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EducateAKid Reports 2010 and Before

EducateAKid celebrates its 6th anniversary! EducateAKid, a Southern California based scholarship program for helping needy youth in India, marked its 6th anniversary at the Tandoor Indian restaurant in Orange, CA, at their fund-raiser banquet held on Friday, Dec 10th 2010. The evening commenced with an introduction by OHM President, Balakrishnan Panicker, and was followed by an annual report on EducateAKid  by Prasad Pillai, who gave updates on the scholarship program, its immediate goals, and future aspirations. There were audiovisual clips of success stories focused on scholarship recipients, who had completed their training with high academic grades. Such candidates had obtained lucrative jobs in industry, and placed their families on a path to financial recovery. Prasad made an impassioned plea to community members to donate generously to such socially conscious projects. He also pointed out that EducateaKid is now accessible through social networks like Facebook, thus extending its outreach and influence. The program had recently attracted the patronage of a prominent well-wisher, Smt Lalithambika, IAS, from Kerala. The presentation was followed by a few musical interludes by talented singers, Bala Venkat and Dr. Jayakrishnan, while the invitees enjoyed a sumptuous dinner. The highlight of the evening was an awe-inspiring presentation by the chief guest, Dr. Rajat Agrawal, retinal surgeon and Professor at the Doheny Eye Institute, University of Southern California. Dr. Agrawal has been instrumental in developing an artifical retinal implant (also called the ‘bionic eye’) to help the blind, which is now in clinical trials in several countries. He concluded his talk by exhorting the crowd to donate their time and money to worthy causes like EducateaKid. Several attendees responded by writing checks, or pledging support to the scholarship program before the evening ended. A vibrant dance performance by the talented duo of Kavitha Menon and Swathi Sreekumar rounded off the evening’s festivities. Mr Vinodh Bahuleyan, General Secretary, OHM, presented the vote of thanks. The banquet raised over $11,000 thanks to generous contributions from well-wishers and sponsors. The previous year, Educateakid disbursed 49 scholarships to needy students from financial struggling families, most of whom are pursuing careers and professional education in medicine, engineering, law, nursing etc.

 

EducateaKid scholarship banquet 2009 raises $13,000 !  EducateaKid, a grass-roots educational aid program in southern California celebrated its 5th year of ‘giving back’ at the Tandoor Restaurant in Orange, CA. The thanksgiving banquet held on Friday, Nov 27th 2009 was made enjoyable with an evening full of inspiring talks, light entertainment, and great food. The main purpose was a reminder to the 100-odd attendees, youth included, that here was an opportunity to donate time, money, and other resources to needy students in India. Their contributions would enable talented youngsters to complete higher education, find well-paid jobs, and eventually uplift their own families financially. The program is 100% volunteer driven with minimal overheads, and administered from Los Angeles through an India-based adviser network of mostly retired professionals, teachers, and well-wishers.The evening commenced with an invocation, followed by an introduction by OHM director Dr Padmanabha Iyer, himself a regular contributor to this program. He called on more community members to donate generously to such socially conscious projects. An inspirational video followed, and a slide presentation, updating everyone about the administration of the scholarship program, its immediate goals, and future aspirations. There were audiovisual clips of success stories focused on select scholarship recipients, who had completed their training with high academic honors, and obtained lucrative jobs in industry. A short motivating speech by Dr Vijaya Cherukuri was another highlight, where she emphasized that ‘people can be victims of fate, but not of neglect’ i.e. they may be ailing or born underprivileged, but do not deserve to be ignored by society. Based on her own interactions with CORD, the rural development arm of Chinmaya Mission (of which she is one of the chief co-ordinators in the US), she quoted “Change does not come if we seek it in someone else, or some other time; You are the change we seek”. Her talk was supported by a stirring personal account from one of the younger attendees, Ravind Kumar, who shared his own field experiences with the same organization from an American youth’s perspective. Dr Raman Unnikrishnan, Dean of Computer Engineering, Cal-State, Fullerton, CA, rounded off the evening recalling his own childhood experiences about needy schoolmates, and musing on how serendipity played a role in some of the EducateaKid recipients winning a scholarship. He felt that the most inspiring act would be to express his wholehearted support by writing a check, which he did in front of all the attendees. The talks and presentations gave way to a sumptuous dinner, songs rendered by invitees, games, and some vibrant dance items. Thanks to generous contributions from well-wishers and sponsors, the banquet raised $ 13,000/-. However, the program hopes to raise $ 16,000/- more this year to meet the challenge of supporting 57 scholarship applicants pursuing higher education in India. The previous year, Educateakid had disbursed 49 scholarships to such needy students, many of whom are pursuing careers in medicine, engineering, law, nursing etc.
The organizers would like more donations from community members to help them meet their target of US$ 29,000/- for the current year. Interested individuals can do this by writing a check, and mailing it to EducateAKid, PO Box 310, Artesia, CA 90701, or going on-line, and donating through their website, www.educateakid.org. Additional information may be obtained by sending an e-mail to contact@educateakid.org.

