DECISION TO WORK FOR NON-PROFITS
For almost two decades, Mr. Luthra worked for other businesses, and procured businesses in order to sell them for profit. It was almost the mid 90s when he decided to take a break. He believes that it was that break period when he had an epiphany to work for non-profit organizations. This period coincided with the time when he visited his ailing father in India. In order to take care of his father he slept on the floor on a single sheet in the small hospital room for a couple of weeks. Having been so accustomed to a life of luxury in the United States, this experience of hardship was an awakening of sorts. He did this willingly because he wanted to be with his father all the time in the small hospital room. That he would do so, without hesitation, in order to take care of his ill father, is to him the very meaning of "Indian-ness."
SERVING THE SENIOR SOUTH-ASIAN POPULATION AT THE INDO-AMERICAN CENTER
Luthra carefully described the challenges that South Asian seniors face in the US. According to him, the younger generation settles in the USA for better opportunities. Their parents are left alone back home longing to live with them and with their grandchildren. Often the younger generation invite their parents to live with them in the United States, but when the older parents arrive in the USA, they realize the vast differences between the two countries. They are not used to the cooking ranges available in the United States. They find it difficult to take local public transit to travel around. They encounter drastic social and cultural differences and find it impossible to adjust to an alien culture. Keeping this situation in mind, programs at the Indo- American Center are designed to address and alleviate the isolation of the older generation. Mr. Luthra constantly strives to introduce new programs for community seniors at the Indo-American Center. The 27 employees at the Center are skilled to communicate in almost all the Indian languages.
PLANNING THE INDO-AMERICAN CENTER INTERIORS
The Indo-American Center's main office was established in a building that was not accessible. Mr. Luthra installed an elevator in the building in order to ameliorate the situation. After a neighboring building was acquired by the Center, Luthra planned an intimate consultation room in the new space in order to cater to the individualized needs of the Center users. The first floor of the main building remained a public space. It continues to be used for large group activities for children and seniors at different times during the day. The second floor of the main building has become a classroom area for smaller groups. Mr. Luthra takes care of all planning and management of activities within the Indo-American Center.
Text by Holland Dvorak and Niyati Naik
On seniors in USA and Indo-American Center