President’s Message

 

June 29, 2017        

                                               Update on President’s message

Bal Vihar has been serving greater St. Louis Indian community through its teaching of Indian culture, India’s past and present, yoga and bhajan. The theme of the organization is that you serve and lead. Through various community projects, the citizens of tomorrow learn to help and serve that eventually help them become a better leader. What started off as a seed in 1992 has now blossomed into a very mature tree. The idea was planted in 1992 to help the Asian Indian community within greater St. Louis to inculcate Indian culture and heritage in next generation of leaders. Over last 25 years Bal Vihar has helped groom a breed of multi-cultural global leaders of next generation that have been shaped by the best of the cultures from east and west. These youngsters understand the need and value of the cultural values that have been instilled in them through the rigorous program of Bal Vihar. Students are taught discipline, diversity, respect and devotion in their daily routine. The ultimate goal is "to throw the light of cultural knowledge on every child, to make every child an outstanding citizen and to spread the song of peace and harmony around the world."

Since it was interesting milestone for the service in the community, the center of Indian Cultural Education celebrated this milestone of 25 years of its service on April 1, 2017 at Lafayette High school in Wildwood, MO. 

The event was well attended by dignitaries from Federal and State governments, St. Louis Science Center, Interfaith Group, Media organizations and Indian community stalwarts among others. A crowd of over 700 was addressed by United Stated District Judge, Honorable Henry Edward Autrey, Missouri State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal, Vedanta Society Minister Swami Chetananad to name a few. The event was covered by TV Asia and aired as part of their community round-up on April 6 and 7.

Continued increase in enrollment of the Cultural Education in the upcoming school year 2017-2018 signifies the increased involvement of the local community. Thanks to the introduction of hands-on and interesting projects that our educational team and event team are conceptualizing and implementing most effective way. I sincerely appreciate all 70 + volunteering teachers and 30+ administration staff who are professional and taking time to join the schools in its vision and mission.

Many thanks to the Bal Vihar parents for their active role in meeting our vision and mission. Likewise, we appreciate local Indian organizations, businesses, local Universities, political groups and many nonprofit organizations such as Science Center, Arts Museum and more for their collaboration with the cultural school.

  • As a whole, Bal Vihar students and parents spent a significant time in preparing for the 25 years celebration that was held on April 1, 2017.

 

  • On January 17, 2017, International Institute of St. Louis that provides needs to St. Louis refuges recognized Bal Vihar for its significant contribution in donating items for the needy. Bal Vihar donated clothes and other basic items to the institute for the refugees.

 

  • The school celebrated India’s 68th Republic day on January 22, 2017 in presence of 500+ participants that included St. Louis leaders such as Bert Vescolani – CEO of St. Louis Science Center, Beth Rodriguez, CEO and Interfaith consultant who works closely with Bal Vihar to promote the diversity.  The guests included Bal Vihar teachers who were providing services in 1992 when the school was established. The event was held at Ladue Middle school in Ladue, MO.

 

  • Bal Vihar youth joined youth of other faiths (Christian, Jewish, Muslim) through Interfaith Quest - this in itself a big step, and then opened up a dialogue about their religions. Then, they worked together to build a mural made entirely of canned food. “United We Grow “was the theme of this year’s Canstruction project to signify that by working together we can all flourish and live in a better world together.

 

  • This is the fourth year that Center for Indian Cultural Education - Bal Vihar of St. Louis, Interfaith Quest and the St. Louis Science Center have partnered to make this community service project a reality. The structure was on display at the St. Louis Science Center through Friday, March 31, 2017 in the Grow Pavilion. The entire mural made of over 2000 cans sat 8 feet high and 11 feet wide. It was made possible by donations from families of Bal Vihar and local faith institutions. When the structure was disassembled, the cans were donated to Operation Food Search who serves the St. Louis metro area food pantries.

 

  • Organized International Yoga day on June 17, 2017 for the community. Bal Vihar school members were interviewed by the Local FOX 2 channel at their studio for this event.

 

  • Collaboration with the St. Louis Arts Museum to hold India’s Independence Day. The celebration of India’s    Independence Day on August 20, 2017 is open to the community.

 

Our youth children get exposure in contributing in teaching children, in Yoga, Bhajans, supporting the teaching aspects and organizing cultural events and more. They are provided community services hours and volunteer work time for their high school graduation. 

As we enter into the new school year 2017-2018 on August 26, 2017, we are preparing for another exciting program, education and fun filled activities. Our improved curriculum, hands-on practices for our children, and celebrating Festivals have been Hall mark of our program. I sincerely appreciate the hard work that our volunteers carry out by relentless effort in delivering the best they can. Bal Vihar is able to realize its vision and goal through these volunteers, and parents are setting examples of community services for their children. We still need many dedicated volunteers and teachers in particular. Please contact us and set up an example for your children by volunteering.

To accommodate for the future growth Bal Vihar Admin team has elected two new members of Executive Committee. Giri Yanamala, and Srinivas Pandiri. Dr. Ashok Kumar will focus on the Youth program as the no. of youth has significantly increased over the last few year. Thanks to Dr. Kumar Dr. Hamsa Subramanian for their tremendous dedication in making the youth program very interesting to the students. The new Bal Vihar executive committee now consist of Sudhir Brahmbhatt, T. Subramanian, Vishvakant Tripathy, Giri Yanamala and Srini Pandiri.

I know our upcoming school year 2017-2018 will be another challenging due to another record breaking enrollment and large participation of children and adults. Have a wonderful new school year 2017-2018.


Best Regards,
Sudhir Brahmbhatt