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  • 31 May 2020 10:56 PM | Anonymous

    *Did you know that the 2020 Census is happening now ?*

    School lunches. Plans for highways. Support for firefighters and families in need. Census results affect your community every day.

    It’s essential that we have a complete and accurate count of every person living in the United States, regardless of age, citizenship status, or where they live. Census data is used to allocate critical resources like public benefits, firetrucks, road repairs, and hospitals.

    When our people are missing from the Census, resources and political power for our communities get assigned to somewhere else — somewhere that already has more money, more privilege, and more power.

    Every home in the United States will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. You will have three options for responding online, by phone, and by mail.

    *Know someone who needs help in a Indian  language?*

    ISW has volunteers standing by to offer translation assistance for filling out the census in the following languages :  Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam.  Please contact census20@ISWOnline.org  or  call us at (508) 841-5115

    If you haven’t done so already – here is how to respond

    https://2020census.gov/en/ways-to-respond.html


  • 31 May 2020 10:54 PM | Anonymous

    By Dhruv Jagan

    When I came out of my room, I saw that somebody had dropped something off at our front porch. It looked like a sewing machine and I asked my mom what it was? She confirmed that it was indeed a sewing machine! I asked her “What do you need this for?” “Are you going to start stitching clothes?” She replied “No.” She told me she got the machine to stitch masks. “Why do you need to stitch them, mom?” “Can’t we just buy them?” She told me that during this COVID-19 pandemic, the whole world is falling short of masks and the N-95 masks available are essential for medical professionals. But, people who are helping the senior citizens or the newborns and new moms don't need N-95 masks. “They do need to protect themselves to reduce the spread of the virus, by wearing a mask”, she replied. So, she decided to help these people by stitching and donating homemade masks. She said it is very satisfying to help care for the people who are caring for others. I found it was a very noble deed, so I decided to help her in any way possible.

               The project of making of masks started in my living room. As soon as she started preparing to use the machine, she got freaked out! She realized that the machine was not a simple mechanical needle-thread instrument that she was used to. It had multi-functional stitching pattern electronics and bobbin set-up. Knowing my mom, I knew she was going to figure it out sooner than later, and she did. I helped her cut the clothes. The clothes were supposed to be 2 15x7 inches rectangle pieces that would be stitched together inside out from 3 sides. I also helped with manually putting the thread through the needle every time because my mom has refused to accept that she now needs reading glasses. Everything was going smoothly until the thread was over and she had no idea where to get it from because the thread was out of stock everywhere, even online. You guessed it. She was stressed out like there was no tomorrow. But again, she never fails to amaze me. She remembered that once upon a time, my grandma had tucked a few needles and thread reels in her suitcase while coming back from India. My mom got the thread and we continued our journey of stitching.

               This time, she broke the needle!! Here we go again! Bruh!! How?!?!?! Now what? She wanted to move forward, so she decided to stitch them by hand. My dad, feeling very bad for her, decided to ask around via the messaging system. Late in the night, he got a response from his student that her mother had universal needles. “Thank goodness” he said and picked it up late in the night from his student’s mailbox. Then, my parents found out how to replace the needle watching YouTube videos. We were back on track again for stitching masks. I told my mom “You are a very perseverant person.” We finally finished the mask and it was very interesting watching my mom stitch the masks and take care of my 2-year-old sister who also wanted to help ALL THE TIME! I continued helping my mom thread the needle. She finally finished making 95 masks within a couple of weeks!! I was so amazed at her hard work and her determination, especially when she was going through a lot of training process and teaching her brand-new online course at WPI. I ended up stitching my own mask as well for my recycle Science school project and so did my brother.

    So, making of masks is a huge amount of “Stress for Satisfaction!”

    It was all worth it!!


  • 31 May 2020 10:38 PM | Anonymous

    Ever since the state enforced a stay safe at home policy in Massachusetts, ISW member Malini Mohankumar has been finding ways to keep active and make a difference. Over the past several weeks she has led efforts to procure baby monitors for hospitals to use in their Covid wards, drummed up a coalition of helpers who have been stitching masks as part of Central Mass Sew We Care, and graduated to now creating full sized PPE gowns. Her efforts have supplied these products to hospitals, shelters, rehab, refugee and senior centers. We asked Malini to share some of her experience. 

