WALTHAM, MA– Jeyanthi Ghatraju, a local dancer, dance teacher, volunteer and a Quality Assurance Specialist at tech giant Raytheon, has received President’s Volunteer Service Award.
“On behalf of a grateful Nation, I thank you for your service to your fellow Americans and those most in need,” President Trump wrote in the congratulatory note. “Through your dedicated service, you have ensured the continuation of America’s unparallel commitment to improving the lives of others.”
Ms. Ghatraju, who was recognized for her work in 2017, also received a gold pin from the White House. This is the second time she is blessed with such honor. Previously, it was in 2013 from President Obama.
Ms. Ghatraju was nominated by her employer, Raytheon, which recommends those who have recorded over 500 hours of community service in diverse areas during a given year.
Ms. Ghatraju is also an Indian classical dancer. She was initiated into Bharatanatyam by Guru Madurai Gopinath and she continued her training at the Shivanjali temple of Fine Arts, Coimbatore, India. After completing her graduate studies, she started teaching Bharatanatyam at the Natyanjali in Ottawa, Canada in 1995.
She founded Natyanjali in New England in 1999 with a mission to perform for charity. Since then, Ms. Ghatraju and her students have performed regularly at several nursing homes and senior centers in New England. She has 16 student arangetrams (debut) to her credit.
Ms. Ghatraju is affiliated to the Alagappa Performing Arts Academy (Alagappa University, Karaikudi, India) and offers Certificate, Diploma and Degree program in performing arts. Twenty five students have graduated so far. Her outreach assignments include special projects on Indian dance and Bharatanatyam for museums, libraries and churches in New England and Canada.
Her charity work extends to organizations from far and wide, including Vision Aid (last 10 years), Sankara Health Care Foundation, Cancer Institute Foundation, UNICEF, India Development and Relief Fund, Ekal Vidhyalaya, SAHELI, and MITHAS, We for Hope, ASHA for Education.
Ms. Ghatraju was also the first President of KHMC (Karnatic Hindustani Music Circle) and currently serves as its Treasurer.
“My philosophy is to provide loving service to those in need and those that cannot help themselves, whenever I get an opportunity,” says Ms. Ghatraju. “My belief in Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s teachings has influenced me in getting involved wherever there is a need, irrespective of the organization.”