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February 11, 2009 > Community celebrates inauguration of senior center at Shreemaya Krishnadham

Community celebrates inauguration of senior center at Shreemaya Krishnadham

Submitted By Ravi Desai

Excitement was in the air as the Bay Area Indian community recently celebrated the inauguration of the Shreemaya Senior Center in Milpitas. The event, organized by Bay Area Youth Vaishnav Parivar (BAYVP), was well attended by city and county council members as well as other dignitaries from the community. With the establishment of the Shreemaya Krishnadham Cultural and Community Center in Milpitas, in the heart of Silicon Valley (which has one of the highest concentrations of Indian Americans), BAYVP set about this effort to serve the large senior Indian American population who have few resources available to fulfill their distinctive needs.

Speakers noted that the Indian American senior population had some unique issues of their own - including certain language, cultural, spiritual, emotional and social needs. Recognizing that many of the Indian seniors still have an active, ambitious and creative life and play such a central role in, even now, supporting their children in their newly adopted homeland, Dr. Divyang Patel, Director of Community Services of BAYVP, announced that the organization had set about to launch a dedicated and focused effort to fulfill the void in services and opportunities for this particular population of the Bay Area Indian community.

Already, BAYVP provides seniors with certain recreational, social and educational services including classes in yoga, computers and music, as well as some flu shots, social interaction including book readings, picnics, and volunteer resources.

The center's leaders have put in place an organized format to provide further services including regular meetings to address individual needs, arranging support groups, counseling for tax, immigration, transportation, legal, family, financial issues, planning for future medical and health wellness camps, structuring a library, coordinating referral services, managing creative and recreational activities, beginning workshops to foster a better understanding between generations as well as workshops to effortlessly enable the assimilation into the American community at large.

At hand for the inauguration and lighting ceremony of the Shreemaya Senior Center were Vice Mayor of Milpitas Mr. Pete McHugh, City of San Jose Councilmember Ash Kalra (the first Indo-American to hold such a position), Santa Clara County Supervisor Narendra Pathak, Retired Attorney, Author and Leading Senior Advocate LLB Mr. Harikrishna Majmundar, Lead Senior Coordinator Urmilaben Patel and her team leads Mr. Navin Shah, Mrs. Damyantiben Mehta and Mr. Pravinbhai Desai. Joining them in the occasion were BAYVP President and Director Mr. Jogen Shah.

In his address to the packed audience Vice Mayor of Milpitas, Pete McHugh, one of the keynote speakers and guests, noted the commendable efforts of BAYVP in such short duration and complimented the organization's new initiative to further expand the services dedicated to assisting the senior population. He presented BAYVP President Mr. Jogen Shah a "Certificate of Commendation" from the City of Milpitas recognizing BAYVP's vast community services. Earlier he had charmed the audience with an authentic and animated Indian greeting of "Namaste and Jai Sri Krishna!" Mr. McHugh pledged the support of the City of Milpitas in providing assistance to the senior center.

Pledge of support for the Senior Center also came from newly elected City of San Jose Councilmember Mr. Ash Kalra, the other keynote speaker. He paid tribute to his own grandparents who moved from East Africa and the sacrifices they made to provide the best for his own parents and himself and noted what an important role they had played in giving him his values - thus his own motivation and drive to public service. He remarked that he was present to acknowledge the excitement of the Indian American community at his election as the first Indian American to sit on the city council of San Jose but in this role he represented all the diverse residents of San Jose. He complimented BAYVP's vision as well as recognition of vital roles Indian American seniors continue to play in their children's and grandchildren's lives. Support was also pledged by Mr. Narendra Pathak from the County of Santa Clara who was instrumental in bringing the elected officials to the event.

Mr. Jogen Shah, on behalf of BAYVP, thanked the guests and keynote speakers as well as the leader coordinator and team leads. He noted this center is an attempt to bridge Indian American seniors inter-generationally as well as into the community. His remarks were followed by congratulatory remarks and advice from Seniors' Advocate Mr. HariKrishna Majmundar and a perspective of Indian seniors and their changing roles in history from Mr. Pravinbhai Desai.

In her address as the main coordinator of the Senior Center, Urmilaben Patel summarized the desires of the seniors from their meeting that had occurred earlier in the day. She thanked BAYVP for supporting this endeavor and asked seniors as well to support the organizations goals. It was announced that the Senior Center meetings were scheduled to occur each Sunday at 12:30 p.m. at 25 Corning Avenue in Milpitas. All seniors, over the age of 55, were welcome and volunteers to assist in the program were also welcome. Seniors are requested to come to the meetings to find out more details of the program including ongoing classes, referral resources, volunteer opportunities, and more. More information on BAYVP activities can be found at www.bayvp.org.

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