MarkYour Calendars-Deepam Annual Day -7th March 2009

First Saturday of March every year Deepam turns another year old.

This year its on Saturday 7th March 2009 that Deepam celebrates its First Anniversary.Its been a roller coaster year- our first year with loads of activities that have kept us busy on all the weekends.Deepam from a 20 member group has more than 200 members on facebook today.New programs have been launched, New centers have been approached and courses have been launched there , reach to several underprivileged students across Chennai city , computer and other resources have been provided to the centers, new activities, additions to curriculum etc etc .All this has been possible only bcos of the dedication and commitment of volunteers off-line and on field.Thank you all for your support!

Its time to celebrate now.None of you needs an invitation as you are all a part of one big “Deepam Family”
So “BE THERE” on the 7th March between 2.00 PM and 4PM to witness the Annual Function of Deepam at Nalamdana Centre, Besant Nagar.Meet all our students from different centers, interact with them, perform with them and take home a bunch of good memories and smile that will last for a long time.Guests are welcome.

Pudiyador – Talent Show

The Talent Show on sunday at Pudiyador saw the children bring out the dancer/singer/actor in them.

The winners are the eight children who presented the tamil skit on “Smoke is our enemy” with so much enthusiasm and involvement. All the volunteers were amazed by this. These kids 7-12 years old didn’t forget the sequence or lines and kept us all rivetted for a good 15 mins.

The Girls who did the kolattam were the runners-up, awarded for their co-ordination and execution of the dance.

Everybody’s a singer at Pudiyador! All the children wanted to sing for us. We were entertained with classical and desiya-geetham songs.

Gymnastics- The boys bent over backwards to show their talent. They also formed a human pyramid! And they did some pretty good crumpin dance moves.

Special Mention to Dilip who swirled the “kambu” so fast, it couldn’t be captured on camera! He also did a head-stand making it look so easy.

That afternoon at Pudiyador will remain unforgettable for all who were there.
Photos courtesy: Noopuran Sivaguru. Thanks Noopuran.

Did You Know-what gas is filled in electric bulbs? What do we call the study of birds?

The answer to such similar questions as above unfolded at the Deepam Annual Quiz 2009 that was organized by the volunteers at Nalamdana and Olcott High school this week.

While the quiz at Olcott school had three teams with one volunteer and two kids in every team and Basu playing the quiz master ,Nalamdana had Moorthy and Karthik Narayan from the IQL who were the quiz masters for the day and the centre had five teams with 3 kid in every team,

The quiz had several general knowledge rounds, audio rounds and visual rounds, We had rounds on Indian Epics, On Indian Monuments, Musical Instruments, Famous Personalities etc The kids were eager to know their question and answer them and win more points than others. A big thanks to Anupama, Shwetha, Pramod, Karthik and Moorthy for having helped us with the questions and organizing the various rounds and making them simple yet interesting. Our Quiz masters, scorers and volunteers at both the centers’ again deserve a huge round of applause for making it another success story.

The Irony : The ultimate winners were TEAM A in both the centers’. Special prizes wIll be given to them on the final day of anniversary celebrations on 7th March 2009. If you wish to sponsor this event or any other event do contact us.

PS:The answers to the questions above are Argon; Ornithology

Flash Visuals of Concepts to Aid Teaching

Problem : I was teaching the kids at Deepam the concept of ‘Force’ , some months ago. I had prepared 4 simple examples t0 help students understand , better. I used the blackboard , ‘told’ them examples – Didn’t help them much to ‘visualize’. 
I got a couple of kids to ‘enact’ what i was ‘saying’ – the kids were able to understand easily. So, clearly, the problem is with ‘teaching methods’.
Solution : Develop flash visuals for all concepts from the LKG to Class 12 and beyond.
If someone is aware of any free content on the web, please do let me know.

The Harvard Model

How does Harvard attract the best of the best students to study there ? Most of us ( definitely, i thought ) would think the big boys at Harvard would have it easy – the best students fight to get in there ( similar to the IIT situation ).

I was WRONG – This business week article shows why .

Harvard admin / professors / alumni go all out and scout for the best talent to study at Harvard. Machine ( computer) involvement is so minimal. Its this personal touch to the whole effort, that brings the best of the best to study at Harvard. Am quoting Mr.Fitzsimmons, the Dean , here “What we aim to do is to get the very best faculty together with the very best students,” he says. “Our hope is that these synergies will develop the talents of these students to a much greater degree and that they will then give back a lot more to America and the world.” 

Am thinking Deepam should aim to ‘ Bring the best volunteer effort , with a good infrastructure / technology and enable the underprivileged kids become the best students ‘

Its possible… with a personal touch 🙂

Deepam Talent Hunt 2009-Anniversary Celebrations Event 2

For all those who couldn’t be there…this is what u missed.Hope to see u all next week 🙂

Deepam Talent Hunt 2009 –Olcott School
Judges: Paras and Dr Karthik
Winner: Karunakaran

Sang two numbers : Prayer song and on public request a Tami
zh Movie song
His USP over others:
Confidence and made the right choice to perform
what he was best at Deepam Talent Hunt 2009 –Nalamdana
Judges: Paras and Anuradha

Winner :Hem
esh Danced for Taxi Taxi- one of the most popular Tamizh numbers of 2008
His USP over others
: He did what he loved doing – Danced carefree and dint bother a
bout any one around.Choreography was original and appreciated by the judgesSpecial Mentions
Pavithra and Priya (Deepam Sisters )
Sang Munbe Va Anbe va – yet another famous Tamizh number sung by Shreya Ghosal
Their USP:
They complemented each other and neither overdid the sync

