UTSAV - Celebrating 20 Successful Years

UTSAV - Celebrating 20 Successful Years of Serving Creating Multi-Cultural Global Leaders

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It takes a great deal of courage, zeal and coordination to pull together an event involving performances by over 150 children between 5 and 12 years of age, to be attended by over 600 people requiring over 5000 hours of volunteer hours and nearly equal amount of practices hours over a 4 month period. That’s what Bal Vihar of St. Louis UTSAV team delivered on April 27, 2013 amongst much fanfare attended by local dignitaries and elected public officials.

 What started off as a small project to showcase growth of Bal Vihar of St. Louis in last 20+ years since its inception in 1992, quickly turned into this mega event that one would’ve have dreamt about at the beginning of the year. Right from working through the logistics, putting the program together and delivering on that commitment wasn’t easy.

 On April 27, 2013 the mood was jubilant at Clayton High School. The children were dressed in beautiful costumes and parents and guests didn’t want to be left behind. The view at Utsav was very colorful and vibrant. Soon after everyone was seated, the magic started flowing in.

 The event opened with a welcome address from Dr. Sudhir Brahmbhatt, founder and president of Bal Vihar. This was one of the days he dreamt about when he started the organization in 1992. He spoke about his journey over 20 years sharing highlights that define the organization as it stands today.

 The event was attended by high profile elected officials including Missouri Senator Maria Nadal-Chappelle, St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley, representative from the office of Claire McCaskill, United States Senator from Missouri. Also present were a number of sponsors, well known members of Indian community in St. Louis and Bal Vihar families.

 Utsav started with homage to India and the freedom fighters. That followed by series of programs that walked all the audiences through the beauty of India including its beaches, flowers, monsoon, various festivals, passion for sports. Also at display was a fusion event of Bhajan and Yoga that was much admired. The efforts pulled together by the children and their parent coordinators were at full display. The hard work was evident with the enthusiasm and smile that donned the innocent faces of Bal Vihar students.

 The event was concluded by an act from Bal Vihar Youth Group in collaboration with Gitana Group students. This skit demystified cultural stereotypes and carried the concept of “Same Difference”.  Curtains on Utsav came down with one final song – “Jai Ho” where all participants from Bal Vihar and Gitana were on stage dancing to the tunes. A standing ovation from everyone in audience capped the moment and sealed Utsav’s success in the history books of Bal Vihar.

 Through support from parents, local community and sponsors at large, Bal Vihar is looking forward to finding a permanent home for its school in 2 years. Utsav was one such stop in the fund raising efforts of the organization and left everyone longing for more.

 Center for Indian Cultural Education – a.k.a. Bal Vihar of St. Louis, a non-profit organization, since its inception in 1992 has been serving the Metro St. Louis Indian community. The primary focus of this organization is to provide Indian cultural education to students age 5-18, its application and integration with the global multicultural and multifaceted society. Over last 20+ 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. Students are also taught discipline, tolerance 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."