Volunteer Spotlight – Manju Talekar

Introducing Manju Talekar

Manju Talekar is an inspiring, positive, skilled, and versatile volunteer. Although she started 2020 volunteering in person as an English, yoga, and meditation teacher, during the past year of shelter in place, Manju adapted to volunteering virtually. She began by learning Zoom and, by fall, was collaborating with East San Jose Carnegie Family Literacy Specialist Jeff Tibayan to implement a weekly English Language Learners Conversation Club, into which she has inserted some mini grammar lessons. Manju served over 60 volunteer hours in 2020, especially commendable given closure since mid-March. Although a retired physician, she has not retreated, but rather has opted for continuing service to her community and personal growth while staying healthy through her mindful meditation and practices.

A Chat with Manju

As a child... while watching my father (also a doctor), I imagined what it would be like if I could peek inside a patient’s body. I imagined, “What if I could travel through a body with the red blood cells and talk to a person’s organs to ask them what was the matter so we could help them.”

My favorite color is... blue or teal.

If I could choose an animal companion, I would choose... a warm and loving cow.

Someone I admire is... first responders, such as medical personnel.

Something I learned about myself in the past year is... I can still adapt to new environments, survive, and know how to be with myself

What I found rewarding about virtual volunteering was... how inspiring and motivating to keep in communication with English Language Learners. I was able to see their reactions on Zoom, and prepared more, added in some grammar lessons to our Conversation Clubs.

My favorite genre to read is... adult nonfiction books, both neuroscience, more about the universe, and biographies.

My best memory from 2020 was... spending more time with my adult son, as he is working from home.

In 2021, I am grateful... for being alive, for my health, and for technology and the Internet that allows us still to connect.

If I could predict the future, I think a change Libraries will see in the next ten years... will be even more focus on eBooks and technology, maybe do more with robotics and artificial intelligence.

My hobbies include... sewing and gardening.