Nearly 40 talented young entertainers performed outdoors at Santana Row on April 30, raising $2,656.66 (and still counting) for the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. They strummed guitars, played the keyboard and violin, sang, danced and performed karate.
“I think it’s pretty cool that the kids get to perform here in such a public place,” said Sunnyvale dad Prasanna Laghate, whose six-year-old daughter, Eira, performed a dance with a friend. “The kids get to perform. Parents get to see them perform to raise money for a good cause. And everybody is enjoying the good weather.”
The two-hour talent show was the inspiration of Santa Clara parents Garima Agarwal and Abhishek Singhal, who wanted to teach their only child, eight-year-old Aeshaan, to appreciate his good fortune in life and be generous to those less fortunate.
“It really makes me feel warm inside to help other children, children who are sick,” said Aeshaan one Saturday afternoon before the talent show, as he was waiting to take his weekly guitar lesson at The California Conservatory of Guitar (CCG) in Santa Clara (www.thecaliforniaconservatory.com).
Aeshaan’s mom, Agarwal, was the show organizer and emcee. She explained that her son’s introduction to helping other children began with a first talent show in 2015, which took place at the guitar school and raised over $1,900 for the children’s hospital.
“Aeshaan is our only child and gets all of our undivided love and attention. We have always wanted him to be cognizant of the needs of others around him who might not be so fortunate as us, especially children his age,” said Agarwal.
“When he was going to turn six, during one such conversation, he told me that he would love to share his toys with other children, which is a big deal at that age,” continued Agarwal. “Encouraged by this, we talked about other ideas, such as him donating his birthday gifts, playing guitar, selling lemonade and making paintings to raise more money.
“One thing led to another and with Robert Miller [co-founder of CCG] and CCG’s support, we were able to get a lot of these amazing and talented little children together to raise awareness and funds.”
Agarwal took her son to the children’s hospital to deliver the 2015 talent show contributions himself.
“As we waited in the lobby, a little girl in a hospital robe walked past us with a breathing mask on, a little red wagon in tow with her doll in it. It was truly a humbling moment for us as parents, feeling very proud of what Aeshaan had started,” said Agarwal.
This year, Aeshaan, who practices his guitar 15 to 30 minutes daily, donated his birthday gifts to other children and checks totaling $325 to UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund.
The guitar school organized the guitar talent for the two talent shows and provided the sound amplifiers.
“Aeshaan is one kid inspired to do his own thing. It’s nice to see it going even further, paying it forward,” said Miller. “At our school, we strive to show students that music can be used for positive change in the world, and in the process, help them develop their own sense of character and work ethic.”
“My husband, Abhishek Singhal, and I were born in India. We want Aeshaan to have perspective of what good luck and fortune it is that we have. Not everybody has that,” said Agarwal.
“I don’t know about you,” Agarwal said to the audience at the show’s end, “but I’m just blown away. The kids did an amazing job, a phenomenal job!”