About Akila

akilafacepicMaking the world a better place P.E.A.C.E. by P.E.A.C.E.

Proliferating Effective Altruism, Compassion and Empowerment, by integrating my skills in Psychology, Education, the Arts, Critical thinking and Equity.  

Hi, I’m Akila and like you, I would like to live a fulfilling life; one that is filled with joy as well as one that makes a meaningful difference in the world.  This blog is a collection of my reflections on making the world (our inner world and outer world) a better place, ‘P.E.A.C.E. by P.E.A.C.E.’ My reflections are my personal journey in exploring various big and small ideas related to living well and doing good, so you will find that the ideas may be imperfect and evolving over time. My goal is to share, connect and improve, so I would be grateful to anyone would like to join in this journey.

Ultimately, we all want PEACE–inner peace, outer peace, universal peace. This is my vision and this blog is one piece (or ‘peace’) of that puzzle. I developed a passion for global  justice and mindful living from a young age. I have spent over a decade now, reading, reflecting, learning and writing about how to live an optimal life; one that finds the right balance between enjoying life in earnest, while continually giving back and doing as much good as possible. My academic and professional pursuits in psychology, education, child studies and equity have added to my body of knowledge and experience. I’m a mother, an educator, a continually striving creative and critical-thinker, an amateur artist (dance is my thing!), and more. But above all, I’m an authentic, caring human being passionate about making the world a better place.

I think that a fulfilling life boils down to two big parts: enjoying life and doing good.

Fulfillment = Enjoying Life + Doing Good

Dissecting this ‘life equation’ is an ongoing, lifelong journey that I revel in. Of course, it’s not as easy as a black and white equation. Fulfillment has many grey areas and means different things for different people, and ‘enjoyment’ and ‘doing good’ are not mutually exclusive.  Regardless, the process and journey of examining how to live a good life and do good in the world, is an adventure worth exploring.

My vision (the Why), mission (the How) and output (the What) 

Why

My vision is… Universal PEACE

 How?

My mission is to Proliferate Effective Altruism, Compassion and Empowerment, using my skills in Psychology, Education, the Arts, Critical thinking and Equity; ‘P.E.A.C.E. by P.E.A.C.E.

What?

I offer my reflective and informed pedagogy, workshops, writing, and community engagement, to all those who wish to learn, grow, and give back with me! 

My academic and professional background 

I am a Phd candidate through the department of Social Justice Education at the University of Toronto, and I have a Masters degree in Child Studies and Education through the department of Applied Psychology and Human Development from the University of Toronto. I studied how children think and learn; the social and cognitive development of children (human development) in educational/classroom settings (applied psychology). After completing my Masters I wanted to get hands on experience in the classroom and form links between the research and practice in education, so I taught elementary school, and still do. I love working with children! I also continue to be involved outside of the classroom through running workshops, sitting on Boards, writing research articles, and more. If you would like to connect with me and inquire about any of these services, please send me an email through the contact page.

I enjoy being a pedagogue, studying its craft, and value the integration of education, equity, psychology, parenting and well-being, into what I do on a daily basis. I truly believe that positively guiding the next generation can help change the world.

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. –Nelson Mandela

In recent years, my academic, professional and personal life merged beautifully after having two children of my own. Everything has come full circle, as I watch and contribute to the development of my own children and lay the foundation for them to become forces of positive living and positive change for the world.

My story…

I was born and raised just outside of Toronto, Canada and had a secure and nurturing upbringing. My parents immigrated to Canada from India in the 70’s with very little and had to work extremely hard and sacrifice many things to provide a wonderful life for me and my brother. We lived a modest lifestyle, but still had everything we needed and wanted.

Growing up, my family and I would take trips back to India every few years to visit relatives. I know undoubtedly that these trips, along with the foundation my parents set for me, were elemental in shaping my desire to give back.

