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December 11, 2012 > Cheeni For Tots makes "Diwali fun for kids"

Cheeni For Tots makes "Diwali fun for kids"

Submitted By Rakhi Sharma
Photos By Dr. Vishal Sharma

"You did a really good job! It was a boost of confidence for the kids, the type of boost that cannot be bought," gushed Rina Mal, a mother who attended the Cheeni For Tots "Diwali Fun for Kids" event with her two children on November 17. The event, co-sponsored by the Alameda County Library, was an unequivocal success based on the reactions of "wonderful, definitely awesome and a big thumbs-up," heard from parents after the event. In fact, anticipation had been building for over two weeks, ever since the first posters showed up at the Fremont Library.

Cheeni For Tots, with its online and interactive language and culture immersion programs, builds a strong foundation for kids while enabling parents and kids to spend quality fun time together.

The library event kicked-off with Rakhi Sharma, Co-Founder of Cheeni For Tots, welcoming the over 110+ attendees - parents, kids, siblings, grandparents, uncles and aunts - everyone filled with anticipation and excitement. Sharma announced the launch of Cheeni For Tots' brand new website, and the fact that its engaging content had been accessed from more than 170 nations in just 2012 alone!

The kids learned of the significance of Diwali - the Festival of Lights, through the story of the Ramayana (an ancient Indian epic), narrated by Sharma while over 50 eager kids hung onto her every word. As the story proceeded, the kids were involved and chiming in every step of the way. They quickly learned and recited the poem "Aayi Diwali!" (Diwali is Here!).

The highlight of the evening was the Talent Show, which kicked-off with a melodious incantation to Lord Ganesha by none other than Cards-by-Tots' designer-in-chief, 10-year old Urvi Sharma. With a focus on creativity, entrepreneurship, and awareness in kids, it was only apt that they sponsor the Art Contest. As Urvi explained, Cards-by-Tots is her attempt to share her creativity with the world, while raising awareness (both her own and her audience's) about issues affecting us all, such as health, conservation, wildlife, and the environment.

The Talent Show included over 33 performances from kids ages 4 to 10. There was singing, dancing, and playing of musical instruments, and reciting of shlokas (verses), poems (some even self-composed by the budding poet laureates), ditties, and short speeches. With devoted parents eagerly snapping photographs and shooting video clips with smartphones, it was a sight to behold. Everyone was thrilled to see two sets of sisters make the house swing to contemporary Bollywood tunes. From the international sensation Kolaveri-D to the foot-tapping hit "Aunty-ji," these talented little performers had the house clapping in unison to the beats. The performances came in multiple languages, English, Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu, to name but a few.

The other highlight of the evening was the prizes for coming bedecked in festive attire. One could see the little ones - boys and girls - dressed in their very best and proud parents pleased with their handiwork. Boys in shiny silk kurtas (long shirts) and stylish "churidars," (tight-fitting trousers), and little girls dressed in colorful saris (traditional Indian women's attire), bangles, and beautiful ornaments. It was colorful, bright, and cheerful! The award for the "Best Festive Dressed" went to a five-year old, who stole hearts by holding her own in a sari for the better part of the evening.

The event concluded with certificates awarded by two very special guests - Shambhu Rao, Chief Evangelist of Indian-American.org, and the Silicon-Valley-based US Editor/Bureau Chief of the Indian Express, and Karen Pacheco, Fremont Library's Children's Services Supervisor who is a big supporter of Cheeni-for-Tots' community efforts and helped make the event happen. A bunch of excited kids crowded around Rao and Pacheco, eager to grab their certificates. Of course, there were the obligatory photographs at the end, with dads, cameras in hand, clicking away as an enthusiastic crowd of kids, moms, organizers and the special guests lined up to say "cheese"!

The sentiments of Nilam Singh, a mother of two, summed it all up, "We liked it a lot; my daughter especially enjoyed the Diwali story. Actually, I was regretting not enrolling her for the contest!" Well, for that there's always "New Year Fun for Kids!"

For more information about "Cheeni for Tots" visit www.cheenifortots.com.

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