Over the years, we have been privileged to have many businesses and organizations hold fundraising events to benefit The American Red Cross. With 94% of our workforce made up of volunteers, The American Red Cross relies heavily on the generosity of donors in order to continue providing communities with essential programs and services such as: disaster relief and recovery, services to armed forces and veterans, international services, lifesaving health and safety classes, and blood services.
On Saturday, May 3, 2014, the Red Cross Lackawanna Chapter was the beneficiary of a memorable and exceptional event called Bharatanatyam Arangetram, which took place at the Lackawanna College Theater. Bharatanatyam is the oldest and most popular classical dance style of India. The meaning of Arangetram is to ascend the stage and refers to a student giving her maiden performance. The performer was a young woman named Ajna Prahalad from Clarks Summit, who personally chose the American Red Cross as the recipient of all monetary gifts given on the night of her performance, totaling approximately $6,000. Ajna commented, “The Red Cross is always in the forefront when something goes wrong and I wanted my family and friends to know how important it is to support an organization that helps people recover, whether here in this country or internationally.”
The event, lasting just over 2 hours, was performed solely by Ajna, who spent 10 years of dedicated training, both here and in India, where she spent her summers with relatives. Her presentation of nine traditional dances involved intricate and challenging footwork, precise facial and hand movements, and intense agility and flexibility. Ajna wore beautiful, traditional Indian costumes and danced to music and vocals performed by world renowned musicians – Prashanth Kallur, Sri M.R. Venupuri Srinivas, Smt. Kalpana Prasad, Dr. Sanjay Shantaram, and Seema Murthy.
Ajna’s dedication to her love of traditional Indian dance was evident in her exquisite performance. She paid homage to both her family (Dr.’s PK and Sheela Prahalad and brother Amogh) and her renowned instructors (Sujata Nair-Mulloth, Dr. Sanjay Shantaram and Smt. Sajini).
Sherry Nealon-Williams, Lackawanna Chapter Executive Director said, “We are grateful to Ajna and her family for choosing the Red Cross as the beneficiary of this wonderful event. Monetary gifts will go directly towards our programs and services offered throughout the Scranton community, helping those in need.”