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A conversation with Indian Circle of Caring Director and former ISW Board of Trustees Chair, Hemant Shah

4 Oct 2020 3:02 PM | Anonymous

Partner Profile

With this issue we introduce a new section profiling partner organizations that have worked closely with ISW. Contact newsletter@iswonline.org to add your organization's profile.

A conversation with Indian Circle of Caring Director and former ISW Board of Trustees Chair, Hemant Shah

ISW and the Indian Circle for Caring (ICC) have had a long relationship together. Many of ISW members have turned to ICC during times of crisis or bereavement for support and services. Founded by Girish Mehta in 2007, ICC is a volunteer non-profit organization focused on providing urgent or emergency guidance and support for our fellow community members and their families as they may encounter unplanned and unexpected events such as serious sickness, hospitalization, accidents, family crisis, and death / bereavement of a loved one.

ISW and ICC have had a long mutually beneficial relationship. Its strong collaboration with ISW and its Crisis Committee has made a huge difference to our community members where both organizations have stepped up to selflessly serve our community. Recently ISW lost one of its stalwart volunteers, Dr. Mandalaywala (known to ISW friends and colleagues as Dr. Lal).  His son Amol shared his thoughts about ICC’s support during this time.

“Earlier this year, I received a recommendation to contact Mr. Girish Mehta when my beloved father, Dr. Mandalaywala, passed away. Mr. Mehta was compassionate and helped in making arrangements from the funeral to the requisite rituals in the challenging times of the pandemic. Our family is extremely appreciative for his help.”

We spoke with Hemant Shah, former Chairman of the ISW Board of Trustees and Director at ICC about their work.

While many ISW members might have heard of ICC at a time of extreme stress, what are some of the other services that ICC provides?

Today ICC offers several services in 14 states that can briefly be described in three areas:

  • Emergency Support Services to individuals and families
  • Educate and empower individuals and families to be prepared for eventualities
  • Lifestyle Management – a Transformative new initiative to mitigate high risk of heart disease and diabetes for South Asians from Indian subcontinent. We have two free webinars about this specific area coming up in October.
To clarify to our members, is there a fee for these services and how can one request help?

ICC services are free for all community members. You can request help on the ICC home page via an online form, or you can call the ICC voice mail: 641-715-3900, ext. 87891. The voicemail is immediately channeled to appropriate members of the ICC team to address the issue.  Communications are monitored during “waking hours” and our aim is to respond as soon as practical.

What are some of the programs under these umbrellas?

In addition to helping families during their time of need during an unexpected crisis or situation, ICC embarked on programs that educate and empower community members. One of those programs is preparation of “Health Care Proxy and Living Will” through the FIVE WISHES® document. You can download a read only version of the document from our website at http://ouricc.org/health-proxy-living-will/ It is available in English, Gujarati, Hindi, Bengali and Urdu.

Other educational programs include:

  • Retirement Planning: A new initiative to broaden the awareness and provide meaningful resources for preparation before and while retired.
  • Planning and preparing children or adults with special needs in the family:  We offer workshops to help families plan for how to manage the special needs of their child
  • Arthritis Exercise Program and Arthritis Educational Seminar:  A twelve-week, 24 session Arthritis Exercise program for improving quality of life despite this chronic illness.
  • Community Initiative for TB Education (CITE):  To increase awareness and educate our community about risks of TB while we live in the United States.

Tell us about the latest initiative that you have launched?

ICC has embarked on a transformative new initiative to mitigate high risk of heart disease and diabetes for South Asians from Indian subcontinent. Did you know? Indians make up less than 20% of the world population but make up 60% of the people suffering from heart disease worldwide. This is independent of where they live in the world. Similarly, Indians make up a far larger share (over 25%) of the people in the world that are afflicted with diabetes. What’s worse is South Asians have heart attacks at much younger ages, despite being mostly vegetarian, nonsmoking and non-obese.

As part of the Lifestyle program, you can register for two FREE webinars in October on the ICC website.

  • Introduction to Meditation, Sunday, on October 11, 2020 at 10:00 AM EDT. Dr. Bindu Vyas, Director Indian Circle for Caring USA Inc. (ICC) will discuss the science of meditation and how you can use your mind and body as a healing mechanism together with some basic meditation techniques.
  • Heart Disease in South Asians: A cause for alarm and call to action on Saturday, October 17, 2020, 10:00 to 11:30 AM EDT. Dr. Harshad Sanghvi, MD. FACC and Medical Director, Lifestyle Program, ICC will discuss the scope and impact of heart disease; review the traditional and emerging risk factors in South Asians leading to the emerging epidemic of heart disease in South Asians and show how to crack the Indian Paradox and plan an effective preventive strategy

That’s a wide range of programs and offerings. How does ICC manage these efforts?

ICC offers these services through a network of over 200 volunteers who serve clients directly, with a few that help run the organization administratively. It has over 8000 members supporting all the ICC activities and programs as well as helping to spread the word about ICC to friends, family, and others who may need assistance. ICC also partners with organizations like ISW focused on social, religious/spiritual, professional, services and media/entertainment) as well as other state, local, and private support organizations. While ICC covers most of New England, Sewa International has replicated the ICC model with our support to 12 additional cities across the US.

ICC has been recognized for its work by the India New England Choice Award for Best Non-Profit Organization in 2019. It also was one of 130 local nonprofits chosen from among 738 applicants to receive $100K over 4 years through Cummings Foundation’s Grant Program in May 2020.

ISW and ICC have had a long mutually beneficial relationship. Our strong collaboration with ISW and its Crisis Committee has made a huge difference to our community members where both organizations have stepped up to selflessly serve our community. ICC is also grateful to have Mr. Yogesh Parikh, ex-ISW President and Hemant Shah, ex-Chairman of the BOT, as Directors of ICC bringing the ISW connection, experience and community needs to ICC’s planning and execution processes. We look forward to providing our services to the ISW community in the future. For more information, to request help or to join as a member of volunteer, check our website at www.ouricc.org

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