On a sunny Saturday afternoon, everyone in the Pragnya community gathered in a parking lot, sharing tasty treats and dancing to delightful songs. Yes, that was the annual Pragnya Summer FEASTival on July 16, and the theme this year was Party in the USA. There were American decorations, American food, and American music (although we couldn’t help but eventually dance to some Bollywood songs, too! 🙂).
A message from Chris Norwood, Milpitas School Board Trustee
Our allies and sponsors worked away at our booths, ensuring that our taste buds are treated to the American party everyone truly deserved. As many of you may know, we had different stations representing different food cultures around the United States: the soul food station, potato station, hot dogs station, California station, and dessert/drinks station.
Our neurominority individuals loved every aspect of the feastival, the food, music, and socialization. Seeing a smile on their faces brought a smile onto everyone else’s, and I, personally am elated that my friends, got to experience yet another fun-filled event where all of us came together to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. As a new ally, I also got to experience what it was like to see the neurodiverse individuals and allies connect at such a big event.
It was so heartwarming to see Jake, an individual with cerebral palsy, dance with Kavita in his wheelchair. They made up a creative routine of their own: a synchronized dance routine where both Jake and Kavita cha-chaed back and forth! I had never seen anything like this, and it was so amazing
and beautiful at the same time. Jayna, who is one of our neurodiverse teens, sang a solo of American Boy for everyone. Her mom Vibha had told me prior to the performance that Jayna had been practicing singing American Boy for days, just for this feastival. It warmed my heart to think about how much this feastival meant to her, and the joy it brought to everyone's faces!
Six year old Orion bonded beautifully with seven year old Thejo. They danced, sang, and played musical chairs together without any concern or hesitation for who was neurodiverse or who wasn't. It was very uplifting to see how it didn't matter to them whether one understood the ga
me or not. In fact, it didn't even matter to them if they knew the dance moves or not. Orion and Thejo both followed and learned from each other, but most importantly, they had fun together; it's absolutely an amazing example of acculturation that was so wonderful to witness.
Charles, a neurodiverse senior, was so enamored by the spirit of the occasion that he brought his bongo drums and played along to every song, including the Bollywood ones! These are just a few of the many examples of how the feastival brought joy and happiness to these individuals. One thing was common among them: they were all having a great time, with a big smile on their faces.
😀 I am already so excited for next year’s FEASTival, even though the last one was just a few days ago! I got to talk to so many neurodiverse individuals that I have never even met before. This event would not have been possible without the help of so many people, including the adult allies, teen allies, and sponsors.
Check out some more highlights from the FEASTival below!