 

Sri Dhananjayans Show

EducateAKid, in cooperation with the Keerthana School of Music, held its annual fund raising event by presenting a Bharatanatyam performance by V.P. Shanta and Dhananjayan, thedancing duo from India, popularly known as the Dhananjayans. The Dhananjayans performed the first of their “farewell” tour with their disciple, Padmarani Rasiah Cantu. They were accompanied by Babu Parmeswaran (Vocal]), Nellai D. Kannan (Mridangam) and Eswar Ramakrishnan (Viloin). The program: “Bhakti Maargam” (The path of devotion) is choreographed in the best traditions of bharatanatyam, and consisted of a traditional Maargam repertoire featuring the best of their 50 years of artistic excellence in choreography. The event was held at the William Bristol Civic Auditorium at Bellflower, CA on September 28, 2008.

Dhananjayans are two of the most prominent alumni of the famed Kalakshetra founded by the legendary Smt. Rukminidevi. After spending almost two decades in Kalakshetra as student, performing artists and teachers, both came out and established Bharatakalanjali, now one of the most well known dance institutions in the country as well as internationally.  Babu Parameswaran is the founder of the Keerthana School of Music which offers instruction in Carnatic music and keyboard.

EducateAKid is local charitable organization which offers scholarship to the underprivileged young men and women who have entered higher learning institutions in India. EducateAKid, in recognition of Dhananjayan’s outstanding service to the Indian Classical dances, has established a yearly scholarship in the name of Dhananjayan to deserving students who want take up higher studies in classical dance. EducateAKid Chair Balakrishnan Panicker presented a copy of the  EducateAKid Dhananjayan Scholarship momento. Dhananjayans gave permission to EducateAKid to sell DVDs of this program and use the proceeds to fund the scholarship. Those who are interested in purchasing the DVD, please send email to contact@educateakid.org
Suresh Radhakrishnan compeered the event. Paulomi Pandit introduced the artists. EducateAKid Steering Committee member Hari Nair on behalf of the EducateAKid thanked all those who helped make the event a great success.

Family Day 2008:

EducateAKid wound up its fundraising drive for the school year 2007 -2008 raising 24,000 dollars. During the OHM Family Day on February 2nd 2008, at Hoover school, Lakewood, EducateAKid chair Mr. Hari Nair thanked everyone for making this effort a great success. He also announced the names of all major sponsors. Mr. Sajan Pillai, CEO of US Technologies spoke about the need for educated talent in India and how businesses can get involved in programs such as EducateAKid. Mr. Balakrishanan Panicker announced the list of scholarship recipients.

Thanksgiving Banquet 2007:

EducateAKid held its first Thanksgiving Banquet at Taal restaurant in Fullerton on the 23rd of November, 2007.  Dr. Raman Unnikrishnan, Dean of the College of Electrical and Computer Science at CalState Fullerton, gave the introductory speech. He eloquently highlighted the importance of encouraging children to pursue higher education. The highlight of the event was a selection of beautifully sung Ghazals by Babu Parameswaran, a gifted professional artist in Southern California . Hemat Ekbote’s rhythms on the tabla made the songs mesmeric.  Babu was supported by his disciple Joseph Poozhikkala on the keyboard.  Later in the evening, Dr. Ravi Raghavan introduced paintings by three great Indian artists to the audience, several of which were on display and for a charitable auction. Suresh Radhakrishnan compered the event in his eloquent and capturing style. Hari Nair, chairperson of steering committee for EducateAKid, gave a presentation on the program, which is a grass roots effort to bring significant change to families and local communities back in India . Vinodh Bahuleyan, Secretary of OHM thanked the sponsors HighGlow Jewellers, Taal Cultural Cuisine of India, and Sai Constructions, as well as others who helped make this event a great success.

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