Michigan teens raise money for hospitals in Detroit and
- 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 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 $10,000 online. Money raised was used towards procuring PPEs for
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
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 semifinalist. She is the webmaster
and the chair of the youth committee at glacmichigan.com. She has been a part of
several GLAC’s initiatives and corporate citizenship efforts and plays an active
role in Northville's IASA.
** 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