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April 29, 2009 > Indo-American event lends helping hand

Indo-American event lends helping hand

By Meenu Gupta
Photos By courtesy of Subhash Bagga

The Indo-Americans for Better Community's annual charity ball is not simply an indulgent venue for dance, dinner, music and formal attire. It is a gathering of people on a mission to lend a helping hand and provide answers to tough challenges. The ball raises funds for Abode plus a second nonprofit that changes each year. The last five balls have contributed over $300,000 to local charities, including Meals on Wheels, Ohlone College, Fremont Senior Center and Kidango. In its sixth year, the 2009 event, to be held on May 9th will benefit Abode Services (formerly Tri-City Homeless Coalition) and Discovery Cove childcare center. Discovery Cove provides free, drop-in childcare to needy families using Fremont Family Resource Center services.

Abode provides shelter, housing and support programs to families at risk of homelessness. Project Independence, for example, prevents newly emancipated foster youth from ending up on the street. "It is our main project, and it means a lot for us to be a part of it," said Dr. Rakesh Sharma, IndoABC founder and president.

"We greatly appreciate IndoABC's continued support," said Carol Arata, director of development for Abode Services. "Since 2004 they have raised more than $125,000. It's generous of them to continue their support. The needs have increased every year and more so this year in these tough economic times.

"The generous donations from IndoABC enable us to continue to provide services to assist homeless families and individuals in our community. Our programs provide an essential safety net for approximately 2,000 people annually who are homeless or at risk, including single adults, adults and children in families, emancipated foster youth, people with disabilities and seniors. Our two programs are Project HOPE Mobile Health Clinic and Sunrise Village, Fremont," Arata added.

Project HOPE Mobile Health clinic operates in collaboration with Tri-City Health Center, serving more than 1,000 homeless persons each year. The mobile clinic offers free acute and preventative medical services, substance recovery services, psychological assessment and counseling, case management, and assistance with housing and employment.

Sunrise Village houses homeless families and single adults. It accommodates 66 people for up to three months and 264 individuals in any given year.

Abode celebrated its 20th anniversary this year. Sharma, who has lived in Fremont about that long, believes charity begins at home. IndoABC members, therefore, chose to start their work with their own community, reaching out to people of all ages and ethnicities.

Volunteers committed to making a difference are invited to join the cause. "IndoABC just adopted the Adopt-A-Street program of the city of Fremont," said Sharma. The partnership between the City's Street Maintenance Division, residents, and businesses helps keep Fremont streets clean.

Indo-Americans for Better Community Charity Ball
Saturday, May 9
6:30 p.m.
Hilton Hotel
39900 Balentine Drive, Newark
(510) 657-0396

$60 per person

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