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Michigan teens raise money for hospitals in Detroit and Chennai

- by Varsha Ganapathy


As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect all aspects of life around the world, two high school teens from Michigan wanted to do their part to help out the hospitals serving their local community in Michigan and in their native land of India. Their efforts were supported by the Great Lakes Aradhana Committee (GLAC), a non-profit organization committed to preserving and promoting Indian classical arts in the Great Lakes region. GLAC immediately pivoted away from existing fundraising strategies and shifted to a virtual platform.

A unique fusion of Western and Carnatic music, called ‘Sangam’ was planned, with all the online proceeds going towards PPEs for helping the first responders and hospitals in both Detroit and Chennai, cities which have been greatly impacted during this global pandemic.

Sahith Shankar, a senior at West Bloomfield High School, played the Carnatic violin, and Tejas Shivaraman, a senior at Cranbrook High School, played the Western piano. Both high school teens have previously performed and won prizes in several music festivals around the country. Vinod Seetharaman, a leading percussion artist in North America, played mridangam for the concert. The event was coordinated by Varsha Ganapathy.

The event drew a large and diverse audience and was broadcasted around the world through YouTube and PaalamTV, through a partnership with mudhra.org, and raised around $14,000 online. Money raised was used towards procuring PPEs for Beaumont Hospitals in Detroit and for Sri Sankara Eye Hospitals (SEH) in Chennai.**

It was wonderful to be part of a project which could help hospitals in our extended communities”, said Tejas Shivaraman, who also holds a music scholarship for his high school studies.

GLAC has a rich history of stepping up and giving back to the community during times of need. Sangam is a win-win helping both Detroit and Chennai, our sister cities connected by the arts & automobile. Special thanks to everyone who donated and to Shiv Shivaraman and Jay Shankar Balan, the pillars who made this a reality!”, said Sriram Ganapathy, President of GLAC.


COVID Fundraiser Concert Flyer

The team with Ryan Daly, VP Beaumont Hospitals in Southfield, MI

Sankara Eye Hospital, Chennai


About GLAC’s Corporate Citizenship efforts:
GLAC is the largest arts organization of its kind in Michigan and is supported by the Michigan Arts Council and Detroit Recreation Department.

2020 marks the 35th year anniversary of the organization, 30th year of its annual Navarathri festival, and the 10th year of the SAROVAR festival. GLAC partners its programming with Oakland University, Washtenaw Community College, The Carr Center, and the Arab American National Museum in an effort to build bridges that span racial, cultural and ethnic divisions amongst the communities as well as embracing all cultural art forms.

Two of GLAC’s festivals are community fundraisers. GLAC recently had the Summer Music Festival 'Paarambaryam' with money going directly to musicians suffering from the COVID shut down. More than 600 artistes have now been aided since the pandemic began. In the past, GLAC supported the cities of Chennai & Flint during the Chennai floods, Flint cleanup efforts and in collecting samples for the Susan B Komen Tissue Bank in Detroit.

About Varsha Ganapathy: Varsha is a high school senior at Northville Public Schools and a National Merit Scholar Finalist & Michigan HOSA Finalist. She is the chair of the youth committee at glacmichigan.com and also in the volunteer committee and the webmaster. She has been a part of several GLAC’s initiatives and corporate citizenship efforts like the #Detroit4Flint and a co-chair at Northville's Indian American Student Association.

** SEH Pammal was established an eye care facility in 1994 and became an exclusive eye hospital in 1997. It is now a Tertiary Eye Care Centre as well as an Academic & Research Centre. SEH Pammal has so far screened 19,32,000 persons and performed 2,77,187 surgeries of which 2,22,180 (80%) were free



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