Bringing Joy to Orphans and Seniors

Fun and Joy for All Ages Nagendra K.S. of Mumbai recently took a personal training and development course from a company called Landmark Education. The course, called the Self-Expression and Leadership Program, focuses on creating a project that makes a difference in some community in the participant's life. During the program, Nagendra saw that he had a vision to bring happiness, innovation and leadership to his community.

The community he specifically wanted to impact was that of both children and senior citizens. Both groups deal with unique challenges, often without the support of each other. The project Nagendra created is called "Ullasa", which means joy in English.

His intention was to bring young people and older people together in a way in which they get to celebrate life and provide something valuable to each other. Older people have a huge amount to contribute to children?Their experiences, their stories, their wisdom, their love and affection. Older people also benefit from the youthful enthusiasm of children. Ullasa was designed to bring joy and belonging to both these communities. To make this happen, Nagendra partnered with an orphanage, Anatha Shishu Nivas at Basavanagudi in Bangalore, and an old age home, Asha Jeevan at Hili Mavu in Bangalore. Nagendra and his friends arranged for vans to take the children to the old age home for the celebration day, which took place on May 11.

The kids arrived at about 2:30 PM, and were greated with enthusiasm by the old people and adults waiting there. A wide range of activities were arranged for everyone to be involved with. At the beginning there were a number of songs song by youths and senior citizens alike, joyful devotional songs.

Then the adults told stories of their experiences for some time. Later in the day there was an opportunity for drawing. The youths and seniors both had the opportunity to draw pictures, with the youths getting to keep the pictures that the seniors drew for them.

Perhaps the most exciting part of the day came with the balloons. Everyone present worked to blow up the hundreds of assorted balloons that were brought there. Then, kids and old folks alike all popped their balloons at once in a spontaneous celebration. There were other benefits to the event as well. Nagendra's friends brought a number of books to donate to the kids, which were accepted there by the orphanage manager.

There was also a variety of tasty food served, including cakes and drinks. By the time it reached 6:45, the time to leave, everyone present was so happy about the event that they were eager to do it again. Nanendra and his friends drove the kids back to the orphanage, but they along with everyone involved were determined to repeat and grow the project. Nagendra is now in conversation with 15 orphanages and 15 old age homes to bring Ullasa to other areas. The press also acknowledged the Ullasa project. The local daily newspaper Vijay Karnataka ran a story on May 24 acknowledging the impact of the event in creating fun and joy for everyone involved.

Tony is author of this article on Landmark Forum. Find more information about Landmark Forum here.

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