The ISSE-USA partnered with the North Bergen Public Library to hold a Human Values Fest on September 28, 2019, in North Bergen, NJ
Residents may not have known quite what to expect from a “Human Values Festival” at the library, but that didn’t stop them from turning out in droves for the event on Saturday, Sept. 28. More than 500 people enjoyed themselves at the 18 tables of themed activities and attended an engaging and informative talk by Eleni Theodorou, bullying prevention educator and author of “Noko the Knight: Empowering Kids to Embrace Their Emotions Effectively.”
The free event aimed to raise awareness of the core human values (Truth, Right conduct, Peace, Love and Non-violence). The attendees explored and expressed those values in interactive ways through value-based activities and arts and crafts, with great takeaway messages and fun souvenirs. The activities were designed by the library’s Director, Sai Lakshmi Rao, and Gayatri Kupilli, a teacher trained in Sathya Sai Education in Human Values (SSEHV). Other SSEHV volunteers from various Sai centers in the Mid-Atlantic Region also pitched in to organize the activities.
Mayor Nicholas Sacco of North Bergen participated in the two-hour festival, along with police officials, library staff, board of education members, principals, supervisors and teachers.
The library director noted that, “The library serves as a social and cultural center for residents of all ages and backgrounds. We regularly hold programs to educate, entertain and uplift our community, so it was a delight to collaborate with ISSE-USA to bring this important program to our neighborhood.” The library staff was inspired by the event. One of them stated, “The Human Values Festival meant a great deal to me both personally and professionally. I witnessed the community come together in such a positive way.”
A local teacher and library patron called the event “amazing!” “It was a great way to bring all people of all ages and ethnicities together to understand the importance of values such as self-love, respect, peace, trust and loyalty.” Another patron shared, “Most parenting skills focus on academic success, but the most valuable skills one can teach a child are human values, such as peace, dignity and equality, as displayed on the “I Am” wall.”
Ms. Kuppili, one of the organizers, hoped the event will inspire the community leaders to actively spread these values in their respective departments and in public. She added, “The most memorable part was the children who electrified the event with love, positive energy and joy radiating from their hearts.”