Touch-A-Life Foundation 2021 Heroes

Touch-A-Life Foundation is proud to honor those individuals who strive to make a difference in their communities.

Mattie Scariot Recognized for her incredible work in film festivals to inspire and open doors to tourism and community development

Mattie Scariot

An incredible work in film festivals

Mattie Scariot is the Director of Poppy Jasper International Film Festival. It is an all volunteer non-profit organization that focuses on inclusive, diverse and women-empowered films and just listed as the "50 Top Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee, 2021" by MovieMaker Magazine.The Poppy Jasper International Film Festival is fourteen days of online film screenings, speaker panels, awards, gala’s, food and fun. It is held in the historic downtown districts of Morgan Hill and Gilroy, California. These two cities are known for their vibrant arts scene, award-winning wineries and restaurants, and welcoming small town vibe.

Under Mattie's leadership, the Poppy Jasper International Film Festival has been successfully strategized, executed and attended. Mattie's work helps not only the local community through tourism, but also helps budding filmmakers to showcase their films across various genres. Each film makes a strong impact with the audience be it informational, inspirational, memorable or emotional.

Touch-A-Life Foundation recognizes Mattie Scariot for her passion, rigor and thoroughness in executing the Poppy Jasper International Film Festival and making a difference to her local communities, helping them grow and gain visibility worldwide.

Isabella Spar Recognized for her relentless efforts in donating a bell to every radiation center to inspire hope

Isabella Spar

Her relentless efforts in donating a bell

Isabella founded 'Project Bell' in order to donate 'New Beginning Bells' to radiation centers. At the age of 12, Isabella watched her mother go through proton radiation for a benign but life threatening brain tumor. At Massachusetts General Hospital, where she was treated, they had a tradition where patients would ring a bell three times when they completed radiation treatment. This would signify the end of their treatment, hope, and a start to a new life. When the patients rang the bell, everyone at the treatment center, friends and family joined in to celebrate.

Isabella was touched by this tradition and saw the positive impact it made. Isabella then pursued a goal of donating a bell to every radiation center in the United States. In order to raise money to donate the bells, Isabella initially designed, created and sold hundreds of inspirational charm bracelets. 100% of the net profits were used to donate bells to radiation centers across the country.

Under Isabella's leadership, 'Project Bell' has expanded not only throughout the United States, but also internationally. In addition, they not only provide bells to radiation centers but also chemotherapy facilities.

Touch-A-Life Foundation recognizes Isabella Spar for her passion, creativity and drive from such a young age to celebrate a new beginning. Her work truly makes a difference in the lives of many who have been affected, bringing them a feeling of hope, empowerment and accomplishment.

Dr. Uri Gedalia Recognized for his phenomenal work in using a humanistic and data-driven approach to medicine

Dr. Uri Gedalia

A humanistic and data-driven approach to medicine

Dr. Uri Gedalia is the Founder, Chairman, and Chief Medical Officer of Gedalia Global. He charts the course of the firm in steadfast pursuit of one crucial mission — delivering peace of mind for those who entrust him and his dedicated team with their health. In addition to helming Gedalia Global, Dr. Gedalia is a board-certified general surgeon in private practice who specializes in robotic and minimally invasive colon and rectal surgery. Dr. Gedalia continues to be a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and is licensed to practice medicine in California, New Mexico, Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Illinois, New Jersey, and Florida. He performed his residency at New York Medical College after graduating from the Louisiana State University School of Medicine.

During the Covid crisis, Dr Gedalia travelled multiple locations domestic and international and spent several months delivering work expertise, global health experience to save several people’s lives, and did all this purely as part of his philanthropic initiatives for 3 months. In addition, he also enlisted to help with the physician shortage and pandemic response to a hospital in North Israel providing surgical and medical expertise.

Touch-A-Life Foundation recognizes Dr. Uri Gedalia for his outstanding contributions to society, both locally and internationally. Dr. Uri has not only improved the lives of many who were sick, but has paved the way for a new approach to medicine for the future with his humanistic and data-driven approach to medicine.

Ramu Dosapati Recognizes Ramu Dosapati as an unique covid warrior who has stepped forward to help the society during the rare catastrophe, our generation has witnessed.

Ramu Dosapati

A champion of social service

Ramu Dosapati has always been a champion of social service. He has devised many ways to create awareness for causes such as blood donation, road safety and environment. But his efforts after covid are really commendable.

