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New England Leherein’s Inaugural “Your Choice Awards”

Yashoda Dhole and Apoorva Sahasrabudhe

On Saturday, October 8, 2011, New England Leherein, an IRS registered non-profit organization, hosted its inaugural fund-raising community awards event, "Your Choice Awards”, at Chinmaya Center in Andover, MA. It was a charity event that honored the unsung heroes of the Boston area Indian community while aiding the under privileged children in India.  Guests to this awards show left with a sense of satisfaction that while enjoying themselves they helped a very important cause - raising funds to help provide the best possible education and well being to a group of under privileged children in Nanded, Maharashtra, India.
The “Your Choice Awards” show was modeled after the entertainment industry’s awards ceremony. The Chinmaya center was completely transformed for the day to give the local community a little taste of the glitz and glamour of strolling down the red carpet for an award show. The warm hospitality showed by the Leherein team created an elegant atmosphere where all were graciously welcomed. After the complimentary delicious light snacks and mocktail hour, everyone was escorted to the beautifully decorated auditorium where they were treated to a memorable evening with awards presentations fused with some of the best entertainment from  the local artists.
The evening started with a short but powerful video presentation about Leherein. Leherein started as a dance group more than 10 years ago raising funds through various Boston area performances. About four years ago, Leherein started a Dabba program to raise additional funds for charity causes. Volunteers come together every two months to make delicious home cooked meals that are then carefully packed and distributed to various corners of Greater Boston area. Initially the funds raised from dances and dabba were sent to different charities in India. Last year, they started Abhaal Maya, where about 9-10 children of varying ages coming from under privileged background are under the best possible care, to be able to dream and have a bright future.

Leherein’s “Your Choice Awards” were given in three primary categories: Community and Professional Services, Family and Lifetime Achievement. Naming few - Favorite Dance School, Favorite Grocery Store, Super Wife of the Year, Super Dad of the Year and Super Son of the Year.  Each award was received with great enthusiasm and was presented by esteemed guests of honor representing various organizations from around Boston, including Shishubharati, Learnquest, Ekal Vidyalaya, New England Marathi Mandal, United India Association, Big Help, Saheli, New England Hindi Manch, Boston Sargam, MITHAS, TiE, Indian Medical Association of New England, MRCC Group, and e-ClinicalWorks.

The winners were:
Family Category:
Super Mom : Kamala Govindaraju
Super Dad : Amit Shokeen
Super Daughther : Anokhee Mepani
Super Son : Neil Arora
Super Wife : Bela Kaul
Super Husband : Arun Sathnur
Best Student : Susmita Gadre
Lifetime Achievement Award: Dr. Abhaya Asthana
Community & Professional Services:
Best Grocery: Patel Brothers
Best Restaurant: Pongal
Best Organization: New England Hindi Manch
Best Videographer: Timeless Lens Video and Photo
Best Photographer: Binita Patel
Best DJ: DJ Dash
Best Music school: Anubhava School of Music
Best Dance School: Natyamani School of Dance

The Lifetime Achievement Award to Dr. Abhaya Asthana for his lifelong dedication to the community was the highlight of the evening. The guests of honor added a lot of dignity as well as glamour to the event. Their praising comments about Leherein activities and offer of support for its future endeavors were extremely gratifying to the Leherein team.   
The superb entertainment for the evening included Bollywood dance medleys by Jasmine Shah’s Aangikam Dance Academy and Leherein, Koli dance by Vijay Shriwardankar’s group, Hip Hop Lavani by Sarayu Mahale’ group, fantastic singing by the winners of New England Hindi Manch’s SaReGaMa competition and the finale performance from Boston University’s Fusion Mix group. Each and every performance was unique and special and they kept the audience gripped throughout the night!
Leherein was extremely pleased with the turnout for the event, the funds raised, awareness created and message spread. It was an extraordinary success in terms of achieving its goals of raising funds and to showcase their cause to the Boston area residents, many of whom have been part of Leherein activities and have helped the cause through the years. The funds collected from Saturday’s event and other future endeavors will be sent to Abhaal Maya.
Kudos to Leherein for organizing this one of a kind “Your Choice Awards”. Starting from the beautiful decorations, the hospitality, the management, the trophies, the hosts, the performances and the photography- everything was a huge success! This thoughtful event, that made new and stronger bonds between our society and families, was a culmination of extraordinary efforts over the past 10+ months  by the Leherein officers including Dina Advani, Vrunda Dhole, Sonali Joshi, Varsha Mahale, Kirti Panke, Nihita Patel, Netra Rajinikanth and Aditi Thatte and the event program committee consisting of  Priyanki Amroliwala, Uma Patel, Manisha Sahasrabudhe, Maya Tamhankar, Aditi Taylor and Jateen Taylor.  

Leherein hopes for many more amazing successes in the future, and is thankful to those who came to support it! For more details including red carpet photos, other pictures and videos about this awards show (coming soon) and all future activities including the next Dabba announcement, please be sure to check the website http://www.ournel.org.

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