Aditya & Akanksha Satya serve in Lions Club programs in India
While most children were looking forward to Thanksgiving dinner and the holidays to relax, it was a “thanksgiving” in its truest sense for two siblings from Johns Creek—Aditya Satya, a freshman in college, pursuing a Naval ROTC at Georgia Tech, and Akanksha Satya, a junior at Chattahoochee High School—as they were invited by the Lions Club International to participate in a collage of service activities in India during their Thanksgiving holidays.
They were chosen by Lions Club International based on previous service activities that Aditya and Akanksha were involved in, during their last summer vacation in India, where they had helped a poor school in a village on the outskirts of Bangalore, India, with building student desks, benches, and chairs, and funding school supplies out of their own pocket. They had received appreciation from the Lions Club of Bangalore (host) for this service.
This time around, the Lions Club (International) of Jambusavari asked Aditya and Akanksha to participate in a conglomerate of service activities called Sapthaha (seven events), which included the following.
1. Teen Diabetes Awareness Rally to promote awareness among school students in smaller town and village areas about healthy foods and eating habits, and awareness on causes of diabetes and how to avoid it. Aditya and Akanksha actively participated in the rally going around the streets with placards along with the school children to bring awareness in the village and smaller towns. They also did a powerpoint presentation on diabetes (sourced from the American Diabetes Foundation).
2. Planting Tree Saplings to promote Greenery and reduce pollution. Aditya and Akanksha along with several school kids planted tree saplings in various locations within the city of Bangalore, and brought awareness through placards , conducting a rally through the streets and educating the locals on the importance of planting trees that would help with conserving water, bringing more rain to the areas, preserving soil, reducing pollution, and supporting wildlife. The city of Bangalore is at high risk of running out of groundwater in the next few years, and this activity was a small step to enable and empower people to take action in their own hands before it is too late.
3. Co-hosted a sports meet for disabled children at Samarthanam (samarthanam.org), an organization that empowers visually impaired, disabled, and underprivileged people through developmental initiatives focusing on educational, social, economic, cultural, and technological aspects. This was a very humbling and rewarding experience for Aditya and Akanksha, to help kids with various disabilities and physical challenges participate in sports activities. The sports activities were unique based on each individual’s disability, so every child in that organization could participate. Prizes and certificates for all participants were presented/sponsored by Aditya and Akanksha (from the money they earned part-time with tutoring kids and marching band).
4. Volunteered at Karunashraya Bangalore Hospice Trust), which gives free hospice and palliative care for terminal cancer patients (karunashraya.org). Aditya and Akanksha distributed fruits and organic cookies to the patients. They also worked in the kitchen to prepare meals for the patients. They sponsored and coordinated a musical night/karaoke for the patients, where a professional musical group sang local and popular songs. To see the smiles on the faces of these patients as they sat in the rotunda and listened to the music was truly a gratifying experience for Aditya and Akanksha.
5. Food drive for the needy and elderly at an old age home. Aditya and Akanksha volunteered at an old age home for the poor and needy in Bangalore, providing them with food supplies, such as rice and lentels. Many of these elderly people have been abandoned by their loved ones. This old age home provides them with shelter, food, and care and is funded through public donations.
6. Food drive for children at a children’s orphanage run by Suraksha Charitable Trust. Aditya and Akanksha volunteered in providing food supplies to an children’s orphanage , and also worked in the kitchen to prepare meals for the children for the day. This orphanage houses children that are abandoned at birth, and others that are found begging for food on the streets of Bangalore.
7. Free mega medical camp for residents of a local slum area in Bangalore. This was a massive undertaking by several Lions Clubs, and local doctors volunteered their time; Aditya and Akanksha volunteered to work with the local residents of the slum area to get their health checked, including dental and eye, and provide them with medicine and eye glasses.
The above seven service activities were all conducted back to back during the Thanksgiving break by the Lions Club International in India. The Lions Club International District Governor Dr. Nagaraj Baitry later felicitated both Akanksha and Aditya with a plaque and certificate of appreciation for their humanitarian work and service mindedness.
[The article above is a Website Bonus Feature, appearing only on the website for January 2020, not in the print/digital issues.]
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