15-Year Anniversary Celebrations of Senior Citizen Program
Photo: Hon. Ajit Kumar lighting the diya as Raj Razdan and Greg Pridgeon look on.
(Photos: Vinod Karia)
The Senior Citizen Program (SCP) recently celebrated its 15th anniversary, having evolved from a 20-member organization of elders into one with more than 500 active members.
SCP started in 1996, the year of the Atlanta Olympics. “Today, we are celebrating our 15th Anniversary, averaging approximately an event per month for these past 15 years—that’s over 150 events, ” said Raj Razdan, Founding- Executive Director of SCP.
“In the years past, we have seen many different lifestyles of senior citizens, both positive and negative. ... [M]onthly SCP programs help make the lives of elderly people both pleasant and fulfilling,” said one of the lifetime sponsors, Surinder Malhotra.
Over 300 seniors gathered at the Comfort Inn Banquet Hall, with dignitaries, sponsors Suren & Leena Shah, Jeewan & Arvan Singhal, Dr. Brajinder & Shashi Singh, and many community leaders.
15th Anniversary cake-cutting ceremony.
Celebrations began with the cutting of the cake by beloved mother-figures and role models Lilyben Desai, Shanti Nanda, and Sushila Gupta, followed by entertainment. Raneez Collection presented a Fashion Show with seniors along with their granddaughters as models. Live music was coordinated by Sanjay Thakkar and Navin Tyagi.
Emcee Ujjagar Singh Wassan paid tribute to SCP volunteers with a poem:
......Mohabbat aur mushaqat se ghounsle banaye Raj ne.
......Inhin ghounslon ke senior parinde hain hum......
Banane ke liye senior khudai rishte ko.....
Naam kiya dein unke sajde ko, Lafz nahin hamare paas yeh kehne ko......
[Summary: ‘We seniors are fortunate to be here in this program, where we are tenderly loved and cared for by the selfless service of the SCP team/volunteers. We seniors reciprocate with our blessings to you all.’]
Photo: The fashion show.
Other prominent senior members of the SCP also paid similar heartfelt tributes. Ashok Dave, a retired Indian Air Force officer with a great sense of humor, was serious for a change, commenting, “Just as you all are looking after the elders, may your children grow up and take care of you in your sunset years while you enjoy your life to the fullest. Blessings!” Vinod Patel, Sharad Shah, Dr. Samar Mitra, Hiramani Gupta, and Shakuntala Ahuja echoed similar compliments and tributes, with anecdotes from their own life experiences.
Seniors Kusum Sinha, Anjana Das Shah, and Krishna Narula recited poems. Lakshmikant Pandya performed an amusing and riveting mime act, “Gangaram in the Garden.” Kaushi Shah captivated the audience with her solo act of a pagli (mad woman) driven crazy by the rat race of the materialistic world. Asima Gauba, Prachi Patel, and Anjali Nair had the audience clapping and tapping their feet when they danced to a popular all-time hit pop number, “eena meena deeka.” This was followed by a Punjabi giddha (folk dance) led by Chinti Bali and her team (Poonam Datta, Amarjit Kaur, Santosh Shailly, Prem Khanna, Balwinder Kaur, Gurpreet Kaur) of seniors and youth. Atlanta singers Beena Kumar, Rekha Pallath, Amit Dave, Navin Tyagi, and Pankaj Bhargava enthralled the audience with old Bollywood songs.
Guest speaker Greg Pridgeon, former Atlanta Councilman, now Chief of Staff of Rockdale County, noted, “You all, including our mentors, have interacted with each other and changed so many lives.”
“SCP programs help us seniors to be with our friends and family more often, to enjoy lunches, fashions shows, movies, music programs, spiritual discourses, celebrating ..., availing of health fairs, etc., and above all the fraternity. SCP provides a platform to the seniors to share their life experiences and to display their talents in music, dance, poetry, art and hearty laughs,” said one of the popular and active seniors, Mansukhbhai Shroff .
Executive Director Raj Razdan averred, “SCP will continue to host programs to enrich the quality of Senior Citizen’s lives. It will aim at helping seniors play an active and positive role in society, and in facing problems of loneliness and isolation, keeping contact with their offspring and grandchildren, transport, housing, health, communications, social security benefits, etc. It is time for the community to realize that our Senior Citizens are not a burden but assets with vast experience and ocean of love.”
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