by JENNIFER FRAKES | photos by Zeena Gregg Photography

The Joy of Service

volunteer_patel1Darshana Patel finds joy in helping others and is energized by civic engagement. She was just recently elected as a Poway Unified School District (PUSD) Board of Education Trustee and is looking forward to serving the community in this capacity. Darshana is also a very active volunteer at Park Village Elementary School (PVES), where her children attend. “Currently, most of my volunteer time is spent at our elementary school. I am the executive vice president of the Park Village Foundation. Over the summer, the PTA and foundation decided to consolidate fundraising and school programs under the foundation. This has created a larger organization that requires a focused, organized, and highly collaborative team of supplemental programs for PVES students,” explained Darshana.

In addition to her positions on the PUSD Board of Education and with the PVES Foundation, Darshana volunteers with the San Diego Police Department Captain’s Advisory Board, the Rancho Peñasquitos Planning Board, and the Rancho Family YMCA Farmers Market Committee. Within each group, she holds a leadership role and is committed to serving the interests of the community the best she can. “I have a personal goal to be an effective member of any group I join,” stated Darshana, who is also passionate about being a role model for local youth. As a Ph.D. scientist, Darshana has worked in academia, government, and the private sector, but has always found time to volunteer.


Name: Darshana Patel
Communtiy: Rancho Peñasquitos
Volunteer Affiliation: Park Village Foundation
Profession: Ph.D. Scientist, PUSD School Board Trustee
Family: Husband – Jagadish Nayak; Children – Aadya (11), Bhavaani (9), and Kaushika (6)
Hobbies: Reading, gardening, learning
Favorite Spots in 92129: Hilltop Community Park to watch the sunset with hot air balloons; walking in the Los Peñasquitos Preserve


volunteer_patel2When Darshana is not volunteering, she can often be found reading, gardening, and learning new hobbies. “I have a love for learning, so you might just find me picking up a new hobby, like when I learned the art of stained glass while on a six-week sabbatical from work at Genentech, Inc.,” said Darshana with a laugh.

Darshana, her husband, and their three children moved to Rancho Peñasquitos from the Bay Area in 2010. “We love the community feel – we are surrounded by caring, responsible, and helpful neighbors that make PQ such an inviting and safe place to live. When we moved, we specifically chose this community because of the Poway Unified School District and the close proximity to beaches, parks and the city. We really do feel like PQ is the San Diego sweet spot,” Darshana revealed. She and her family enjoy participating in PQ’s many community events, as well as walking in the Los Peñasquitos Preserve and watching the hot air balloons at sunset from Hilltop Park.


Group: Park Village Foundation
Mission: “The purpose of the foundation is to provide financial support to enhance the academic curriculum at Park Village Elementary School for all of our students. Our primary objective is to provide funding for all supplemental academic programs. We also aim to provide funding for programs and events that foster community-building and encourage students to shine.”
Website: www.parkvillagefoundation.com