Group Dance by Nirmala- Rajni Troupe They displayed “Kolattam”-south Indian Dandiya for the song Mukunda Mukunda Their USP: Planned well, rehearsed well and simple choreography
Other Highlights :
Paras on the guitar and lending his vocal chords for “Orrey Nyabagam-Minnale“
Anbu singing melodiously a yester year tamizh movie number :Rasathi Unnai

Dr Karthik choosing to sing and also beautifully completing the song Mundinam from Vaarnam Ayiram
Karthikeyan (KK) at the strings bringing back the nostalgic Titan tune -a bonus for the Olcott kids
Balaji keeping up his promise and singing the number “Its amazing when you say nothing at all” Anuradha cheering every single participant and consoling the kids that there is still a good chance next year if they did not make it this year 🙂

Collaborative Painting- How ideas were spread colorfully on 5 mt of Canvas?

Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” is what we at Deepam believe in and on Feb 7th and 8th of 2009 we realised how true this saying is when 40 kids who belong to the three different centre’s participated in the collaborative painting event held by Deepam

This is the story on how the kids grouped together, worked as teams , helped paint a 5 metre canvas in two hours time(1 hour on both the days ) The topics were “Singara” Chennai (Singara means beautiful in Tamizh ) and I love my COUNTRY

Team A at was led by Muthu supported by Tina and Ram.This is their completed Canvas

The team showed two different seasons Chennai ‘s hot summer and the cool rainy season. The kids came up with specific landmarks in Chennai like the local bus stops, Murugan Idly Kadai, Olcott School, Besant Nagar Beach ,St Thomas Mount and to also highlighted the presence and untiy of people belonging to all religion, caste and creed. The kids completed the painting by leaving their handprints on the canvas which was my personal favorite part of the whole painting as it showed how such small hands together completed this large canvas.

Team B was led by Balaji supported by Vijay, Mohan and Anuradha. Their completed canvas is displayed below

The team spent considerable amount of time to decide on what they would represent.Then one of the kids gave the newly constructed Khatipara junction as a landmark which became the crux of the painting. On one side of there was a group making the beach , and others were busy making temples, airport ,Chennai railways and the local Koyambedu Bus Junction.By drawing schools and factories they showed how Chennai has been developing and has become a hub in the southern India. One of my favorite was the Zebra crossing the kids drew – which we the volunteers couldn’t think of.

Team C was led by Vijay at Pudiyathor, our new centre and was supported by Sai.Their completed canvas is displayed below

The team started by drawing a huge map of India and scared the other team which hadn’t still finalized on what they would draw. They had Taj Mahal on one side ( I have visited this place more than twice and yet cant draw it anywhere close to how these kids have drawn) and the national bird and animal on the other side. One the other half of the canvas- the kids had shown how the country has developed from villages to some big cities, IT industry, schools, factories et all. My personal favorite was the whole theme of how they tried to pull in a story of a huge country through such colorful pictures and in just an hours time.

Team D was led by Anupama at Pudiyathor and supported by Noopuran.

The team had several ideas pouring in but also faced a starting problem on how and what to start first.Then finally it was decided that they will show their love for the country with a big heart that connects every other picture about it. They tried to show northern India by drawing a Taj Mahal (The kid who did this needs a big applause- beautiful pencil work with nice shading) southern India with the besant Nagr beach and the Pudiyathor Community, western India through the gateway of India and the Rajastan Pot Balancing Act, eastern India though the dense forests and also drew the national bird and the animal. They completed the canvas by drawing the signs of all the religions and saying “Unity is Strength”- This was my personal favorite.

Finally a wonderful weekend wherein we learnt how each kid thinks differently and worked together as a group and did their best. The competitive spirit helped them try to out-do the others by “Thinking Differently and Doing Differently “ There were brush strokes, finger prints, oil pastels, pencil shading, hand prints et all. Each and every kid- no matter which class they studies in participated and there was not a single kid whose idea was not considered by the others in the group. Everyone worked as a group and the end result showed on the canvas.

One more thing worth noticing was that how these kids looked at the positive side of life. Though they have not been as lucky as many of us in getting our daily needs and living in comfort they presented a very colorful picture of their city and country. None thought of the poverty, traffic, anti social activities or even the slums across India….Hats off to the future leaders of our country. Their dreams seem very positive!

Pictures Courtesy:KK (Karthikeyan) who was the official photographer on both the days.

To participate and fund for the Deepam activities and more importantly “HELP THEM DREAM” join us !

Collaborative Painting!

Deepam 1st Anniversary celebrations kicked off with a ‘Collaborative Painting Workshop’ on Saturday and Sunday. Students at 3 of our centres – Olcott School , Pudiyathor and Besant Nagar Community center had a lot of fun splashing the colors on the canvas. Over 40 students participated in this activity. The kids enjoyed themselves immensely – their creativity and team work was on display as they turned the blank canvas into a piece of art .

A big thanks to Archana and Balaji – They helped take this concept from an ‘Idea on Paper’ to ‘Painting on Canvas’ !! They planned this event well, from buying the right materials / coming up with a ‘workable theme’ to coordinating with the other volunteers and kids, to ensure the event was a success. Thanks to all the volunteers, who worked along with the kids , got their hands dirty with the paint and brought shape to the painting.

Here are some of the pictures