Teen promotes the benefits of a healthy lifestyle to Asian Indian community
BY: Sneha Divan
The Asian Indian population is generally predisposed to illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity due to sedentary lifestyles. I wanted to do something about this and, with my mother’s help, proposed the idea of a 5K walk to the committee members of Maharashtra Mandal of Atlanta (MMA), an Indian organization that conducts cultural and religious activities. Everyone unanimously agreed with the idea and encouraged me to aid in planning. I hadn’t estimated the effort required to put together an event but was certain that, if successful, it wouldn’t be just a personal accomplishment, but a boost for the entire community!
I pitched an elementary outline of my thoughts to Dr. Atul Laddu, a veteran MMA member who harbored the dream of organizing a Health Seminar to raise awareness amongst the local community. It seemed natural that both ideas be conjoined, making a dream become a reality.
We set three main objectives: to promote the benefits of an active lifestyle, to increase awareness of preventive techniques to lead a healthier lifestyle, and to raise funds for MMA. Additionally, I hoped to achieve two smaller, priceless goals: to introduce our culture and community to others and to bring together many people for a day in nature that could be enjoyed regardless of age, gender, or ethnicity.
Only in eighth grade at the time, I needed sincere effort and generous help to pull it off; everyone was supportive and open-minded.
Before all else, we decided to set a date and a location. After visiting many different trails, we finalized Settles Bridge Park in Suwanee, GA, which offered trails of various lengths and difficulties, a pavilion to conduct the Health Seminar, parking, and other amenities.
Community outreach attracted the attention of sponsors and participants. I personally had the opportunity to talk to many individuals and organizations and to share my dream. Everyone worked together to make this pioneer endeavor happen, and that is where the magic is. I was extremely thrilled with the experiences I gained through this process.
On June 16, which was also Father’s Day and the morning that would bring together all of our hard work, we reached the park early to set-up. I was quite nervous, but everything was overshadowed by excitement. At last, it was time to commence the 2013 MMA Walk and Health Seminar.
The turnout was greater than I had imagined with more than 150 people attending the event. It was the best 14th birthday present I could have received!
Several topics under the theme, “How can you prevent major crises in your life by simple steps of early diagnosis?” were planned for prominent local doctors to speak at the seminar. Topics covered included the following: Early Detection of Prostate Cancer; Case History: Life After Prostate Cancer; Hypertension, Diabetes, and Preventive Immunization; Challenges in Gastrointestinal System; Health and Stress.
At the end of the seminar, a small raffle was held, and I had the honor of concluding the event. People approached me to share their thoughts about the event and to congratulate me. I am proud that all the objectives were achieved. All around me, I was a witness to an event, a cracked little seed, with no hope of survival, blooming, blossoming, into a flower with magnificent colors, orange, green, and white! ■