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As a first generation Indian-American, Sanchay Jain represents a vital link between Hindu traditions and the American environment in which he has grown up. Not only does he represent this connection, he also shares in the responsibility of ensuring that this burgeoning immigrant community is engaged in the American democratic experience. As lofty as this sentiment may appear, it can only come to fruition in slow, tiny steps.
One of the most important steps in this process is public service. Devoting time for the betterment of other individuals is a sacrifice, but one that should be made with pride. Public service enriches the community, and society, as a whole. It adds layers to America’s diverse culture, but at the same time, it eases the adjustment of a newly-arrived community. And even at the age of thirteen, Sanchay seemed to have grasped the significance of public service.
Sanchay’s first exposure to public service came as a result of his involvement with Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, a non-profit social organization with the mission of instilling a sense of cultural pride in Hindu youth. He began attending HSS’s weekly shakha activity when he was four years old. Immersed in frivolous games and educational stories, he did not realize that he was forming bonds that he has kept with him to this date, while becoming part of a welcoming extended family.
After nearly nine years of actively attending shakha as a mere participant, Sanchay realized that it was time to contribute more to the organization, and ultimately, to the community. Following in the footsteps of the adults he had been around, he began conducting various activities for the shakha, such as games and Yoga. Eventually, he became the main coordinator for the shakha in the Billerica area. In this role, he was responsible for making sure all activities ran smoothly and punctually. At the same time, he was to serve as a mentor and role model for the ten to fifteen children who actively attended the shakha, as he did when he was younger.
The experience in HSS gave Sanchay an awareness of a Hindu identity which needed active engagement within the broader American community. It was with this intention that he became involved in an attempt to add the Hindu festival of lights, Diwali, to the Boston Public School calendar. Diwali is a major festival that is celebrated on a large scale in India. However, in many school districts such as Boston, it was not recognized as a major religious holiday that students could observe by taking a day off. Taking initiative, Sanchay contacted Boston Public School officials and described the nature of the holiday and his intention to have it listed on the calendar. After talking to several people, including an official who happened to be Indian himself, he was successful in getting Diwali listed on the Boston Public School calendar, effective for the 2009-2010 school year. While it is a small gesture, it is one that will fill future Indian students with pride in seeing that their traditions are recognized in their larger community.
Aside from being a member of HSS, Sanchay is also active in his school’s newspaper, the Boston Latin School Argo. He began writing for it in eighth grade, and has sustained his involvement in it over the years, eventually becoming a part of the editing process. He is currently the Sports Editor. He also contributes articles to the Tattva, a e-magazine for Hindu youth.
Sanchay lives in West Roxbury with his parents and his little brother. He will be a senior this upcoming year at Boston Latin School, and is at the moment undecided in terms of future career plans.

Sanchay is currently interning for Governor Deval Patrick.