprofit helping an adult program to assist developmentally disabled individuals.

Chinmaya Mission in San Jose has many programs that involve a five-year-old to a senior citizen.

  •    Bala Vihar — to help children bloom, grow and inculcate values through fun-filled activities. Bala Vihar enhances the overall development of the personality of a child at all levels — physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual.  Bhagwad Gita lectures are offered at no cost while Bal Vihar is in session.
  •    Chinmaya Yuva Kendra (CHYK) is a global youth wing of Chinmaya Mission. It aims to empower youth with the vision, values, and dynamism for success in all fields. CHYK conducts weekly classes where young people are made aware of their potential through the study of scriptures.
  •    Chinmaya Study group involves five to fifteen people who meet at a mutually agreed time, place and day for about ninety minutes each week. The group studies and discusses scriptural texts according to a prescribed syllabus that offers the seeker a systematic exposure to Vedanta.

We are observing increased participation as these programs provide an excellent platform for individuals to learn and get involved wholeheartedly. By maintaining an environment of encouragement, tolerance, and humility, Chinmaya Mission enables personal and spiritual growth of an individual and families.

By turning our attention away from our differences and working for a common goal, we slowly inch our way to see the Oneness in all of us. Events such as Om Run allow a seeker and sevak (volunteer) to turn attention from individual differences and work for a common goal, slowly inching to see the Oneness in all. The beauty here is that as one gets more involved, more internal subtle transformations will be reflected and experienced by an individual and people around them.

As Swami Bodhatmananda Ji says, “We need to understand that we will not always have control over external situations but we still have the choice of controlling our mind and responding to the circumstances appropriately. So, we must learn to manage our mind. This is possible by transforming our vision and perspective of life. Every situation in life should be seen as an opportunity to evolve, and then being becomes a beautiful adventure. Challenges and frustrations are part and parcel of life. We may not be successful in every venture we undertake. The fallacy is that we define success in a certain way in our mind, and we bind our happiness to that mindset. We become disappointed if we don’t achieve what we had defined as success. However, it is only through our mistakes do we learn and improve. The right thing is to keep this knowledge available and alive with us all the time as much as possible.”

Spring is the season of new beginnings. Let’s embrace this opportunity to bring a change within and around us.

For more information about Chinmaya Mission San Jose and its local activities look up: cmsj.org


Paid Family Leave: Workers Pay For It But Rarely Use It

California wage earners welcoming a new child to the family or caring for a seriously ill relative this year can expect increased support from the state’s Paid Family Leave Program.

Eighteen million people in the state pay 1 percent of their wages to the state’s disability program, which helps those who have to take time off for medical matters unrelated to their jobs.

In 2018, the percentage of a worker’s paycheck the state will provide increases from 55 percent to between 60 and 70 percent, up to $1,216 weekly. And the state has done away with the “waiting period” that required people to go without any pay at all for the first week they were out.

“2018 is the year of  better policies for Paid Family Leave, particularly for new parents,” Julia Parish, of Legal Aid at Work, said at a news conference at San Francisco’s Employment Development Department offices on Feb. 1.

The meeting addressed the EDD’s finding that only 36 percent of the Californians it surveyed were even aware of the Paid Family Leave program, and among those who might need it most, immigrants, women and those with lower levels of education, even fewer know it exists.

“Awareness is generally low across the state, especially among minority and low-income communities,” the EDD’s Kacie Finnicum said.

The program is available for new moms and dads, including adoptive and foster parents, and each parent is eligible for up to six weeks per year each. The time they take off to care for and bond with their children can be spread across the calendar however they see fit.

Those six weeks can also be used to care for seriously ill family members, including grandparents, in-laws, domestic partners and siblings.

Advocates urged applicants to plan their time off with their supervisor, as the job protection dimensions of the Paid Family Leave program are more limited. But here, too, the rules have been relaxed this year. For instance, although small businesses have been exempt from having to honor the Paid Family Leave regulations, what constitutes a small business in such a scenario has changed, from up to 50 employees to 20.

If the applicant lives and works in San Francisco, there’s a new rule in place whereby the employer is to make up the difference between what the state pays and the worker’s usual compensation, Parish said.

The speakers also cited findings that workplace efficiency and morale benefit from the program. A temporary accommodation is less expensive than replacing a worker.

Parish described some of the ancillary benefits of the program: It promotes gender equity, she said, by including both partners in the childcare process from an early stage.  By encouraging bonding between the children and the father figure, paid family leave strengthens the foundations of those relationships going forward.

The program requires that the parents apply for it within the first year of the new child’s arrival, whether it’s newborn, adopted or fostered.

Parish was followed by Julia Frudden, of the Child Care Law Center; both cited studies showing that new mothers given the freedom to attend to their children with a brief respite from work responsibilities breastfeed their children twice as long.

Frudden also said that infant mortality drops by 10 percent, there’s a decrease in post-partum depression and better attention to preventive care such as screenings.

Children who have the advantage of more time spent with their parents at home also develop stronger immune systems, she said, which helps them thrive in childcare situations once their parents have returned to work.

Since becoming the first state in the country with such a program, in 2002, California has fielded 2.8 million claims and paid out $5 billion in benefits, Finnicum said.

She and Parish both spoke of their own motherhood experiences and what having paid leave  had meant to them.

“It was a huge relief to be able to have financial support,” Finnicum said. “It was a big weight off our shoulders.”

Although the program is applicable even to those whose needs to care for a family member requires them to leave the country, a person’s immigration status is not factored into the application process, Finnicum said. The only limit on eligibility is that they must be participating in the State Disability Insurance program via automatic deductions from their paychecks or, if independent contractors, through a voluntary plan.

For more information on the program or to apply, visit the web site edd.ca.gov/SDI_Online. Applications can also be made by mail; the form to submit is available at edd.ca.gov/Forms.