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Indian American Kerala Cultural and Civic Center
This is the internet version of the Kerala Center News letter. Vol.8 , 2002
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Activities @ Kerala Center

Kerala Women in Traditional Dress Lighting the Lamp
at the Kerala Center's Independence Day and Onam Celebrations

Kerala Center Honors Nassau County District Court Judge John Marks.
From L. to R.: Kerala Center President E.M. Stephen,
Archana Philip ( Master of Ceremony ), NIAASC President Rajeshwar Prasad,
Attorney Alpa Sanghvi, Judge Messala, Patricia Marks, Judge John Marks,
Kerala Center Joint Secretary Raju Thomas and FOKANA President George Koshy.
The Indian American Kerala Cultural and Civic Center in Elmont, LIsland celebrated Indian Independence Day and Onam with speeches by dignitaries, dance, music and an Onam feast. The program started with lighting of the lamp followed by American and Indian National Anthems sung by Kerala Center's Malayalam School. The more than three hour long program began with the lighting of the traditional lamp by women dressed in Kerala's traditional dress. Cinematic, classical, and folk dances were performed by students of Kerala Center's Dance School. Among those who delighted the audience with their brilliant performances included Tanya Mattom, Christy Thottam, Ashley Mattom, and other students of Malayalam School. Songs by Litto Joseph, Annie Esthappan, and Sajin John brought out the best in these young and talented artists. In his welcome address, Raju Thomas, Chairman of the Celebration Committee, briefly gave an overview of the Center's activities. Archana Philip, the master of ceremony, told the audience of the importance of celebrating India's 55th Independence Day and Onam. The best of the speeches were by two high school students, Nisha Thayil and Elizabeth Vazhapallil, who delivered the keynote addresses. Nisha Thayil, in her eloquent speech said, "We are Indians first and then, belong to our ethnic subgroups based on religion, language etc." She underscored the need for "respect to all religions and to every individual, irrespective of one's background." Thayil spoke of the need to defeat the forces of communalism and to build a united India and called upon every Indian to make India a strong and vibrant democracy, contributing to the growth of all its people. Elizabeth Vazhapallil, another young student, in her keynote address, gave an outline of what Kerala Center does and urged everyone to support its many programs and activities aimed at helping the Indian community to grow as a vibrant community that is able to contribute to the society's well-being. She also stated that the actual reason of the Independence day celebration is to acknowledge and honor the hard work, dedication and sacrifice made by many Indian leaders for the freedom. Other speakers included Councilman Anthony J. Santino of the Town of Hempstead, Abey Kuriakose, a visiting Congress Party leader from Kerala, and FOKANA President George Koshy. Abey Kuriakose, in his address said, "I was so impressed by the NRIs across the US and I am proud of the ways they work hard and contribute to the growth of their adopted country." He said, he appreciated them for "carrying on and spreading the culture of Kerala wherever they went." He appealed to them to contribute towards research and education back home in Kerala. Rajeshwar Prasad, President National Indian American Asscociation for Senior Citizens (NIAAC) spoke on social security benefits available as one reaches to the retirment age. "Social Security is more than a Retirement Program," said Rajeshwar Prasad. "It provides you and your family with an insurance package of Disability, Retirement and Survivor Protection." NIAAC has been functioning at the Kerala Center for the last four years. Dr. Thomas Abraham, President of GOPIO, in his brief address, spoke about what Kerala Center stands for. He said, the Kerala Center has expanded its activities to serve the whole Indian community, and highlighted the services for senior citizens, counseling services, Malayalam language classes, and tuition in Maths, Computer and SAT. Various seminars are conducted ranging from political to investment in addition to many Civic and Cultural activities taking place on a regular basis at the Kerala Center. The Center has also been providing platform for various political leaders to have political awareness and campaign meeting with the Indian community. Not leaving out the important religious factor, the Center has become a forum for various religious activities and celebration for the members of the center who represent Hindu, Muslim and different denominations of Christianity. The common celebrations organized by Kerala Center is "a way of cherishing the rich Indian cultural heritage and calling upon the young and the old Indian Americans to remember with gratitude their motherland, and fulfill their responsibilities towards India," said Thomas Abraham, Chairman of the Kerala Center's Board of Directors. As in previous years, the Kerala Center honored a local Nassau County political leader for service to the community. This year's award went to Nassau County District Criminal Court Judge John Marks. Judge Marks praised the Indian community for their contribution to Nassau County and New York State. The award was presented by Kerala Center President E.M. Stephen. Under the leadership of E. M. Stephen, the Indian American Kerala Cultural and Civic Center was formed as a non-profit organization in 1990. With three years of fund raising campaign, The Kerala Center was inaugurated in 1993 by Padmashri Yesudas and is the only Civic and Community Center in U.S. for Indian American Malayalees. Over the years, The Kerala Center has become a focal point to coordinate activities and services to the Indian American community in the New York region, not only for Malayalees but for the entire Indian community. In the words of EM Stephen, President of the Kerala Center, is "to achieve a proper balance between our country and heritage. We must not forget our heritage and our responsibilities toward our country," he added.

========More Photos========

First column: Songs by Sajin John, Litto Joseph and Annie Esthappan Second Column: Speeches by Nisha Thayil and Eizabeth Vazhapallil Third Column: Single Dances Ashley Mattom and Tanya Mattom

Singing National Anthems by Malayalam School Children Group Dance by Christ Thottom and Party of Kerala Center Dance School Audience participate in singing Naitonal Anthems

========Activities at Kerala center========

ECTI & J. J. Entertainments
Organizing Different Activities
at Kerala Center

Math Tuition: Abraham Thomas ( Monday - Friday: 4.00 PM - 9.00 PM , Saturday: 8.00 AM - 5.00 PM )
Math Tution classes for Junior High School, High school and College level Students
Preparation Classes for PSAT, SAT and GMAT Examinations.

Computer Classes: Elmont Computer Training Institite ( Monay - Saturday: 8.00 AM - 9.00 PM )
Computer Fundamentals, MS Office, Internet Access and Use,
Database design and Applications, Programming Languages, Website design and Developments.

Dance class: Mrs. Beena Menon ( Every Tuesday 6.00 PM - 8.00 PM )
Indian Classical dance, Folk dance and Western dance.

Malayalam Class: Abraham Thomas, Chrismol Alex and Christy James ( Every Friday 7.00 PM - 9.00 PM )
Malayalam Reading, Malayalam Song, Kerala Cultural Activities
and Talent Improving Practices and Competitions.

Instumental Music Class ( Keyboard ): Madhu ( Every Saturday 10 AM - 1.PM )