Shanti Bhavan students create short animation videos…about PIRATES!

These two stop-motion animations are the result of a 5th grade collaborative art project during the 2011-2012 academic year, led by Shanti Bhavan Volunteer, Felicia Cleveland.

After learning the principles of making a stop-motion animation–imagine a flip-book using photos on the computer–each student designed their own story-board. Two were selected to be made into animations and both, coincidentally, were about pirates!

The 5th graders worked together in two teams to make the backgrounds, characters and props by hand and then transformed the photographs into the films with the help of Felicia.

It was a long, complicated process, and they worked extremely hard — well done 5th graders! We hope you enjoy these short animations!



Supporting hearts and “soles” with shoes!

Thanks to ASTEP Board Members Sheryl Calabro and Jerry Steichen for organizing a shoe-drive for the students we work with in India. 40 pairs!

And a big thank you to ASTEP Volunteer Artist Rebecca Wolf who will be brining these shoes with her when she travels to Shanti Bhavan next week.

These shoes will definitely be cherished.

If you are interested in supporting ASTEP’s programs through a fundraiser or organizing your own supply-drive, please contact Davinia Troughton at


The Hun School of Princeton donates to Shanti Bhavan Children’s Project

Over the past few months, Katie Kubala, an ASTEP Volunteer Artist, has been preparing for her trip to Shanti Bhavan Children’s Project in India. A student at The Hun School of Princeton, Katie and her friend, Austin Bommer, arrived last week and will spend a total of  two and half weeks teaching dance to the students there. With the support of the Community Service Club at The Hun School of Princeton, Katie helped secure 30 scientific calculators (a suitcase-full!) for Shanti Bhavan!

Thank you for supporting our efforts with this thoughtful and useful donation! The students were thrilled to receive this new technology and have already begun to call them “calcies”!

Headmaster Jonathan Brougham and Community Service Head Lynn McNulty present Katie Kubala with a donation of 30 scientific calculators  for the students of Shanti Bhavan in India.


A graduating senior from the Class of 2012 at Shanti Bhavan shares his love of dance.

Dancing has no boundaries. No limits.

By: Praveen, a 12-grader and ASTEP student from Shanti Bhavan Children’s Project in India

A small skinny twelve-year-old boy stood in the corner, watching the girls dance. He wanted to go there and join them. However, fear of embarrassing himself and dancing in a group of girls held him back. He wasn’t that good at games and wasn’t sure if he was at dancing either.

I am that boy.

Five years later, I still remember that moment when the two ASTEP volunteers caught me and asked me to join in. Surprisingly, I did. I discovered that I loved moving to the music. Dancing became my passion. Over the years, I’ve danced in all forms: hip-hop, ballet (a little bit), salsa, classical and modern dance. Hip-hop is my favorite. I can also dance with a group of girls, no worries there! I’ve realized that dancing has no boundaries, no limits.

Anybody can dance.

Dancing makes the audience as happy as the dancer. I’d like to thank ASTEP for helping me to realize what a wonderful world dancing is.

For Yeshwini, a student at Shanti Bhavan in India, playing piano is magic!


When Mary Mitchell first came to Shanti Bhavan, she played us songs from Dhoom Machale and Titanic. I loved her way of playing the piano. I loved the way the music that she played kept my friends happy, interactive, and excited.

In my mind I thought one day, I will get to play the piano and I will be like Mary.

In the 5th grade I said to myself, “You will never get to play the piano,” and then I heard the word “piano” which distracted me from my negative thoughts. It was Mrs. Ruth asking us who wants to learn the piano. Eighteen hands shot into the air. All eighteen hands restlessly waiting to be chosen.

Then Mrs. Ruth saw me and asked, “Yeshwini, do you want to play the piano?”

My heartbeat was 5X more than the normal heartbeat. All seventeen eyes looked at me eagerly waiting for my answer.

With an excited voice, I said, “Yes!”

Then Mrs. Ruth smiled at me and wrote my name on the board. I was full of mixed feelings. I wondered how easy or difficult it is to play the piano. At 4:00 pm, Mrs. Ruth called me and told me that ASTEP Volunteer Artist Katherine would be my teacher. After my first lesson, I thought playing the piano is not as easy as you think. I walked out of the music room with a tired mind. Till now, I try my best to get to the level Mary Mitchell plays and I know I will.

— Yeshwini (7th grade SB student)


+ Visit Get Involved to learn more about our arts programs in India and how to become an ASTEP Volunteer Artist!


ASTEP volunteers celebrate with Shanti Bhavan graduates

Graduation is always an important time of year, especially for the students we work with at Shanti Bhavan in India. In addition to celebrating the graduating class, this is also a moment where they can showcase their talent and perform for the entire community. A big festive occasion!

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