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Recap of Improvement Needed at JCNC & Concluding Notes (President's Message Part-II) Please Allow time to Read!

posted Dec 31, 2017, 2:35 PM by JCNC Technology   [ updated Jan 2, 2018, 3:01 PM ]
Dear JCNC Members,

Season’s Greetings and Jai Jinendra!

As the year draws to close, so does the term of this Executive Committee. Before signing off, I try to share the good note and the “Improvement needed” areas as a part of the outgoing President, I covered mostly all goodies in the Part-I email and further here, I would like to cover some of the gray areas based on my close observation in last two years, please consider them as a constructive feedback in a harmonious environment to improve and priorities further wherever needed.


If you missed the Part-I email then here is another opportunity to read; attached please find the PDF file for the same. Herewith, I’ve mostly covered good news, a roundup executive summary of the major events that we’ve successfully celebrated this year at JCNC.


Here is the concluding part of the year-end communication.

I would like to begin with an old moral story “Unity Is Strength” –Once, an old man was very ill and lay dying in his bed. He had four sons who were al­ways fighting with each other. He always worried about them and wanted to teach them a lesson and asked his sons to come to him. When they came, the old man gave them a bundle of sticks and said, “Can you break these sticks?”

The first son tried to break the bundle but nothing hap­pened. He tried very hard and finally gave up. Then it was the turn of the second son to try his luck. He thought it would be an easy task and picked up the sticks easily. He tried his best to break the sticks but nothing happened. Then, the third son tried to break the bundle of sticks, but he couldn’t do anything either. Meanwhile, the youngest son jeered at his brothers and thought they were very incom­petent. He thought he was very clever and took one stick at a time and easily broke all of them.

The old father then smiled at his sons and said, “Children, do you understand what hap­pened? It is always easy to break the sticks one by one. But when they are bundled together, none of you could break them. In the same way, you four brothers should always be together. No one will be able to hurt you then.” The four brothers realized what their father was trying to teach them and forgot all their enmity and learned that unity is a strength.

From that day onwards, they never fought with each other and lived together in peace and harmony.

The Jain faith has stood the test of time and has taught humans the values of inner peace, ahimsa, and tolerance – values the world needs more than ever before. We are fortunate, blessed and proud to be a part of this movement that continues to shape humanity, our communities and our own selves every passing day.

Whereas in India and various other places in North America, we notice increasing sectarianism within Jain communities, we are the fortune at JCNC that by-and-large our community believes in a unified, harmonious and cooperative coexistence of all Jain traditions. We started as a “prefix-less” Jain organization and we continue to thrive as one. I am very proud to have had the opportunity to serve this unique community. At the same time, I would like to take a note and caution that we must stay vigilant to make sure sectarianism does not creep into our organization. We are unified Jains, and we must continuously work hard to stay a unified community.

"If something is meant to go elsewhere, it will never come your way, but if it is yours by destiny, from you it cannot flee. Go easy on ..."

At JCNC, based on the current membership data, as of today we’ve about 1080 life members, 300+ annual family members, and 80 annual individual members, total about 1460 active family members, and if we multiply average 3 individual members per family then we get about 4400 individual registered members of all ages, this tally doesn’t account for hundreds of non-members, who also visit JCNC regularly. The below list of some of the gray areas is based on the huge membership vs. our current capacity of the center. We all need to pay attention and resolve them appropriately wherever possible.