Ramu has started an initiative called Rice ATM in Hyderabad, where any needy person could reach him for rice and groceries without a hesitation. This free of cost service has benefited thousands of people who otherwise had no way to cope up with hunger during the testing times of pandemic. Rice ATM has also delivered thousands of meals to the victims of covid. It’s interesting to note that Ramu has even dried out his savings amassed for purchasing a house, to help the needy.

It’s been more than 500 days since this Rice ATM initiative has started and there seems no end to it. Ramu has also shown livelihood to numerous people who have lost their jobs during the pandemic.

Touch-A-Life Foundation recognizes Ramu Dosapati as an unique covid warrior who has stepped forward to help the society during the rare catastrophe, our generation has witnessed. People like Ramu have rekindled our hopes for humanity and kindness and deemed to be recognized and honored.

Narasimha Chary Recognizes Narasimha Chary as a true champion of Social innovation that could resolve complex problems with simple solutions.

Narasimha Chary

A true champion of Social innovation

Hailing from a humble background of Nizamabad, Narasimha Chary is an example of true `Rural Innovator’. A few years back, Narasimha Chary made news with his interesting innovation that could relight old Mercury Tubelights. Every year, millions of tube lights are dumped as useless which has an adverse impact on the environment. The residue of mercury in tube light could poison the air, land and water around us which is indeed hazardous. These tube lights also pose harm to the health of rag pickers who are mostly children.

With the device invented by Narasimha Chary, mercury tube lights work until the chemical in them gets completely dried out. This has not only saved millions of rupees for people in rural areas but also helped the village communities to lighten up their areas with low cost. And of course, this has led to 0% mercury residue from tube lights which are the dream of every environmentalist.

Narasimha Chary has also invented a low cost UV-C light that could kill coronavirus within 15 seconds. These lights can be used to disinfect office and household premises. They could also be used to clean virus carriers like vegetables. His invention is also applicable to UV-A and UV-B lights which are used for phototherapy in hospitals.

Touch-A-Life Foundation recognizes Narasimha Chary as a true champion of Social innovation that could resolve complex problems with simple solutions.

Sai Padma Recognises Sai Padma as TAL Hero for her unmatched services for the needy and personal achievements which were indeed inspirational.

Sai Padma

A polio survivor with a regained voice

Sai Padma is a polio survivor with a regained voice after receiving treatment with 52 electric shocks. She struggled with multiple disabilities, yet successfully completed Post- graduation in Law, Commerce, Chartered Accountancy (Inter) and a Diploma in Carnatic Classical (Vocal).

She founded Global AID- Ability In Disability in 2007 to make a contribution in four areas Mobility, Accessibility, Employability, Sustainability of persons with physical, social, emotional disabilities. Global AID continues to support Health, Education, Agriculture and Livelihood of Tribal and Rural communities in remotest and inaccessible locations needing care and support. She is a singer, writer, wheelchair para-air rifle shooter and motivational speaker. She is a strategist, fundraiser and thought leader.

She has traveled widely on issues working on Not-for-profit policy, rehabilitation, disability rights centric conferences in Australia, USA, Singapore, Macau and Taiwan. Her views on women’s issues, aviation, banking, non-profit policy is well received and published in India and world-wide.

She has 25 years of non-profit and civil society management experience and taught supply chain management strategies in nonprofit management to MBA students in University of Wisconsin Whitewater, USA.

She has been chosen as one of the 100 Most Influential women by BBC under their #100 Women challenge for the year 2017 for her relentless work in the field of Women Empowerment, education, NGO management and disability rights in the community based in nonprofit sector.

TAL recognises Sai Padma as TAL Hero for her unmatched services for the needy and personal achievements which were indeed inspirational.

Touch-A-Life Foundation 2020 Heroes

Touch-A-Life Foundation is proud to honor those individuals who strive to make a difference in their communities.

Chris Funk Recognized for his undying efforts to make the dream of world class education a possibility, regardless of any disparities.

Chris Funk

A leader and reformer of education

Chris Funk, a native of San Jose… has graduated from Lincoln High School in 1985 and had a great honor of returning to the same institution as principal. During his tenure as principal at Lincoln, the school earned a 21st Century School of Distinction, Lighthouse Award, California Distinguished School Award, a six-year WASC Accreditation and closed the achievement gap between Hispanic and white students by 106 points, a 40% decrease in the gap.

His career in education has started as a teacher with the East Side Union High School District in 1990, and he has returned as the Superintendent with the goal of eliminating the “Opportunity Gap” by holding the entire organization responsible for attaining the goal of providing every student… a world-class education regardless of their economic, gender, or cultural background.

Chris is a member of the Board of Directors for Educare Silicon Valley, the East Side Education Foundation and East San Jose Kiwanis. He is also a member of the Advisory Board to `10,000 Degrees’… a rare organization that has been helping students from low-income backgrounds get to and through college.

