BY: SATHIYAN SIVAKUMARAN, HUBCAP VISTA, THE HUB
A standard question when meeting someone is “Where are you from?” When I went to the University of California, Berkeley (Cal for short), I was asked this constantly. This is a loaded question for me. My parents come from Singapore and Sri Lanka. I was born in New York, but I don’t think many of us remember the first couple years of our lives. My family moved to California right after I graduated high school in 2012. So when people asked where I’m from, I responded with “West Virginia.” This state was my home from ages 2 to 16, and now it’s home again after five years of living in California.
I grew up in Weston, a town located right in the middle of West Virginia. I played tennis and basketball throughout my time there, and I participated in various clubs and organizations that helped me develop ties to the community. My family motivated me to perform my best in all those areas of life, as well as in academics, and continue to do so. After graduating from high school in 2012, I left for Cal, where I was rewarded with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics after 4 years of studying.
I came back to West Virginia because I wanted to come back; I felt that our state has been misunderstood by a lot of the country, and that we have a lot to offer. The desire to change the narrative about West Virginia was something that brought me to The Hub. My desire to work with people who are passionate about improving their communities is what brought me to the HubCAP III VISTA position. In my first two months, I’ve already been amazed by the creativity and dedication put forth by the people from the communities we work with.
At 22 years old, I know I don’t have the answers. One thing I have come to understand is that we all bring different cards to the table. I truly believe that we can achieve great things for our communities and our state by putting our personal politics, agendas, and egos aside. We all come from unique backgrounds and that respect for each other’s differences can be what allows us to make our vision for West Virginia a reality – we all want improvement. There are plenty of challenges ahead, and I’m looking forward to working together to answer each one of them and keep our state on the path of progress.