President’s Message

                                                                                                                             June 20, 2019       

                                               President’s message:

 

Center for Indian Cultural Education, Bal Vihar of St. Louis, a nonprofit, 501(c) 3 organization was founded 27 years ago to instill and foster East Indian Cultural in the children of ages 5 through 18. Bal Vihar has been providing this service to the St. Louis community since August 1992 and has been growing in number of students ever since then. This independent organization has been active in diversity program where Bal Vihar youth children hold activities at St. Louis Science Center, St. Louis arts Museum and more projects where children of different faiths such as Christians, Muslims, Jews and other faiths work together in projects such as can-structure through the St. Louis based Interfaith organization. Our children also carry out activities in Churches, Mosques and Synagogue to appreciate diversity and learn other faiths. It was great to see that in 2018-2019 school year our children performed in The St. Louis Bach Festival 2019. The Bach Society is one of the leading Music entities serving St. Louis since 1941.

Our 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."

After long wait and developing long term relationship with the Hindu Temple of St. Louis, Center for Indian Cultural Education will now start holding its classes at the Hindu Temple Cultural Center (HTCC) starting August 2019 for the school year 2019-2020. Being close to the Hindu temple, this exposure will allow the students

Appreciate the value of our temples and significance of our temples, a worship place.

 

Enrollment of 325 + students for the Cultural Education in the school year 2019-2020 indicates that there are more children related activities are taking place in the local community. Increased volunteering work for our youth, hands-on and interesting projects that our educational team and event team were conceptualizing and implementing most effective way in our school curriculum. I sincerely appreciate all 50+ volunteering teachers and 30+ administration staff who are professional and taking time to join the schools in its vision and mission. In this voluntary services Bal Vihar volunteers are spending more than 6000 hours per school year. Bal Vihar Executive committee sincerely appreciates their hard work for our future generation.

 

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, Children hospital, Interfaith Organization, the Bach Society and more for their collaboration with the cultural school.

 

During the 2018-2019 school year, Bal Vihar celebrated the following events:

➤On May 18, 2018 Bal Vihar of St. Louis participated in the Premier Charter School (PCS) annual multicultural
   fair to expose 4th to 8th graders to the diversity on Friday, May 18, 2018 from 11 AM till 3 pm. The multicultural
   fair in the spring is a day for celebrating the variety of cultures and backgrounds that make our PCS
   community so enriching. It was very well attended as more than 400 children and adults and they actively
   participated in a variety of activities that Bal Vihar of St. Louis offered to the students with the diverse
   background.

➤On August 29, 2018 Bal Vihar celebrated India’s 73rdIndependence day and showcased highlight of Indian
   Culture at St. Louis Arts Museum (SLAM) > The event has been publicized as “Passport To India” to the St.
   Louis community. This special event that has been now held for last 4 years and Bal Vihar of St. Louis has been
   an integral part of it. The event started off with flag hoisting and Bal Vihar Student Orchestra playing national
   anthem of United States and India. SLAM was filled with lots of visitors young and matured alike wanting to know
   and experience India’s culture and heritage.

➤On Sept 16, 2018 Bal Vihar youth and parents and Volunteers participated in St. Louis annual interfaith
   commemoration in music at the Sheldon Concert Hall in St. Louis. The event is held every year since the 10th
   anniversary of 9/11. The concert included various groups who sang their cultural and religious songs. Unlike
   other years, this year, each inter-faith group had setup a booth where they showcased how their faith and
   community is helping uplift the spirits and giving back to the wider society. Bal Vihar booth focused on various
   inter-faith activities it has been participating. Our school youths shared information on Hinduism, their religious
   beliefs, and the impact they have had on the community.

➤ On September 29, 2018, Bal Vihar celebrated family night for Bal Vihar families to meet the parents of this their
    children classmates. The event included lot some fun activities for children and our youth students such as face
    painting, tattoos, nail posh and helping them learn how to make a paper airplane. After the social hour and
    entertainment for the children, event included Garba and Dandiya Raas.

➤ On October 17, 2018, Bal Vihar parents and youth participated in the Missouri Day Celebration in the event called
    “Making Missouri: Celebrating our Diversity” at First Missouri State Capitol State Historic Site in St. Charles, MO
     This was well participated by local school districts to expose our Indian culture to the community.

➤ On October 28, 2018, Bal Vihar youth participated in the Can’Struction project with the interfaith community. The
    project was hosted by St. Louis Children’s Hospital and it focused on Embracing Diversity

➤ A grand Diwali celebration was held on November 11, 2018 at the Hindu Temple with children performing Puja
    and celebrated Diwali with fire work.    

➤ On December 2, 2018 our children attended the Poverty Simulation Session where the Interfaith Organization
    leaders exposed Bal Vihar youth of life in poverty in US.    

➤The school celebrated India’s 70th Republic day on January 27, 2018 in presence of 300+ participants in presence
   of the special guests- Linda Lee, Chairman, Board of The Bach Society; Monica Orban, Director of Education Bach
   Society; Merlyn Chambers, Director of STEM program at St. Louis Science Center; Beth Rodriguez, CEO and
   Interfaith consultant St Louis, MO and Leaders of the local Indian community- Dr. Arekapuri, Dr. Reddy, Dr.
   Parikh, Dr. Tailor and Dr. Mehrotra. The Masters of Ceremony was Bal Vihar youth (Group 5) Mr. Pranav
   Vasishta. Dr. Kirti Mehrotra, Principal of Lafayette Highschool.      

➤ A grand festival of Color- Holi was celebrated on April 6, 2019 at the Mahatma Gandhi Center facility with plenty
    of color to use and food for he children.

➤ On March 4, 2018 Bal Vihar youth joined youth of other faiths children (Christian, Jewish, Muslim) through the      
    Interfaith Quest -this in itself a big step, and then opened up a dialogue about their religions. The participants
    worked together to build a mural “Looking Up” made entirely of canned food. The sculpture, named “Looking Up,”
    was created by St. Louis artist Thomas Friedman and represents an individual’s capability to aspire and dream
    beyond our daily life experience and look up and wonder what is beyond.

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, most likely Presidential award certificate for volunteering and volunteer work time for their high school graduation.


As we enter into the new school year 2019-2020 on August 25, 2019, we are preparing for another exciting program, education and fun filled activities. Our improved curriculum, hands-on practices for our children, and celebrating Hindu Festivals and interfaith events 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.

 

I know our upcoming school year 2019-2020 will be another challenging year as we will be getting ready to relocate to New Cultural Center being built by the Hindu temple of St, Louis. MO. But constant support of our parents will make this transition smooth. Have a wonderful new school year 2019-2020.


Best Regards,
Sudhir Brahmbhatt