On arrival in India, upon stepping out of the Bangalore airport, we would be quickly ushered into an AC (air conditioned) vehicle on our way to my grandmother’s place. The car rides were always an eye-opening adventure; weaving in and out of the chaotic traffic, listening to the musical medley of horns, cows and vegetable hawkers, whizzing by the slums and commercial centres, and being approached by homeless women, men and children when stopped at an intersection. These latter moments would always leave a mark in my mind and in my heart. Staring back at other children from inside the car as they would tap on the window and beg for money or food, I would be perplexed as to why I was so lucky to be safe and secure with my parents and the various luxuries they provide me, while these other people were out on the street with little food, water or shelter. So, here I am now, as an adult and an educator, trying to make a difference, one step at a time.

Final thoughts…

I feel that in a world of abundance–financial, natural, educational and altruistic–no one and nothing should be left to suffer due to lack of life-sustaining resources (water, food, shelter, health), safety (threats to physical and mental security, threats to the environment), and freedom (to pursue one’s goals and live happily). It breaks my heart that there is still so much preventable suffering happening in this world. That being said, I feel that it is our responsibility to work towards creating a more just world. To me, social and environmental justice centre around the general principle that all living things be given the opportunity to pursue their life interests without barriers to the aforementioned. What it boils down to is this: To live a happy life in harmony with other people and the planet, each and every one of us needs food, water, shelter, good health, nothing or no-one threatening our well-being, AND a protected universe.  I am confident that there is enough education, capacity and compassion to make a meaningful difference. We can make this happen.

A fulfilling life involves experiencing life’s wondrous energies in earnest, and acting in such ways that others can experience this too. –Akila Venkatesh

I wrote this quote as a representation for what I believe in and what I am continually working towards. I hope you may find some meaning and inspiration in it too. Thanks so much for reading!

17 thoughts on “About Akila

    1. Wow! Thank you so much!!! I am deeply humbled…you’ve just made my day! Sorry for the late response btw. If there is a post or questions with your nomination feel free to send it to me. Thanks again! :))

  1. Just to let you know that the title of your blog is just wonderful and the picture also on the ‘perspectacles’ post is just awesome….keep it up. We need more blogs like this, and maybe we WILL be able to help the world!

  2. Hey just to let you know that I have nominated you for the LIEBSTER AWARD. I’m sure it’s not the first time, but if it is check out my page for the details of what’s involved.

    Great blog by the way!

    1. Wow! I’m so humbled and I have not been nominated before. Thank you! I checked out your page but will look in more detail shortly and follow up with that. Thank you again…I’m very touched and grateful. 🙂

  3. Hi Akila! I am so thrilled to have found out about your blog and to have read the article on the coyote skeleton. What a wonderful way to record the experiences you (and your students) have. I look forward to reading more (and to hopefully seeing you in TO or here (Vancouver)) sometime. Take care!

    1. Hi Danielle!
      I am so happy to hear from you! What a pleasant surprise. Thanks so much for reading my blog. I also checked out your blog and it looks like there’s a lot happening in your JK class! Way to go and definitely keep in touch!

  4. A beautiful and inspirational blog by a beautiful and inspirational individual! What a great idea Ak!!…..such informative topics written in an eloquent and thought provoking manner! I’ll visit often and spread the word:) Love ya, T

  5. Akila – this is a wonderful site that is sure to garner innovative ideas that will make our world better – in small ways – I love the suggestions posted as they are all things we can do that are simple, within reach and effective!
    It was an honour to meet you at the War Child event recently and can imagine what it must be like to work with you as your enthusiasm and passion is electric! Because of what you have done with this site alone – you have started the positivity we need – and because you are with young people everyday – you are modeling the positivity they seek in the adults they look up to.
    Our world is such a good place with you in it – I’m so glad I had the opportunity to meet you! Well done!
    Barry

  6. Hey Akila!

    Congrats on the start of your new blog! You definitely have my support. I’ll definitely visit whenever I can 🙂 !

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