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Local volunteer Subbu Venkat has lived all over the country, but Coppell is home.
Originally from India, Venkat and his family have spent decades bouncing everywhere from Florida to South Carolina to Pennsylvania for school and work, but when they settled in Coppell about four years ago, it felt different.
"We have been in many places across the country, but we've never felt more at home than in Coppell," he said.
An invitation to a new resident welcome reception and orientation from the City of Coppell helped spark his interest in his new community, he said. It allowed him to get information and connect with the people, which ultimately inspired him to get involved.
"It was one of the keys for me to give back and be very active in Coppell," he said. "I've never done that in any other town."
Venkat's volunteer involvement includes Coppell ISD's iLead — a leadership training series — the Bond Oversight Committee, and Long-Range Facilities Planning Committee. He's also a member of the PTO at his daughter's school and serves as the Lakeside Elementary School Health Advisory Council representative. His position as a process improvement engineer for UT Southwestern Health System allows him to bring in speakers to discuss relevant health issues from vaping to opioids with the families.
City-related volunteer positions include Leadership Coppell and Cozby Library's Cultural Committee, which lead him to his latest volunteer endeavor — Allies in Community — when a member from the first session encouraged him to apply for the program's second session last summer.
Continuing and improving Coppell's welcoming spirit is the main mission of Allies in Community — a cultural enrichment and civic engagement program facilitated through DiversityWealth and the City. Members participate in a series of group meetings and hands-on workshops over several months to build relationships through common ground, foster a deep sense of belonging, and encourage community engagement.
"Every time I go, I learn something and I look forward to it," Venkat said.
From discovering the number of countries and languages represented in Coppell at the City's cultural festival Kaleidoscope, to sharing a meal with new friends at a Sri Lankan restaurant, the experiences and learning opportunities have been valuable, Venkat said. However, one of his favorite aspects of the program is hearing personal stories from so many different cultures and backgrounds.
"It's been a wonderful experience in many ways," he said. "We often take issue with small things we face in life, but the stories show you that there are people who have been through things far worse than you yet continue to have a positive attitude and are out there helping others. You should never stop giving back to society."
For more information about Allies in Community, visit coppelltx.gov/allies