July 24, 2018

Jai Jinendra,

To wrap up the 2018 YJA Convention, the four of us would like to share some final words –

To those of you who traveled from the far reaches of the country to the corners of the globe, we hope you've safely returned home. Though wherever 'home' may be, we want you to remember the second home you found at this year's Convention. From the family of attendees that surrounded you to the symphony of events that unfolded, we hope those 4 days in Chicago were a time you'll remember forever. In the past 10 days we've received heartwarming stories and an outpouring of positivity from the impact this experience had on each of you.

Some of you reconnected with a part of your inner self that has stayed dormant for years. Some of you discovered that being Jain in today's world isn't easy – that it involves discovering a hidden truth, facing fear with clear eyes, and taking a bold stand. And some of you saw what amazing things come of being surrounded by your roots – by the people who were brought up in similar ways you were and understand your story in ways others cannot.

We hope you discovered the power you hold to shape not only your future but also the world around you during the Keynote with Nikita T. Mitchell. We hope you enjoyed the novelty of our YJA App and found long-lasting friends aided by your ability to scan attendees' QR codes. We hope you learned how to dive into Jain principles and can now envision how to change communities through the Jain Academic Bowl and Jains in Action competitions. And we hope you will forever reminisce on dancing the night away at Garba in the Galaxy and the Windy Wonderland Formal.

As our journey comes to an end, we cannot forget those who helped make it possible. This Convention could not have happened without the support of the Jain Society of Metropolitan Chicago and JAINA. We would also like to thank our Convention Committee, our Adult Volunteers, our Session Speakers, our Subcommittee members, and our Donors for uniting with us on this incredible journey.

And now as we close one chapter and begin another, let's march forward into the unknown – strengthened by our communities, supported by our history, and empowered by our roots. With that, we can't wait to see you at #YJA2020!

With #yjalove,

Chintav Shah, Dharmi Shah, Jinen Shah, and Siddharth Shah
2018 YJA Convention Committee Co-Chairs