    What inspired you to get going on these projects?  In this testing times we are all trying to contribute in some way or the other. I strongly believe that this is the period for each one of us to mold our paths and grow at the same time. This period is filling many of us with fear and anxiety with all the happenings around us. While we cannot escape from the situation, we can take care of ourselves and try to fill our minds and hearts with happiness. I finding serving our community is one way to reduce stress, decrease loneliness and help take the focus off the current situation. It provides a new perspective and makes me feel healthier. It gives me a warm feeling when things go well and I savor it and consider it a gift for myself.

    Volunteering brings a world of rewards that one never has expected. In our group, each of us is experiencing happiness and a sense of satisfaction. We aren’t keeping it to ourselves but spreading it wherever possible.

    How did you come up with the idea of supplying baby monitors? Who uses them and how did our community respond? It was around midnight when the Milford Medical Center Covid19 nurse reached out to me and requested help finding 3 baby monitors as soon as possible. My friends and family helped me deliver the 3 baby monitors. A few days later we got a request from the Boston Medical Center for 55 baby monitors for its Covid Unit. When I approached ISW volunteers with this request, I got tremendous support from the community. They arranged around 5 monitors within a couple of days. When I approached a wider community online, I was surprised with their generosity and trust. They sent me brand new monitors even though I had not met them, nor did they know me. With their help we were able to deliver the 55 monitors. Shortly thereafter we got a request from St. Vincents Hospital in Worcester for 10 more monitors and we are working to deliver them too.

    How did you design the face masks? were you able to get community involved and, if so, in what way?We worked with various medical facilities to get their specifications for fabric masks. Based on their specifications we designed a prototype and got their feedback. Each medical center had its own requirements and specifications. I spent time with nurses and other front line staff to get their requirements. We never say we are donating the masks but that we are “Gifting Happiness”. We make sure to personalize the masks as gits to the front line workers. In addition to regular cloth masks, we have also designed masks for special needs adults and kids with Autism, as well as ones for hearing impaired. We are working on a mask design for the visually challenged. Together with members of the Central Mass Sew We Care coalition, we have been working tirelessly for the past few months to produce masks, scrub hats, ear protectors and reusable gowns in a range of sizes and styles.

    One of our volunteers, Manorama, has single handedly made over 1700 masks. We have 33 young volunteers who are helping their parents with cutting and sewing. They have also created handmade thank you cards for the front line workers to be included with the masks. In appreciation, several organizations have sent signed certificates of appreciation to the children. We also have got thank you cards, donuts, and flowers to the volunteers in appreciation of the donated PPE.

    So far we have sewn 5582 fabric masks, 250 scrub hats, 250 ear protectors, 100 Hearing impaired clear plastic masks, and 25 reusable gowns.

    Finally, you have graduated to larger stitching projects? How much time does it take to stitch a PPE Gown? Is there any special fabric required? Are the designs standardized? Who are you supplying the finished product? As all our volunteers are working from home and have their work and home obligations, we can only do 2 or 3 gowns a day. We use poly-cotton fabric for the gowns and 100% cotton fabric for the masks. 

    We have served 55 facilities ranging from medical and non-medical front line personnel, nursing homes, refugee, rehabilitation and senior centers, and shelters. We have another 21 facilities are in the pipeline.

    We cannot thank enough all the volunteers who have helped with Central Mass Sew We Care, for the long hours spent, sacrificing your time to help support the front line staff. We really appreciate the care you took to meet the requests, your invaluable sewing skills and expertise that has made this possible. We hope you have got some inner satisfaction knowing your efforts have made our community a safer place. Together we make difference!


  • 31 May 2020 10:06 PM | Anonymous

    ISW is very proud to celebrate the high school graduations of several of its IYG and ISW member’s kids. We congratulate them and their family for this accomplishment and would like to recognize them in a section on the website dedicated to our graduates. With the Covid crisis putting a damper on celebrations and commencements, we want to make sure that we can share the joy of this occasion with the rest of our community. We wish all our graduates the very best in their future academic careers.

    Here is a list of graduating seniors and their future plans

     

    Shivali Mani, Shrewsbury High School
    Attending Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), Class of 2024, Majoring in Data Science

     

    Kavya Mani, Shrewsbury High School
    Attending Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), Class of 2024, Majoring in Bioinformatics & Computational Biology

     

    Aarshiya Sachdeva, Shrewsbury High School
    Aarshiya will be attending Northeastern University to pursue a degree in Data Science and Business Administration

     

    Sakshi Dindore, Shrewsbury High School
    Will be attending UMass Amherst this fall to pursue her career in computer science and business. She is very excited for her future endeavors and the opportunity to continue Indian dance at college.

