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Deepavali Celebrated by Bal Vihar of St. Louis

Bal Vihar youth actively participate in multi-cultural and multi-ethnic activity to understand other culture and religions

Children performing puja

ST. LOUIS, M,O- .Bal Vihar of St. Louis has been a promoter of peace and harmony for over 26 years. Bal Vihar youth actively participate in multi-cultural and multi-ethnic activity to understand other culture and religions while promoting theirs. Recently one of the youth groups participated in an inter-faith Pen-Pal project by exchanging videos and messages with a Jewish Community High School on the west coast. As is the case for many years, Bal Vihar students did a Diya project ahead of Diwali that raised funds for charitable institutes. Every year this has become a ritual that inculcates the habit of giving and being generous towards those who are less fortunate than us.
Diwali is always an exciting time for Bal Vihar students and parents alike. It is one of the most anticipated and excited events for us. With an increase in number of students registered this year, it was no easy feat to accomplish. The volunteers spent countless hours to get ready for the event. With 700+ expected attendees, it meant having a plan that is orchestrated and executed to perfection.

Bal Vihar celebrated its Diwali on November 3rd at its new facility – Hindu Temple Community Center. Students were dressed in traditional attire and proceed to the temple to perform the puja. They all proudly carried the Diyas made by them. While the students were performing puja, volunteers were managing the food and firecrackers distribution to the parents. Through great communication and collaboration, the volunteer unit performed like a well-oiled machine.
After the puja, the students united with their parents and eagerly took off the load of fireworks from them. They rushed outside to one of the most exciting activity for the day. The volunteers had cordoned part of parking area to provide a safe place for children to light fireworks. One had to be there to experience and smile and thrill that was present in the atmosphere. Volunteers had also put up some display fireworks for all to see and enjoy. After they finished their fireworks, families left to enjoy the boxed dinner in the comfort of their home.

Soon after the fireworks were over, designated volunteers gathered their brooms and pans to start cleaning up the place. It was quite a task to clean up an area that was no less than 3000 square feet. Within an hour, the parking lot was cleaned up. Splendid teamwork and leadership was at display at the event.

Center for Indian Cultural Education – a.k.a. Bal Vihar of St. Louis is a non-profit organization. Since its inception in 1992 it has been serving the Metro St. Louis Indian community. The primary focus of this organization is to provide Indian cultural education to students age 5-18, its application and integration with the global multicultural and multifaceted society. Over last 20+ years Bal Vihar has helped groom a breed of multi-cultural global leaders of next generation that have been shaped by the best of the cultures from east and west. These youngsters understand the need and value of the cultural values that have been instilled in them through the rigorous program. Students are also taught discipline, tolerance and devotion in their daily routine. The ultimate goal is “to throw the light of cultural knowledge on every child, to make every child an outstanding citizen and to spread the song of peace and harmony around the world.”

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