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Raising a toast to 'seniors'

Atlanta based Senior Citizenship Program (SCP) is one mutative thrust in the wanting, gaping need for senior recognition, writes Meeta Chaitanya.

india Updated: Jan 09, 2007 10:45 IST

Our seniors- parents, grandparents, and teachers are usually the ones who charter for us a course of life that, in most cases, becomes the better alternative. We look to them for guidance, for support, for wisdom and for unconditional affection- and notably, rarely though, we accord to them the public adulation that is their due.

Atlanta based Senior Citizenship Program (SCP) is one such mutative thrust in this wanting, gaping need for senior recognition. SCP Inc., a non-profit organization spearheaded by a team of like-minded volunteers who believe, as it appears that life really begins at 60.

As usual, the organization celebrated its 10th Anniversary with trademark alacrity and zest at the Palace Restaurant on Sunday, December 3, 2006. Attendance at the event has always been enthusiastic and this annual event witnesses yet again, active participation from all sections of the Indian Diaspora.

The SCP is beloved locally for its zealous contribution to the cause of elders of the community. Its approach is neither patronizing nor perfunctory. To its credit, the operational modalities of conducting such an event are also dealt with sensitively. This is reflected in the organization's mantra of always having its own senior members as emcees, and more significantly, in its active coveting of elders for the actual performances within the variety show.

Reportedly, this year too, the Banquet Hall came alive to the enthralling performances by senior residents who showcased their ample talents and accomplishments in a vivid jamboree comprising poetry, a fashion show, and singing and dancing to Bollywood ditties.

This year's emcees, Mr. Ashok Dave, a retired Indian Air Force officer and Mrs. Kusum Sinha, a renowned poetess front-ended the performances with élan. The sponsors for the 10th anniversary celebrations were Dr Naresh & Dr Asha Parikh, Dr. Sanjay & Bina Patel and Arun & Manju Kothari.     

The organization presented Awards to highly respected seniors Sudarshan Bahri, Mahadev Desai, Giriraj Rao, Ujjagar Singh & Janu Wassan, Kusum Sinha, Vinod & Aruna Patel, Ashok Dave and Mansukhbhai Shroff for their outstanding community service.

Local journalist Mahadev Desai, who, apart from being a writer of great merit is also aligned with worthy organization such as the Gandhi Foundation of USA received this year's award for especial contribution at the SCP's 10th Anniversary function. Desai, apart from being worthy of this distinction is a humble, learned journalist whose enthusiasm for the ink is exemplary and motivational.

With each successive year, SCP Inc, celebrating a decade of expansive penetration into the community and successfully fostering the spirit of inclusiveness and unity among seniors of the Diaspora has blossomed into a formidable local entity. 

Through a sensitive adherence to the value system that manifests as customary social get-togethers, gigs of camaraderie such as health fairs, picnics and other entertainment schedules, (SCP has its own take of Mothers Day, Fathers Day, Valentines Day, Diwali, Christmas, etc.), it has been able to advance and better service towards elders of our community.

Run almost entirely by a group of dedicated volunteers and sincere sponsors; it has only seen renewed vigor and growing visibility in the last few years. Naturally, it has grown from a 20 member team to a burgeoning 400 member chapter. 

SCP Inc.'s initiative bears ample testimony to the innate respect and compassionate deference exhorted by the Indian-American community to their elders.  It reinforces the fact that further removed though they may be from the changing reality of contemporary India; they remain firmly rooted in its towering past, by solemnizing, by celebrating their own past, their elders.