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Dancing for a Cause, Daya 2013 Spring Fundraiser Reaches $112,000

Some of the Daya board members, advisory board members and staff gathered for a group photo prior to the start of the Spring Gala at Crystal ballroom of Rice Hotel

Some of the Daya board members, advisory board members and staff gathered for a group photo prior to the start of the Spring Gala at Crystal ballroom of Rice Hotel

By Pramod Kulkarni

HOUSTON: Daya Houston has always had a serious purpose—helping South Asian families in crisis, particularly victims of domestic abuse. For its Spring fundraiser, the 17-year-old organization added music, beat and dance under the theme “Feel the beat … feel the need.”

The gala was held Sunday, April 14 evening at the recently renovated Crystal ballroom of the Rice Hotel in downtown Houston. The event raised $112,000 to support Daya’s numerous services to help victims of abuse and increase awareness in South Asian communities through seminars and public events.

Advisory Board Member Indrani Goradia, RYT, served as emcee for the event. As she welcomed the more gala participants, Goradia explained how Daya staff members and volunteers are fielding more than 5,000 calls for and have helped more than 300 victims through services extending from counseling to legal assistance and stays in transitional housing.

After a two-year pilot program, the Board made the decision in 2009 to buy a four-bedroom house to be used as Daya’s transitional home and embarked on a capital campaign to pay off the mortgage and own the home. Daya was able to successfully complete the capital campaign and take ownership of the house in 2012. Named Harmony House, the residence has helped several women and their children break the cycle of abuse

The entertainment highlight of the evening were interactive dance sessions in salsa, country line dancing and Bollywood.

The entertainment highlight of the evening were interactive dance sessions in salsa, country line dancing and Bollywood.

Under the chair of Vatsala Bhaskaran MD and Sheela Rao, the novel fundraiser included 20-minute interactive dance sessions by Salsa Grande with Michael O. Whitmire, Two-Step Houston with Vickie Dunn, and Bollywood dancing with Mahesh Mahbubani of Naach Houston. DJ Yogi-G provided the music and the spectacular pink and purple lighting around the room. A large number of attendees joined the instructors on the dance floor to either hone their skills in the three styles of dancing or learn the steps for the very first time.

Dinner for the gala included an Italian dinner catered by the Rice Hotel and exotic deserts by Rice Hotel’s Sambucca Grill, London Sizzler and India Mart. An interesting feature to raise funds was a variation of the silent auction, where the guest were able to donate direct services to clients in the transitional home and, as thanks, received donated gift certificates and jewelry with proceeds going to Daya.

The dance finale was a flash mob dance to the music of Disco Deewane, choreographed by Kavita Rao. Kavita also conducted a dance workshop to raise funds for Daya.  Ruchi Sharma donated photography services throught out the event.

The evening concluded with board member Vatsala Bhaskaran providing the vote of thanks. Daya’s Gala underwriters were Indrani and Hemant Goradia and an anonymous donor, who gave $5,000 each. Donors, who provided $2,500 each included Anju and Ajay Shah, Anuradha & Mani Subramanian, Lakshmy & PG Parameswaran, Padmini & Ranga Nathan, Prabha & Shesh Bala, Shazma & Arshad Matin, Sheela & Ashok Rao, and Vatsala & Vish Bhaskaran.

For more information on Daya, visit www.dayahouston.org.


How Daya Helps Families in Crisis

Daya’s staff and volunteers provide confidential, culture-sensitive services to women and children in crisis situations such as domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse.

Help Line: (713) 981-7645. A crisis counselor is available to answer your call, Monday-Friday, 9 AM-5 PM. A voicemail system is available after hours and on weekends.

What clients say about Daya: Client H wrote: “When I first came to Daya, I was so weak … I had lost all my confidence. The transitional home gave me peace and harmony. Now I am finally free.”

Client V wrote: “Thank you so much … the more I talk to you (the more) I feel I am getting a lot more clarity on what to do and think too.”

Client J wrote: The day I spoke to Daya’s counselors, I felt for the first time that I was not alone. Thanks for Daya, I have finally won the right to lead a normal life.”

Daya 2012 Seminar: Daya,held its 15th annual seminar on Saturday, September 15th at the Hilton Southwest in Houston. Titled “Don’t Cry Foul, Learn to Dodge Life’s Curve Balls: A seminar to help men and women play fair in the face of anger,” the seminar featured Newton Hightower, Founder and Director of the Center for Anger Resolution, and Dr. Anjali Pinjala, Senior Director of Psychotherapy at Legacy Community Health Services. Panelists included Dr. Ravi Mani, an internist, who discussed the connection between emotional stress and physical symptoms, Lakshmy Parameswaran, a co-founder of Daya, and Shaun Igo, a personal trainer from 24-Hour Fitness, Rice Village who demonstrated physical exercises to vent anger.

The 170 participants ranged from licensed therapists to members of the greater Houston community.

Daya’s staff members are Vyoma Majmudar Banker, LMSW; Nusrat Ameen, PhD; and Abhilasha Vineet.

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