By: Kris Johnson
In the early days of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the world had stopped, and while in quarantine many people began taking on hobbies and searching for ways to give back. Chinmaya Kathe is no exception. Signing on to VolunteerMatch.org, Chinmaya learned of Covenant House Alaska.
“I was looking for opportunities to use my professional skills to volunteer and make a difference,” he said, adding that Covenant House’s mission resonated with his values and beliefs.
“I believe that young people are the future of this world, and supporting them during this
critical age can help them become better citizens of their community,” said Chinmaya.
When he first connected with Covenant House, his work at our Alaska site was new, but he was no stranger to serving young people. Originally from Mumbai, India, Chinmaya came to the United States for his graduate studies at the University of Oklahoma, where he first got involved in youth volunteering through the Graduate Student Senate, an on-campus group that, according to the university’s website, “represents every student, giving them an official voice.”
He currently lives in Portland, Oregon, where he works as a data analyst, a profession that requires skills he happily lends to Covenant House Alaska.
Quickly adapting to the pandemic’s new normal — remote work — Chinmaya contributed to the site using his expertise in data analysis and Smartsheet, an online platform for managing tasks and projects. He also helped develop a mobile tool to manage the clothing room inventory and to meet the clothing needs of the youth. And, last December, he developed and managed a holiday gift registry for the youth.
Now, more than three years after his introduction to Covenant House, Chinmaya is still highly motivated to stay involved, consistently watching his email for volunteer opportunities and other activities taking place at Covenant House.
Even with all that he has done, Chinmaya said he is still “always looking for new ways to contribute to the amazing work being done at Covenant House.”
“In the future, I would also like to participate in activities that allow me to interact directly with the youth,” he said.
Chinmaya doesn’t have plans to slow down his work in Alaska anytime soon, because he “appreciates the personal touch” site staff bring to volunteer coordination.
“Receiving birthday or holiday cards from them makes me feel like a valued member of the Covenant House family,” he said.