Allison Horton may be American by birth, but, at heart, she is a complete ‘desi’ who loves to gorge on pani-puris, paranthas, mishti doi, get high on Bollywood music, also, fervently talk about Gandhi and the ideas of peace and non-violence. She was PRAVAH’s intern (playing a pivotal role in the Youth Interventions [YI] team), from the America-India Foundation, for a period of ten unforgettable months. Recently, she bade goodbye to her beloved family in India, signing off with a fitting farewell from PRAVAH.
On June 14, first, Allison bid adieu to the CommRep (Communications Representative) team, which on its part, through secret meetings, planning, and finally, on the actual day, a round of hide and seek (to keep the surprise from being spoiled), managed to pull off a thoroughly enjoyable, and comical at some points, farewell celebration for its ‘Rani ’. Allsion was showered with tokens of love, blessings, gratitude and appreciation, and a super delicious cake, that too, a home-baked one, to top it off!
Allison had been instrumental in keeping the PRAVAH Facebook page actively going, constantly engaging with its audience, acting as a communications liaison, on many occasions, fielding questions regarding the programs that PRAVAH runs. It will not be an exaggeration to say that her contributions, in this regard, stretch far beyond what meets the eye. A user manual on the ways to utilize social media effectively was her parting gift to the CommRep team, largely touted as the next big thing in the office!
Being mainly a member of the YI team, Allison endeared herself to many a volunteer, and people in general, whom she came in contact with, thanks to her easygoing nature and simple way of handling, as well as explaining things through. Her teammates fondly remember her cheerful presence in an otherwise chaotic room, ever so willing to lend a helping hand, and an empathic ear to one and all. Her most tangible gift to the YI team, Music for Harmony Manual, is already an invaluable resource in use as part of the team pre-med for next year.
“Allison, I remember standing tall across the room above many other young people during Mentors’ Meet. I am not sure why I figured that this was the young lady who was going to be in my life for 10 months. 10 months sounds like a long time, but for me it flew past. These were the months where I saw her forge across a team which was chaotic and build a space for herself which lay vacant now that she is back across Atlantic.
I have been witness to her movement across two Deep Self Awareness Workshops recognizing her fears and building confidence that she can ask for support across board and is not an island in this journey. Anchoring journeys of many young people, winning their hearts and respect, she reiterated that Language is never a barrier. I can almost hear her say – Arrey Yaar!” – Naghma Abidi, PRAVAH mentor (in pic, above)
June 20 officially brought to a close Allison’s association with the PRAVAH office. Surrounded by her favorite people, and her favorite food, she thanked everyone, listing out her learnings in a long, but, touching farewell speech, which made even the most talkative ones retreat into a pensive mood momentarily, following which the assault on the food spread began, in true PRAVAH style, a lot of which Allison herself imbibed!
As Allison heads back home, to embark on a new journey, to touch more lives in another part of the globe, PRAVAH wishes her all the luck, and hopes that she is able to carry, and apply, her experience from here. Bon Voyage!