     

    Tanvi Manjrekar, Wachusett Regional High School
    Attending UMass Amherst to study Biology on a pre-health track.

     

    Sohil Doshi, Shrewsbury High School
    Attending UMASS Amherst, Major – Kinesiology

     

    Anjali Tanna, Shrewsbury High School
    Will be attending Northeastern University in Boston MA, studying Behavioral Neuroscience and Data Science

     

    Danush Chelladurai, Massachusetts Academy of Math and Science
    Will be studying Applied Math and Economics at Yale College

     

    Raunit Kohli, Grafton High School
    Will be attending the University of California, San Diego, majoring in Cognitive Science with Specialization in Machine Learning and Neural Computation and a minor in Computer Science.

  • 31 May 2020 10:03 PM | Anonymous

    By Ragoo Raghunathan

    If you have been recently laid-off, furloughed or are just making a career transition, I would highly recommend creating a LinkedIn profile if you don’t already have one. It is pretty easy. Once you make a profile, start making those connections and expand your network.

    A friend of mine asked me, “Why do I need a LinkedIn profile? I am sending them my CV, why can’t they just see my CV and hire me for what I am?”

    The answer is simple. Before they read your CV, the employer wants to see your profile and see who you are connected to, do you have common connections, what are your affiliations, how do you present yourself professionally, endorsements and skills etc. Most of the time, who you know becomes more important than what you know. It doesn’t matter if you are not directly connected to someone at the organization where you hope to get a job. You just need an indirect connection to someone who is. If you have connections that can get you closer to a recruiter or a hiring manager, use them.

    On LinkedIn you can pretty much build your professional brand and let the profile do the talking for you. It is imperative to include all the key words that may appear in a job description that you are trying to match with, in your profile.

    Most employers nowadays are advertising their job openings on LinkedIn since they already are on it and that’s where all the candidates are. Most of these jobs allow you to apply directly by clicking on a button, where it sends the employer a link to your profile. And just imagine if your profile is incomplete, you are at a disadvantage off the bat. Especially if you are seriously looking for a job now, unless you have the most sought-after skills, you may see yourself applying to tens if not hundreds of positions before you secure one. It makes it way easier to apply if you have an updated profile on LinkedIn.

    Once you are ready with an updated profile, there is an option to export your profile in a pdf format, or even build a resume. If you click on the ‘More…’ button in your profile page you have these options. That comes in handy.

    If you are a 1st connection of mine, I have made my connections on LinkedIn visible to you via my profile (www.linkedin.com/in/ragoo). I encourage everyone to do the same, however big or small your following. It costs nothing and can positively change the life of another beyond measure, especially during these COVID times.

    When you are thriving in the world you don’t stop to look down. You stop to help others get up!

    It’s all about networking online and especially on LinkedIn. Good luck.
  • 20 May 2020 9:58 PM | Anonymous

    by Yashvardhan Chauhan

    Have you completed the 2020 Census yet? If not, you still have plenty of time as the U.S. Census Bureau has extended the deadline to complete the 2020 Census from the end of July to October 31st in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. It's now easier than ever to complete, since for the first time you can choose to respond online, by phone, or by mail. The more people who complete the census using these methods, the less people will have to go door to door, which is especially important during these times of social distancing. Additionally, the survey only consists of 12 questions and should take no more than 10 minutes in total to complete. Not only that, but unlike in previous years there will no longer be a question about citizenship status on the 2020 census, which means that there really is no reason not to fill it out. The census counts everyone citizens and non-citizens alike.

    Although some may still view the census as an unnecessary hassle, it is of far greater importance than many individuals realize as it provides critical data that helps determine where billions of dollars in federal funding go. Perhaps just as importantly, the census also determines the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives, which mirrors the number of delegates each state has in the Electoral College (which is the group that decides who becomes the president and vice president of the United States). As such, the census is critical in ensuring that each and every state is represented fairly at the national level.

  • 18 May 2020 6:49 PM | Anonymous

    In Loving Memory

    Dr. Dhansukslal Mandalaywayla (Dr. Lal)

    It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that we inform you that our beloved father Dr. Dhansukhlal C. Mandalaywala passed away on Monday, May 18, 2020.