Touch-A-Life Foundation recognizes Chris Funk as TAL Hero 2020, for his innumerable services in the field of education for more than three decades… shaping the future of thousands of students.

Mary Beth Riley Recognized for her services in the field of women education and empowerment.

Mary Beth Riley

Notable educationalist and champion of women empowerment

Mary Beth Riley is currently the principal of Notre Dame High School in San Jose, the oldest private high school for women in the state of California dating back to 1851. For more than 30 years, Mary Beth has served as a faculty member, teaching French, and an administrator at Notre Dame. She built an enrollment base in the early 2000s that is sustained today at maximum capacity. Her work as head of school has included strengthening school leadership, building the board of directors, adopting a campus master plan, and developing strategic vision and capital funds for long term sustainability… which all led to the strengthening of a rare institution.

Under her leadership, construction of the Center for Women’s Leadership was recently completed on the Notre Dame campus. She has also spearheaded the development of programs that, in addition to preparing young women for college and life beyond college, foster a deep understanding of social justice in a global community. She has been recognized by the Silicon Valley Business Journal as a Woman of Influence and received the Educational Excellence Award from the National Catholic Educational Association.

Touch-A-Life Foundation recognizes Mary Beth Riley for her efforts in strengthening an age old institution and being a steady source of mentoring thousands of students.

Ben Collier & James Kanoff Recognized for their inspiring social responsibility which has fed innumerous souls during the pandemic.

Ben Collier & James Kanoff

Social entrepreneurs and co-founders of FarmLink project

Ben Collier and James Kanoff didn’t keep whiling as their studies were disrupted by the pandemic. These college students have instead found a unique way to make use of their leisure time to help the needy. They along with their friends have found and organization called FarmLink. It raises money from donors in order to pay farm workers to pack surplus food which might be wasted and drivers to deliver the load to the distribution sites.

An estimate reveals that more than 20 billion pounds of produce is lost on farms every year in the US. This might be due to various reasons such as unavailability of labor, lack of demand and of course emergencies like lockdown which could obstruct the farming at many levels. This is where FarmLink has stepped in to create an impact. FarmLink volunteers have built databases of farms that are willing to donate surplus products and the food banks near them… and of course turned to be a bridge between them!

By November 13, 2020… more than 14 million pounds of farm products were delivered with the help of FarmLink, which could roughly convert to 11 million meals. That’s Huge!

Touch-A-Life Foundation recognizes Ben Collier and James Kanoff for their exceptional way of finding a way to combat hunger during the precarious pandemic time.

Gaurav Khanna Recognized for his momentous efforts in coaching Para Players and changing their lives.

Gaurav Khanna

Indian coach for Para Badminton Team

45 year old Gaurav Khanna from lucknow, was always passionate towards Badminton. He rose to the National Level and was aiming to become a world champion, but fate deceived him. A knee injury has forced Gaurav to end his career. Gaurav was offered a government job; however his passion for sport didn’t fade away.

Gaurav has decided to help disabled people to conquer the Badminton court. He started coaching people with hearing impaired. He learned their Sign Language and made them hear the sweet sound of success. The triumph of Gaurav has given him the chance to coach the Asian team as well.

His Journey with `Para Badminton National Team` has started in 2014 and medals started pouring in. In the year 2019 itself, his trainees has won 126 international medals. Parul Parmer, Manoj Kumar and Pramod Bhagat… the Arjuna Awardees in Para Badminton are few of his proud trainees. Many of his players have reached World Number One position at various levels.

Touch-A-Life Foundation recognizes Gaurav Khanna as 2020 TAL Hero for his dedication in coaching disabled sportsmen and giving them the wings of confidence.

Chinmayi Sripada Recognized for her social service and offering significant help to the needy during this pandemic.

Chinmayi Sripada

Versatile singer and social activist

With more than a thousand songs in eight languages, Chinmayi Sripada is the face of young Indian Talent. But her passion does not just include singing. Chinmayi is a successful entrepreneur. Resembling the power of Women Empowerment, she has been successfully running two companies... Blue Elephant and Isle of Skin. Chinmayi was recognized by none other than the US State Department as one of the talented entrepreneurs across the globe.

If a singer turned entrepreneur is a unique combination here is the real surprise. Chinmayi loves activism. Her work with foundations such as 17000 ft organization has proved her to be a beautiful soul. She is known to make albums purely to help NGO’s such as `Ma Niketan’… an orphanage in Maharashtra. Chinmayi has raised more than a hundred thousand dollars during the lockdown by singing songs on personal requests. More than 1,500 families benefited from her project.

