This post was most recently updated on February 18th, 2017
Success beyond the school campus in the real world requires more than a degree. In pursuit of high scores, the true potential of a student often remains untapped and buried in books.
The above problem is the basis on which “Yuvalay“, an individual development centre was established in 2014 at Vadodara. Since, it’s inception, it has trained students on various topics which are essential for a successful life.
It started as a small classroom but today has turned into a movement.
Today we have one such person who is the guiding force behind Yuvalay, it’s founder, Shri Harmanbhai Patel or as we all know him, H.T.Patel.
Welcome Patel Sir.
Dhaval: Sir, can you give us a brief about what you were doing before starting Yuvalay?
H.T.Patel: Sure, I worked for Alembic for 25 years and then joined Zydus Cadila. During the course, I changed many careers and then retired in 2014 and started Yuvalay.
Dhaval: Why did you start Yuvalay?
H.T.Patel: Couple of things. I was a member of JCI and was responsible to conduct some training programs for students. We developed one program of 2 weeks and got a wonderful response. The students who met me in the market used to tell me how wonderful the program was. That was something which was engraved in my mind. I am a teachers son and my father also gave back something to society by starting a school, managing a hospital and many more things. At that time in 1989 , I felt that if I have done well in my life, then after I retire, I would love to give back to the society in some way. The thought was planted a long time back.
Attention dreamers! When was the last time you paid attention to something that stuck in your mind? H.T.Patel paid attention to the appreciation of their students which led him to start Yuvalay. What hints are you getting to start living the life of your dreams? Pay attention to your surroundings. You never know what might spark a movement.
Dhaval: How long did you wait before starting Yuvalay?
H.T.Patel: Around 25 years.
Dhaval: What was holding you back for so long?
H.T.Patel: I was really enjoying my job. Another thing is that I could have started few years before if I had the courage to really come out and start something.
Dreamers, what is holding you back from starting something. If you really want to do something, don’t just sit there and think. Go out and get busy.
Dhaval: Was there any time at Yuvalay when you felt too low?
H.T.Patel: After starting and getting the faculty in place, the most important thing were the participants. It happened many times that instead of all the efforts I was putting, there were very less participants. In fact 10 or even less than that. So when this happened in spite of announcing the program in advance, it was a very low moment for me.
Dhaval: What is the average number of participants per session?
H.T.Patel: Now we have around 45 students in each session. And some sessions exceeded participants beyond 50.
Dhaval: How do you find speakers for Yuvalay?
H.T.Patel: All the success we have achieved is because of our faculty. My job had exposure to many speakers, I had many friends who were trainers. Before starting Yuvalay, we met 15 trainers twice and discussed about the objective of Yuvalay. But now, it’s mostly speakers approaching us to contribute something.
Dhaval: How do you manage all the activities?
H.T.Patel: It is managed by me and Yuvalay Ambassadors. All the day to day activities are managed by ambassadors.We have around 25 ambassadors and even more for a larger program. I don’t have to worry about registration, making a poster, press note or sending a program reminder. All these things are taken care by them.
H.T.Patel: Of course the crucial role is played by advisory board. We discuss our future plans and how we can take Yuvalay ahead.
Well that was a truly inspiring story. We’ll now get into the rapid fire round.
Dhaval: Which is your favorite book.
H.T.Patel: 7 habits of highly effective people.
Dhaval: Best session at Yuvalay till date?
H.T.Patel: The 5 day program on “Happy family and life” was awesome for families but for students, the topic of “Know Yourself” by Anna Menezes was the best as per the feedback we got.
Dhaval: Who is your mentor?
H.T.Patel: There are many mentors and one of them is my father. He was a teacher and we used to go school and come back walking around 50 minutes for around 4 years. He will be a guiding force for me through out my life. Guruji Narayana is one of my mentor. Apart from them, my own brother who is in USA, will be retiring now but he still works for the corporate, activity involved in social work and donates a lot for social cause.
I also keep reading about people who are doing extremely good work for the society.
Dhaval: How many students has Yuvalay trained till now?
H.T.Patel: More than 6000.
Dhaval: How many training sessions have been completed?
H.T.Patel: More than 325 sessions.
Dhaval: What are your future plans at Yuvalay?
H.T.Patel: We want to reach more students. There are many students who are not aware of Yuvalay. So we are in search of how we can reach those who badly need us. We are also moving beyond Vadodara. We have done sessions at Padra, Petlad and Bharuch.
We have started doing some programs for higher secondary school students and for parents too.
Another initiative is providing one on one mentorship to students for their career
Dhaval: What advice would you give to young people?
Dhaval: How can we get the information to attend the next session at Yuvalay?
Dhaval: Thank you H.T.Patel sir for your time. We wish Yuvalay keeps reaching new heights and attracting more and more students in coming years. We salute you for your service to the Youth of India.