    We will greatly miss his generosity, love for his family, especially for his grandchildren and his sense of service to the community. He served humanity by helping those who needed help the most and who would tend to be helped the least such as the mentally challenged, those suffering from opioid addiction and the uninsured.

    He is survived by his son Amol and daughter Anjali and their families.

    The funeral was held in Manchester, NH at the Cremation Society of New Hampshire. Due to the pandemic, it was streamed live.

    The 12/13th day memorial ceremony for our dear friend and ISW Volunteer Dr Lal will be held on May 30th. The 'barmoo' 'termoo' will be held on Sat, May 30th, at 10 am EST. The pooja will be held at home while the pandit will conduct the ceremony/prayers via Zoom. If you wish to attend, please join via Zoom using the following link: https://echo.zoom.us/j/7818883200

    Meeting ID: 781 888 3200

    In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be made in honor of Dr. Mandalaywala, who was known as “Dr. Lal,” to continue his long-standing support of community:

    India Society of Worcester’s Free Health Stop at this link Or

    Indian Circle for Caring USA Inc., (ICC) (http://www.ouricc.org ) Or

    The donation can be sent to the India Society of Worcester, PO Box 136, Shrewsbury, MA 01545. Please indicate in the memo field “For the FHS in memory of Dr. Lal.”

    It is with heavy heart and sadness that we share this news with you that Dr. Dhansukslal Mandalaywayla (Dr. Lal) passed away on May 18, 2020 at 4:45 AM at the UMass Medical Center due to complications of COVID-19 Infection.

    Carolyn and I had known Dr. Lal for last 15 years when he started volunteering at the Free Health Stop at the India Center. He had been the backbone of our free health care services at the India Center. He was very caring, loving and a dedicated person to his family, his patients, and the profession of medicine. He had always gone above and beyond providing health care to his patients. He was a great teacher and a mentor to our medical students. Besides being a great physician, he was a loving father, grandfather, and a dear friend. He would be dearly missed. May God rest his soul in comfort and peace and give strength to his children, grandchildren, and all of us to cope with his loss. Memorial Services for Dr Lal will be announced later.

    Carolyn and Sahdev Passey

  • 17 May 2020 4:12 PM | Anonymous

    To help community members at home under the state mandated Covid crisis related social distancing, several community members are offering a range of virtual activities to keep you and your family engaged. The activities range from online music and dance classes to wellness, yoga and fitness sessions. For a full list of offerings visit the ISW Website. To add your offering to the listing, please fill out a submission form here We also encourage our members who might need counseling or support during these times to reach out to the Crisis Committee at crisisteam@iswonline.org 

     Offering  Name  Organization  Phone  Website or Email
     Bharatnatyam Kalaimangai Anbalagan  Amudhasri Dance School  508-353-8636  Amudhasri.com
     Hindustani Music  Neelima Chaturvedi    508-523-7745  Neelima@townisp.com
     Bollywood and Kathak classes  Darshana Jani    508-451-3190  djani99@gmail.com
    Indian Folk dance - For current students only  Jasmine Shah    603-930-3783  
    Wellness Group Sessions for folks in Quarantine  Bhavna Srivastava    774-242-2112  Bhavanasrivastava@bhwellnessgroup.com
    Art, Yoga and Exercise classes for kids  Anu Debroy    408-306-1881  
     Yoga for Adults  Alka Yadav-Mehta    774-288-9770  
     Bollywood Fitness  Sunita Kalyani    508-826-2848  
    Kids Art Work' for Digital Wall of Kindness for First Responders
     Malini Mohankumar      malithenerd@gmail.com
    Free Online Bollywood classes
     Ekta Jain Ekta Dance Academy  508-488-7775  
      Indian Classical and Devotional Music
     Bhuvana Ganesh    508-409-9298  

  • 6 May 2020 5:29 PM | Anonymous

    The ISW community was well represented in the Massachusetts State Science and Engineering Fair which was held virtually this year. Arnav Mishra, son of Neha and Amit Mishra, a sophomore at Shrewsbury High School and a member of the IYG group bagged a First Place Award. Arnav’s award winning project was titled “Helping the Deaf and Blind, One Step At A Time” and used multiple types of sensors to provide sensory feedback of the surroundings to visually handicapped.  Other winners included Gaurav Savant, son of Shrikant and Sapna Savant, who studies at Worcester Academy, and Amrita Thirumalai, daughter of Ajai and Sridevi Thirumalai and a student at the Massachusetts Academy of Math & Science.

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