Dharma Bee is a nation wide quiz contest for kids with the theme ‘Discover your Hindu Heritage". Dharma Bee’s goals are to improve swadhyaya (learning) about Hindu dharma, increase bala/kishore participation in shakha and to improve quality of shikshaks. As part of HSS’s nationwide initiative, HSS Durga Shakha in Temple City, CA organized “Dharma Bee – 2020” program that began on February 9th, 2020. National team provided basic guidelines and resources such as syllabus, campaign materials, teaching strategies etc. Dharma Bee Coordinator and all other Karyakartas initiated local level sampark and community outreach from December 2019.
Dharma Bee 2020 flyers were posted in local Temples, Indian Grocery Stores, at Surya Namaskar Yagna event along with online sampark via Facebook and local whatsapp groups. Families were also contacted via local linguistic organizations. The registration fee was $15.00 which was completely utilized for program materials and resources.
Three grade groups were created for kids –
❖ Group 1 – Kindergarten through 2nd grade
❖ Group 2 – 3rd grade through 5th grade
❖ Group 3 – 6th grade through 12th grade
A total of 58 kids registered for the program, with 34 new families from the community, across the three different grade groups. Shikshaks were identified for each topic for three groups. First class started on February 9th, 2020. All families were invited to attend the shakha and the Dharma Bee class there after.
First day activities were planned to cater to be welcoming and inviting to all new families and kids. The total sankhya was about 150. Everyone participated in the games, Yoga and other activities. A charcha for parents with Q & A was conducted. The class and shakha ended with Bhojan for all, including the new Dharma Bee Families. Dharma Bee classes were scheduled for every Sunday as part of regular shakha, for Group 1 from 10:20 – 10:50 and Group 2 & Group 3 from 10:55 am to 11:25 am.
Shikhsaks prepared each topic thoroughly and conducted the classes in an engaging and fun way for all age groups. After 5 weeks of classes, due to state mandated closure of public gatherings because of Covid 19, from March 8th onwards, shakha had to be canceled. When shakha was changed to online mode, Dharma Bee classes also started via online platform. Dharma Bee classes were modified to be conducted along with regular shakha on Sundays at different time slots for each grade group. Regular sampark was maintained with the parents via emails and phone calls.From April 5th, online classes started where initial 5 topics were reviewed by shikshaks, with detailed focus on specific topics such as Puja & Festivals, Gods and Goddesses. 7 weeks of review classes were conducted with good attendance and participation of kids. Every week, kids were given a small assignment or a craft activity as homework to encourage participation.
New syllabus topics were resumed on May 24th and finished the rest of the syllabus by June 7th. A final assignment was given and kids submitted their work with great enthusiasm.Dharma Bee finals was conducted on June 14th. The baudhik focused on having parents and kids participate in a discussion where they were asked to provide specific input on questions related to the Dharma Bee program. The Sambhag Karyakarta was present and summarized the Dharma Bee purpose and goal. For kids, a Quiz Contest was arranged via online platform kahoot. Shikhsaks prepared questions for each grade group and conducted the Quiz. Kids participated with great zeal and were happy to answer the questions with a sportsman spirit.
A feedback form was created for parents, to get their input on overall experiences with Dharma Bee and to inquire about their willingness to participate in future shakha or sewa activities. Afterwards, all kids were emailed a Certificate of Participation/Completion of Dharma Bee.