I was born in India, and when I was seven months old, I contracted polio, which left my legs paralyzed. However, I was adopted when I was four, and had the opportunity to move to Washington with my adopted parents. My family has always taught me that I could do and be anything if I set my mind to it. I never saw my disability as a burden, and I never allowed it to become a burden on others. With that in mind, I have always strived to be more and do more than what others might expect of me or even what I expect of myself. I have learned the importance of setting high goal, and for setting high expectations for the youth I served during my work with the Boys & Girls Clubs. At the Clubs, I would try to find new ways to challenge our youth to grow, whether it was through a new math program, planning service projects, or bringing in community leaders to share their experiences.
While I’m no longer in direct service, I still work with youth workers on implementing quality improvement processes because there are so many steps we can take to make programs more impactful, which ultimately will build stronger communities. On the surface, this consulting work is about helping youth development professionals improve the quality of their after school programs. However, I see these professionals as leaders who are striving to create the best opportunities possible for the next generation of leaders: the youth they serve. Knowing that many of these youth come from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds, I believe that I am continuing to live the mission of Seattle University and Jesuit education by helping to build youth workers’ skills, knowledge, and capacity to provide high quality, impactful programs. These programs ultimately contribute to building a more just and humane world for all.
Finally, Magis for me means I ask myself what I have contributed to my new business (Telefini Premier Communications), as well as how our company contributes to the greater community - from donating to local nonprofits to helping to equalize the playing field for small and minority owned businesses. I endeavor to dedicate time each day to building my professional, physical, spiritual, and intellectual health (e.g. swimming, reading, working, writing, and spending time with friends and family). I also stay connected to the Seattle U community through alumni networks, Career Services, and the Center for Service & Community Engagement, with particular focus on the Seattle University Youth Initiative. From attending symposiums to joining alumni and career exploration events, I am able to contribute ideas and experiences with others who either share a mutual Jesuit education or an overall passion for serving the community.