Chicago IL: A new and unique organization, specializing in senior and elderly social care, the Dev Darshan Senior Care Center, hosted its Inauguration ceremony on March Saturday 25th 2023 at venue Manav Seva Mandir, Bensenville, IL.
Speaking passionately about Dev Darshan Senior Center, Founder President Hema Shastri said, “This is no less than a dream come true…a Dream that her late Father-in-law had dreamt in 2006.” Delighted, she introduced the Executive committee: Founder President: Hema Shastri, Vice President: Gira Ethindra, Treasurer: Devesh Shastri, Members: Abhi Trivedi, Alka Sharma, Deepa Sawant, Jignaben Thakkar, Kashyap Desai, Meena Sawant, Neelam Desai, Nikhil Shah, Veena Mayani, Veerindrajeet Sangha, Vinita Gulabani, Vishnu Mahadeshwar; Advisory Group: Ajeet Singh, Ajit Pant, Dr. Ashok Shah, Dr. Bharat Barai, Dr. Kamlesh Amin, Dr. Rasik Shah, Dr. Vijay Prabhakar, Jasbir Suga, Mukesh Shah, Vandana Jhingan; Volunteer committee: Mika Shastri, Lakshman Swamy, Jyoti Shirahatti, Anica Dubey, Pushpa Surati, Chris Olesch, Carmen Olesch, Amit Desai, Nita Patel, Miteshbhai.
This was indeed a special evening, when the entire Dev Darshan team geared to host its first event ever, the Inaugural ceremony. The Manav Seva Mandir auditorium was jam packed with an audience of around 400. The social hour during dinner and meet & greet had a beautiful Flute performance by Raju Bankapur, a very talented artist. Master of the Ceremony, Richa Chand in her Opening Speech welcomed the guests and presented Dev Darshan Mission Statement, “The purpose of DDSC (Dev Darshan Senior Center) is to uplift senior citizens’ lives by providing a variety of programs such as yoga exercises, birthday celebrations, musical events, picnics, educational and notable speakers and much more. A place where all senior members from different ethnic groups can come together, make friends, enjoy, have a good time and truly be themselves. Where friends can become family.”
To honor the inspiration behind the Dev Darshan Senior Center, a beautiful commemoration ceremony was conducted for PARAMPUJYA Late Dr C.L Shastri by the Shastri family led by Hema Shastri, Devesh Shastri, Mika Shastri, and Darshan Thomas along with the other members of the Shastri family. Guruji Nilkanth Shukla Batukbhai and Anu Malhotra, a certified yoga teacher and president of Mindful Meditation yoga, chanted mantras for peace and prosperity for all, followed by the DEEP LIGHTING CEREMONY and for which the Dev Darshan Advisory Committee Members were invited to join the Shastri family – Hema and Devesh Shastri, Dr Rasik Shah, Dr Bharat Barai, Mrs Panna Barai, Ajeet Singh, Dr Ajit Pant, Dr Kamlesh Amin.
Dr. C L Shastriji, a very well-respected priest and a well-known personality of Chicago, was born in 1927. He started learning Sanskrit from the tender age of 4 yrs old, making him very fluent in our ancient language of Sanskrit. Shastriji always promoted Manav Seva Mandir’s expansion & educated all worshippers of our Vedic heritage. He served as the main priest at Manav Seva Mandir up till 2008. In 2008, he also established Jalaram Temple where he served as the Acharya and trustee until his demise in 2017.
Soon it was time for the beautiful renditions of the American anthem by Sanika Sahu escorted by Darshan Shastri and the Indian anthem by Bharti Desai and Hema Shastri. The Guest of Honor and Keynote Speaker, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi congratulated Hema Shastri and Team Dev Darshan for the new beginnings and stressed upon that one of the most important peoples in our lives are our parents and this senior center will definitely make a difference in their social health and well-being.
Welcoming Hema for her Inaugural speech, Mika Shastri spoke highly of her mother, who has been working diligently for the community for the past 25 years and in her heartfelt note, expressed her pride and happiness for all her wonderful achievements over the years! Hema’s enthusiasm and exhilaration were both very evident too. The Founder President Hema Shastri thanked her Team DDSC and said, “Without you all tonight would not be possible.” She continued, “It truly has been my dream and my vision to operate a Multiethnic Senior Center where all Senior members can come together, make friends, exercise & educate themselves while exchanging our knowledge and life experiences. We will enjoy different activities while being a multiethnic Senior group where everyone is welcomed and just be ourselves. A peaceful place where we can bring our family and friends to join us at any events and functions to participate and encourage all Senior men & women. A place where there is no room for hate or jealousy or any politics because we are too old for that BUT we are young at heart forever for good times only.” Hema recognized Mrs. Sadaska, the first senior to join DDSC with a bouquet of flowers.
In recognition of the valuable support provided to the Senior Center, the recipients were invited to receive the DDSC AWARDS, starting with FIA Chairman and Founder President Sunil Shah and wife Rita Shah, IABC President Ajeet Singh and wife Jaspal Kaur, Marketing and Finance Guru Dr Ajit Pant, Dr Rasik Shah, Dr Kamlesh Amin, Dr Bharat Barai and wife Panna, were invited to receive the Recognition award plaque.
For their valuable support, Nupur Sounds, Abhi Trivedi and Amit Patel, Royal Taj Events owner Mazher Khan and wife Yasmin were also presented with the honorary support plaques. V.P. of DDSC Gira Ethindra, Secretary-Neelam Desai, Emcee-Richa Chand, Singer-Bharti Desai were also recognized.
Also, in their support to DDSC, present in the guests were Amal McCaskill and Ronnie Fields, former professional basketball players. Amal McCaskill played in the NBA with the Orlando Magic, San Antonio Spurs, Atlanta Hawks and Philadelphia 76ers. Amal also played professional basketball internationally. Ronnie Fields also played professional basketball in the CBA, ABA and played internationally in the Philippines, Venezuela, Turkey, Lebanon, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Greece.
The evening was full of entertainment for the guests, that included beautiful Bollywood dances, Bharatnatyam style – Achyutam Keshavam by Pika Munshi and a Bollywood Kathak inspired -Bollywood fusion dance by Carmen Olesch and beautiful songs were sung by Sanika Sahu and Swapnil Sahu. But the main highlight was the Bollywood Musical Extravaganza by the Special Guest Artists Sammy and Gautami, who flew from Texas to join the Dev Darshan Senior Center Inauguration ceremony. The star singers sang all the hit new and old Bollywood numbers and serenaded the cheering crowd with their charismatic presence and singing talent! A truly melodious evening for all!
The proceedings of the evening concluded with a Vote of Thanks presented by Vice President Gira Ethindra. Overall, it was a great event by Dev Darshan Senior Center which brought all the people together and was successful in creating an awareness that Seniors are a big part of our community, and they need our love, attention, and care and they need to be included even in the sunset years of their life! For more info visit https://www.devdarshancenter.org