  • Parking Problem:
    Parking continues to be a nagging problem, this is a known issue in the whole community and a hot problem to look at on a priority, we only have 106 parking on the premises, its impacts most of all the big events where we invite the whole Sangh together, our team tried to solve it in multiple different ways - ranging from a temporary solution like servicing from a remote parking lot using shuttle service to a permanent, albeit a partial solution; like the next door building. At the end, a viable solution will require our community’s willingness to participate.
  • Quality of Pathshala Program:
    Pathshala program has expanded considerably from our original estimates, which is a positive development, we’ve about 415+ registered Jain shala students, and we tried to improve the logistics part by splitting the shala into two: a senior shala on 1st, 3rd, and 5th Sundays and junior shala on 2nd and 4th Sundays, this arrangement helped in many ways, including creating a peaceful learning environment, improving on safety and security of the members, crowd control management, parking arrangements, shala-snacks programs and serving, etc. However, we need to thoroughly review and update all aspects of the program including curriculum, scheduling, resources, parking space, volunteer-teacher participation and qualification, snacks, teachers training, etc. we will work with the incoming team as needed.
  • Food and Swamivatsalya Program:
    Our Food team is overstretched. It is a volunteer-run organization like all other departments, with a scope of work that ranks among the highest of our teams. However, the team is not empowered like the other teams; for example, we do not have an elected VP who has an authority that accompanies responsibility. The BoD and community need to look into this and configure an appropriate solution. Another big question is about the kitchen and dining capacity vs. safety, security, and crowd Mgmt tasks, it’s going beyond our control many a time. For regular Pathshala, at least we are trying to improve and started serving only the children focused “Shala snacks” based on many inputs we received which tell us to avoid the adult-based full meals on Shala Sundays.
  • Election 2017 Results and Analysis:
    Executive Elections are very important part of our organizational processes at JCNC. We have noticed that only about a third of our eligible members participate in elections, which is very low, only 799 (appx. 32% ) voters voted out of about 2400 qualified voters (about 1240 registered families).
    We would like to see much more community participation and voter turnout. We will work with the incoming BOD/EC team with a few process improvement ideas as needed.
  • Governance Committee:
    EC has a full plate job in hands, however, many a time, our energy is drawn to handle the grievance, and problem resolution from regular operations of various types such as issues within EC members, BOD members, Volunteers, Community Complaint, etc., having a solid governance committee to oversee the problems/resolution of all such kind would help.
  • JCNC “NextGen” Family (the US Born families) Activities (Launched, Jan 2017):
    Many a time we noticed and heard the general complaint from community members saying their US-born youth and young adults are not encouraged enough to come to JCNC, therefore, we need to start exploring this problem, why is it like that? what are we missing here?  what can we do to improve the inflow of good participation of US-born in all ages, in fact, we tried this year and supported a group of NextGen Jains to hold regular social/ religious/educational meet-ups at Jain Bhawan, keeping a goal of bringing them back and re-engaging them in JCNC activities, we need continuous more work here.
  • A Couple Projects on Hold:
    Following are the project that we started but couldn’t explore much due to lack of time and resources, I think these can also be explored further by next EC:
    • JCNC Community Directory
    • JCNC Mobile Apps
    • Trip to LA Sangh
    • Panch Tirth Yatra to Palitana or Samat Shikharji India
I would also point out that we are a completely volunteer-based organization. Our elected EC members work exceptionally hard, unlike any other organization that I know, and all of us strive to serve our community and Jain Dharma to the best of abilities and with pure service-oriented intentions. With the multitude of activities we undertake, some slips are bound to occur. Whereas I would like to apologize for any and all slips in the last two years, I would like to humbly request for patience from our members as well. It does not help and is de-motivational when we hear sharply negative rebukes for the slips that occur when the working volunteers are earnestly trying their best. It does not help to see every complaint exaggerated much beyond the actuality. Our Jain philosophy teaches us to be tolerant, friendly, peaceful, accommodating, cordial, truthful and respectful. I can assure you that every member of my team worked hard to comply with those positive attributes.

In last two years, we exponentially helped the movement to encourage the younger leadership to come forward and serve Jain Dharma in many ways, this will help JCNC to have a good inflow of skilled volunteers and good leaders in future to serve further.

I tried to cover all the topics that I’ve in mind, also I have a couple straight humble requests to all my fellow Jains, please try NOT to politicize our Jain Dharma, try Not to Polarize JCNC in homegrown traditions, try NOT to hurt others feeling, just believe-in we are Jains and we are united and integrated as brothers and sisters of all traditions and beliefs.

Once again, I sincerely thank my parents for all the good deeds and sanskars, my father is my continuous inspiration and the backbone of all my spiritually upliftment and social works.

Now it’s time for me to get a recess and go back learn more, more about life, mission peak hike, and more about Jain Dharma. I sign off with a good news that we did achieve the operation revenue goal of $960K this year (excluding donations from the BOD sponsored projects such as expansion and/or enhancement), and wishing the next committee all our continuing enthusiastic support, and of course, all the blessings of Tirthankara Shri Adinathji, Shri Mahavir Swamiji, and Shri Parshvanathji that all of us be the source of progress and the power of positive energy all around.

If I or any of our JCNC officials have hurt you knowingly or unknowingly, I ask your forgiveness on behalf of all of us. Michchhami Dukkadam.

Again, we thank you for your support. Happy Holidays and Wishing all the best for the year 2018.

Yogesh Bapna
JCNC President 2016-17
Jain Center of Northern California


“Thoughts can lead us to hell and thoughts can lead us to heaven. Thoughts can even lead the soul to liberation. You master your thoughts.”