OHM’s charity initiative, EducateAKid is a fully volunteer managed scholarship program designed to help financially challenged underprivileged young men and women who have entered higher learning institutions in India. EducateAKid program had another successful year (2015) raising over $42,500.00 for the cause and is on the way to grant a high number of annual scholarships to deserving students.
The 10th annual EducateAKid Banquet was held on Nov 7th at Shehnai Cuisine of India in Orange, CA, The Diwali themed event was attended by over 275 guests. This year’s event was also a celebration of 10 years of EducateAkid charity program and service to the community.
The Grand sponsor of the event was Dr. R. Narayanaswami and Sarasa Narayanaswamy, who also generously donated to the cause.
Mr. Sajan Pillai, UST Global was the platinum sponsor. KP Hari, Speridian Inc, and Sanjaye Ellayattu, Simplain Software Solutions were the Diamond Sponsor. Location sponsor was Balbir Singh. Prizes and raffles were sponsored by Mathew Thomas (Realtor), Jiju Purushothaman (Indo American Catering), Sudha Arshad, Suneetha Jayachandran and Balbir Singh.
The program was presided by OHM Board member and EducateAKid chair Jay Nair, supported by the entire OHM Board of directors and many volunteers from the community. The evening began with the lighting of the lamps by the grand sponsors, Sarasa and Dr. Narayanaswami, and an inaugural song rendered by Vijay Parameshwaran. Gayathri Sivadas and Aishwarya Veerabahu were emcees of the evening, and kept the audience engaged, informed and entertained.
In his keynote speech Dr. R Narayanaswami, chairman of the CSM group of companies as well as a prominent community leader and author, stressed three important points: Excellence, Education and Gift-giving. He explained that excellence in life is something that has no finish line and one keeps learning how to excel throughout life. Quoting eloquently from shlokas from the Vedas and Upanishads about selfless giving, he encouraged the audience to donate generously to EAK.
Chief guest Sajan Pillai in his address thanked and expressed his appreciation for all the key organizers and volunteers of EAK, and also went on to state UST Global’s vision to touch three billion lives through digital technology, as well as its various philanthropic missions. Guest speaker, author Chris Alexander gave a motivational speech and also spoke about the importance of education.
The Grand sponsors and the Platinum sponsors were felicitated and thanked for their generous support, and honored with a traditional ponnada and plaques by Rema Nair (OHM President) and other board members. The Chair also honored Ravi Vellatheri (Director, OHM) for his valuable service every year to the organization in raising funds for EducateAKid.
The evening also featured the very popular Best Dressed contest, and prizes were given to Best Dressed couple Sudha and Arshad, Best Dressed Man Joseph Ouso, and Best Dressed Woman Dr Sindhu Pillai. One of the highlights of the evening was a raffle drawing that featured exciting items such as an Apple watch, a sari, jewelry and a chef-catered dinner coupon. The banquet ended with an energetic singing segment by Indie-Beatz, led by Dr. Ravi Raghavan, with a group of talented young singers who encouraged the audience to take to the dance floor and dance the night away.
Sanjaye Elayattu, OHM Board member, gave a vote of thanks appreciating all the volunteers, sponsors, donors, the entire board of directors and everyone who made the banquet and the fundraiser a success. Some notable large donors were Drs. Shyam Kishan and Sharmilla of Indiana, Hari Nair, Meena Mohan, Radhakrishna Sharma, Prof. JayKrishnan, Sanjaye Ellayattu, Sreelatha Vijayakumari, Abraham Mathew, Mathew Thomas, Vinodh Bahulayan, Ravi Vellatheri, Rema Nair, Pat Iyer, Balan Panicker, Baburaj Dharan, Jay Nair and Jaydeep Menon. Corporate Sponsorship, donations or matching was provided by UST Global Inc, Speridian Inc, Apple Inc, Motorola, Sidna, Paramount Farms, ADP, UnitedHealth Group, Optum, Simplain Software Solutions.
Along with the sponsors, the Banquet dinner event and entertainment was made possible with the help of Mathew Thomas (Realtor), Balbir Singh (owner of Tandoor), Dipu Mannar, Sachitha Sabari, Divya, Suneetha Jay, Smitha Sanjaye, Danny SD George, Jaydeep Menon, Raghu Aranagssery, Sreekumar, Devan, Suresh Babu, Sabari and many other volunteers.
The chair Jay Nair thanks everyone, including donors, volunteers and advisors for helping some very deserving students in their quest for higher education. We appreciate the vision of those who initiated the program, and the dedication of all those who supported the scholarship program over the last 10 years. Thanks to the OHM Board of 2014 and 2015, for the support provided in conducting and in making positive changes within the program, as well as in enabling new initiatives like the Charity Cricket Tournament to benefit EducateAKid.
EducateAKid Charity Cricket Tournament: The first Charity Cricket Tournament to benefit EducateAKid initiated in the last quarter of 2015, was conducted on Jan 3rd and 4rth, 2016. This Cricket Tournament will be an annual event that along raising funds for EducateAKid, will promote EducateAKid and OHM among the public and the larger Indian community. It will also be yet another OHM event that will attract and involve youth and young family member participation.
The EAK chair and rest of the OHM Board would like to recognize and appreciate Sanjaye Elayattu for his initiative and effort in organizing the first Charity Cricket Tournament. Along with the core organizers, Sanjaye, Jay Nair and Ram Prasad, OHM appreciates the key contribution by Ramesh Menon and Sujeeth Menon in making this tournament a reality. We also thank Chinna, Suresh N, Suresh Enchoor, Sreekumar, Sabari, Dipu, Subash, BabaPranabh, Jaydeep and Vimal Ghosh for support and ground preparation. Thanks to Ravi Vellatheri, Suneetha, Smitha, Viji, Divya and Tina for assistance with food preparation. We thank the trophy sponsors Ravi V, Dr Sindu Pillai, Baburaj Dharan, K.P.Hari and Manjusha Venugopal and Vinodh Bahulayan. The event sponsors were Mathew Thomas (Realtor, OCHomebymathew.com), Max Choudhury (Insurance Agent for businesses), and Balbir Singh (Tandoor and Shehnai restaurants). We extend our appreciation also to all players of the twelve teams from all over greater LA area who participated, and all OHM members who came to the tournament and provided support and encouragement.
Our gratitude goes out to all the donors, volunteers and advisors for their continued support for this noble cause.
EducateAKid Banquet Dinner on Nov7, 2015