Chinmayi is much more. Her YouTube series ‘Conversations with Chinmayi’ were made to promote indigenous arts, women empowerment, and health.

Touch-A-Life Foundation recognizes Chinmayi Sripada for taking time and patience to stand still despite her busy life, and observe the suffering of fellow humans.

Vijay Ram Recognized for his life dedicated to the environment and efforts to spread the message of conservation.

Vijay Ram

Environmentalist, Founder of 'Society for awareness and Vision on environment' organization

Vijay is a die-hard environmentalist from Hyderabad of India. On the professional front, he is the owner of the famous eateries `Emerald Sweets’ in Hyderabad. He is an ecologist by passion. Vijay was moved by the fact that the advent of Genetically Modified Seeds has driven the natural seeds away. He has started a movement to regenerate the extinct seeds and distribute them to farmers free of cost. He proved that natural farming could be possible with just 8 dollars per acre.

In 2006, Vijay established an NGO called `Society for awareness and Vision on environment` S.A.V.E to turn his passion into a revolution. S.A.V.E has conducted numerous workshops and seminars to encourage and lead farmers to better farming practices.

Vijay dedicates most of his time to guiding people for better farming. In times when farming is felt to be a failing profession, hundreds of landowners are turning their dry lands into food mines with the help of Vijay.

Touch-A-Life Foundation recognizes Vijay as a rare personality who has not only committed to an organic way of living, but has been devoting his life to spreading awareness.

Touch-A-Life Foundation 2019 Heroes

Touch-A-Life Foundation is proud to honor those individuals who strive to make a difference in their communities.

Garrett Jensen Recognized for his extraordinaire efforts in helping the community impacted by Type 1 Diabetes.

Garrett Jensen

Committee Co-Chair of the JDRF One Walk

At age 13, shortly after being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D), Garrett attended his first JDRF One Walk. JDRF offered him a support group. People who knew what he was going through, and offered him encouragement and knowledge. Since that first event, Garrett has been heavily involved in the community. Organizing teams for the annual JDRF One Walk and volunteering with organizations that serve families impacted by Type 1 Diabetes. He is nominated by his colleagues who say Garrett is a volunteer extraordinaire connecting many different pieces to make a huge impact in the community.

Touch-A-Life Foundation recognizes Garrett Jensen as a 2019 TAL Hero for his impact on the local community and the kindness he spreads to those impacted by Type 1 Diabetes. We applaud Garrett’s work as the Committee Co-Chair of the JDRF One Walk.

DR. Aseem Shukla Recognized for his outstanding contributions towards the community affected by urological diseases.

DR. Aseem Shukla

Director of Minimally Invasive Surgery at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

For more than a decade, Dr. Aseem has been making his mark in the field of urology. Currently, he is the Director of Minimally Invasive Surgery at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Dr. Aseem’s passion for alleviating the global burden of surgical disease led him to organize and demonstrate at live surgical workshops. These workshops spanned worldwide throughout Asia, Africa, South America and Europe. In its 10th year now, the collaborations between leading American children's hospital and India's most respected pediatric surgeons has been growing strong! Each surgery takes almost 12 hours to perform. Till date, nearly 200 children from India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Kenya, Uganda, Turkemenistan, Iran and more, have received life-changing surgery in India for absolutely no charge, as a result of the collaboration. Dr. Aseem is nominated for his outstanding contributions in the field of urology.

Touch-A-Life Foundation recognizes Dr.Aseem Shukla as a 2019 TAL Hero for his impact on the local and international community and the kindness he spreads to those impacted by urological diseases. We applaud Dr.Aseem’s work as the co-founder of the Hindu American Foundation and Assistant Secretary of the American Urological Association in developing pediatric urology as a discipline globally.

Marion Campbell Recognized for her exemplary activities impacting the education and workforce sector.

Marion Campbell

Executive Director and Co-founder of Eddie’s House and The ABLE Center

Marion Campbell is on a mission to empower lives by providing the disenfranchised members of our society a sense of belonging, a sense of self-worth and hope. For over 10 years Marion has tackled issues of homelessness, food insecurity, and supporting the underprivileged. She has overseen a variety of community programs, helping with job placement, education, fundraising, and shining a spotlight on the troubles facing the disadvantaged in our country.

Touch-A-Life Foundation recognizes Marion Campbell as a 2019 TAL Hero for her work as Executive Director and Co-founder of Eddie’s House and the ABLE Center where she has touched so many lives through her outreach, donations, and advocacy.

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