“Everyone was kind, open, and so civically minded. What else could you want? It was a place I could feel inspired,” said Puksta Alum (CSU ’16) Chand Jiwani as she reflected on her memories as a Puksta Scholar. Since then, she’s continued the Puksta tradition of spreading kindness, positivity, and inspiration to others. Even in her professional life now, she maintains the spirit of service in all she does. Only four years after graduating, Jiwani has already elevated to the position of Senior Specialist of Engagement & Inclusion at Boston Medical Center, where she serves marginalized communities in New England’s largest safety-net hospital.
Service has always been at Jiwani’s core. Her Puksta project focused on the elderly population, a community that is often overlooked. She led programs at a local Fort Collins nursing home to keep patients active physically, mentally, and most importantly, socially. “They really appreciated the chance to connect with someone,” Chand said, “but I really feel like I benefited more from it than they did.” Beyond being able to practice leadership and civic service, she cites learning to develop relationships with the patients and hearing their stories as the most enriching part of her experience.
Jiwani counts her ability to develop relationships as her biggest takeaway from her time with Puksta. “When you’re serving people, it’s important to speak to them in a way that’s not only eloquent, but also accessible,” she said. Programs around her work have involved communities ranging from people experiencing homelessness, to undocumented peoples, to local residents that just want to learn to cook more healthy. “Different people need to be approached differently so that they don’t get confused and miss out on chances to get the help they need,” she said.
Years and miles since her graduation at CSU, Chand Jiwani continues to spread the spirit of Puksta in all she does, and she hopes the next generation of young leaders get to experience the same thing. “It’s a family that will accept you as you are and elevate you to what you can be, nothing would ever change my recommendation,” said Jiwani.