Donor Appreciation Day & New Frontiers in Leadership

Sunday, December 7th, 2008

University of Maryland, Shady Grove Auditorium

The Washington D.C. Chapter of the Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation welcomed nearly 250 guests to its annual “Donor’s Appreciation Day and New Frontiers in Leadership “event this past Sunday evening on December 7th 2008. The event took place at the University of Maryland’s Shady Grove auditorium, and all supporters were welcome. In addition to recognizing donors for contributing nearly 387 schools this year, the Chapter announced exciting new youth and Internet initiatives for the upcoming year.

After a short invocation, five Ekal volunteers answered popular questions and debunked myths associated with Ekal. They discussed Ekal’s mission, and shared statistics about how successful the Foundation has been in encouraging students to continue their education. For donors, the presenters provided a numerical breakdown of how donations are spent, and an instructional video showing visitors how to log into the Ekal website, see their school statistics and contact the family in charge of their school.

The instructional video and slides from the presentation are now available online through the DC Chapter’s Web site and through YouTube.

Viveka Boddipalli, a medical student at the University of Illinois at Chicago, gave the New Frontiers in Leadership keynote speech. Boddipalli started the nonprofit Veranda Foundation in 2002. Veranda provides Indians living in rural Andhra Pradesh with opportunity by offering educational, financial and health care services. Veranda’s mission is similar to Ekal’s. “The root of all progress is education,” said Boddipalli, who praised Ekal’s success.

The audience clapped and sang along as students from the Balaji Music Academy performed folk and film songs, in the second half of the evening. Many of the students have performed on local television, and Academy director Ms.Vatsala Mehra is a well-known ghazal singer and an Ekal supporter. Nilima Mehra, who hosts the local Chitrmala TV show, served as the Master of Ceremonies and amused the audience by introducing each student as “beautiful.” She even joked with one of the performers that she wanted to take him home.

The chapter announced its essay competition for middle school-ers while handing out certificates to the Balaji singers. Intended to get students to reflect on what educational opportunity means and why it’s important, the competition concludes on January 7. Information about the essay competition, which is open to all area youth, is available on the DC Chapter’s Web site.

The Regional Vice President of the DC Chapter, Dr. Shashi Srivastava, thanked all the performers and the attendees. The last event of 2008 concluded with a reception . Samosas, desserts and tea were available in the lobby during the reception.

We would like to thank Viveka Boddipalli, Vatsala Mehra, Nilima Mehra, the students of Balaji Music Academy and our Donors for making this event such a grand success.