Nashville's Volunteer of the Month: Asha Patel

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How were you introduced to volunteering? One local college student was encouraged by her professor to join a non-profit collegiate chapter, and the rest is history.

Asha Patel, a junior at MTSU, was encouraged by MTSU Communications Professor Lori Kissinger to look into the collegiate chapter of VSA Tennessee. Today, Patel serves as president and one of many VSA ambassadors who serve artists with disabilities, namely children, teenagers and young adults.

Whether hands-on or indirectly, the VSA ambassadors serve on and off campus. During December, they held an off-campus birthday party for tiny artists turning five years old. The chapter also learned about adaptive technologies for people with disabilities and how to apply them in their volunteering. And, the ambassadors created stained glass ornaments alongside artists for the Christmas tree at the Governor's Mansion last year.

In addition to the fun, social side of volunteering is the impact Patel has on others and herself.

A native of India, Patel considers Gandhi an educational role model. As he said, "The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others."

Unknowingly, Patel has grown personally through her service. Prior to college, she admits to being "very shy." In fact, she had not previously participated in extra-curricular activities. In a short two years, she is already an established leader, speaker, group participant and more.

"If you look out for opportunities that you think are not going to give you something in return, it will benefit you in the long-term," she says.

And the change - in Patel and so many others - happened because one person suggested she volunteer.

Nashville's Volunteer of the Month is a program of Doing Good, a 501(c)3, non-profit organization which educates and inspires more people to volunteer by celebrating the real stories of real people who volunteer in the community. To learn more about Patel, Doing Good or other volunteers, visit www.DoingGood.tv or follow @DoingGoodTV on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram.

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