When VSM started in 2008, the Volunteer base was quite small with 8 Volunteers (4 of them founder members) and 23 Students. As the number of students started increasing from 23 to 125+ by 2014, we felt a dire need for Volunteers possessing core competency in different subjects of education. Through our conscious efforts, we were fortunate to gradually attract Volunteers with diversified educational and career backgrounds.
By 2015-16, we were in a position to guide & help students in their academic subjects primarily in Arts, Science and Commerce streams, though in a small way. The leaders for different streams were identified and these leaders started holding workshops with in-house or external faculty to create interest in students’ minds about the subjects they have taken up as careers, the opportunities available and the path to follow. The team leaders also were involved in the admission process to assess which career will be suitable for the selected candidate depending on their aptitude, capabilities, need and past performance.
The first of the block were Nursing and Engineering Career Guidance Teams. Going forward other teams of Medical, Pure Sciences, IT, ITI, Arts, Commerce, Fine Arts, Social sciences, Architecture were formed. Today, these 14 Career Guidance Teams are backbone of our academic support to VSM students pursuing their careers and have played a major role in their improved overall performance
The primary objective of the spoken English program is to provide a platform to VSM students across all branches to improve their English-speaking skills. Our lessons are tailored for the students based on their streams like Medical, Arts, Nursing, Banking etc. through a combination of Word study, Video Role-play, Vocabulary, Sentence structure. We use several interventions like- talk in a Mirror, Tongue Twisters, Listen and Repeat, learn phrases, Think in English and many more with on-the-spot feedback by our English teachers. The program also includes various activities like English day, interacting and debating, speaking in VSM monthly meetings, and at times conducting these meetings too. At the end of the program, we see our students with improved vocabulary, they are free of hesitation and most importantly they have gained confidence.
It is when we start expressing ourselves, we start exploring our inner selves! Two VSM alumni started visiting our hostel sharing their experiences for the benefit of students coming from the rural areas of Shahapur. The students saw these alumni more as their contemporaries and gradually opened up, interacting freely with them. The ad-hoc hostel visits then became a regular feature. Thus, was born BE FRANK, a platform BY and FOR the students. Over the years, this platform is very popular among the students evolving them to express on interesting, diverse and thought-provoking topics.
The need for hostels was felt soon after our operations began in 2008. The students from Shahapur/Thane area live in small homes in remote locations, 60/70 kms away from their schools/colleges, which was not conducive to focus on studies & resulting in drain on their energy. Presently, we run 3 hostels for Boys ( 30 students) and 3 hostels for Girls (22 students) at Thane, Kalva, Santacruz and Pune. Besides, 11 girls are accommodated in 3 hostels managed by NGOs.
During hostel stay, the students learn to take care of themselves, be self-sufficient, responsible and how to live as a family. Moreover, students celebrate festivals like Saraswati Pooja (Dassara), Laxmi Pooja (Diwali) and birthdays in a simple and homely manner.
VSM hostels are enabling fulfilment of the dreams of aspiring, hardworking and deserving youth, from remote parts of Maharashtra and truly serving as a “home away from home”
We conduct creative activities to inculcate reading habits in students. For example, our recent ‘Library Day’ celebration was honoured by the guest speaker none other than The Booklet Guy – Aniket Deshmukh, where he enlightened students on various aspects of book journey through his life journey.
Moreover, we encourage students to participate in activities like elocution competition, group discussion and, regular story narration from our volunteers
Practice makes man perfect! Few years ago, VSM volunteers conducted an informal workshop of mock interviews for the engineering students in which the interviews were taken by VSM volunteers themselves. There was an overwhelming positive response from the students. From the following years onwards, the workshop was conducted more systematically by inviting faculties from various industries for taking mock interviews. Various initiatives like group discussion, aptitude test, resume building, activities such as writing a code, construction of toy bridge, sharing of interview experience from senior students were added as part of the workshop. These workshops make the final year students confident to face the campus placement interviews
Financial literacy is as important as degree education for an individual. We train students in finance right from basics to understanding key concepts in savings and investments for their better future.
With the increasing focus on ‘Make in India” initiative and thereby manufacturing industry, ITI technical trades have been the foundation of any manufacturing industry and its development.
To understand the practical application of what was being learnt, we organize industrial visits for our students, especially important for our ITI students. Moreover, through such visits the students also get to learn about event coordination, and event planning skills making them further confident.