Two senior citizens found something in common with Kidango – a passion for supporting children and families in our community. Ashvin Panchal and Krishnaswamy Narasimhan retired and decided to be active participants in the community’s welfare, volunteering their time, effort and skills for different projects. They work with homeless shelters, other seniors, and immigrants to help them navigate the immigration processes and settle down. This year, they decided to focus their efforts on supporting young learners in their community.
Krish and Ashvin learned of Kidango during the COVID-19 pandemic when they helped raise funds, awareness, and essential supplies for Kidango’s Early Intervention and Inclusion Services (EIIS) program that provides services for families with children with developmental delays. Ashvin, who is also an artist, has taught art to children on the autism spectrum. Krish and Ashvin said they were inspired by Kidango’s inclusion program where children with varying abilities come together to work on their development and help each other grow. They were inspired by Kidango’s philosophy of inclusion and the belief that all children will benefit from opportunities to work on friendship and problem solving skills, access peer models, develop positive self-image, and learn to respect others for their unique abilities. Krish and Ashvin were motivated by Kidango’s EIIS program’s ability to give every child an opportunity to thrive and succeed.
Other than raising money for the EIIS Holiday Fundraiser, Krish and Ashvin also coordinated efforts by other senior citizens who collectively donated 200+ hats made of baby wool for the infants and toddlers in the inclusion program. When asked what motivates them, they responded, “We see the happiness on the faces of people! We are also utilizing our time and knowledge to help others. At this age we feel that it is time to give back to the community. And what we have to tell the younger generation is also to find ways to give back to the community. Students do community work as a project for school but they should do it for the rest of their life also.”
We are inspired and grateful for the efforts of one generation helping, supporting, and motivating the next generation. Kidango celebrates diversity and inclusion, valuing and accepting children from different backgrounds and abilities. Inclusion is the key to a better education for all children.