St. Peter's YSS:
Ian is a regular volunteer at the St Peter’s Youth Social Service popularly called the YSS, which was founded on 1st March, 1970 at St. Peter's Church, Bandra, Mumbai. True to their motto "We serve others to show we care” they do some commendable work to help the local children and youth of Bandra. This includes various programmes and events like maintaining/organising a subsidised library and reading room, employment bureau, blood donation camps, text book distribution, various sports tournaments, medical check-up camps, interaction meetings with civil services like police and municipal authorities, etc. Ian is involved in almost all their activities the year round.
However, the pride and joy of the YSS has always been organising their Annual Summer Holiday Club for school children which they conduct during the entire month of May. This year was their 46th year and they had over 226 children and 45 volunteers. Since a few of the volunteers were professional coaches and the children had access to this specialised training at no extra fees. Activities include Football, Basketball, Cricket, Carrom, Chess, Quizzes, King and Queen Competition, etc. As you rightly guessed the children were continuously harassing Ian to show them more magic. Some children would even continuously follow him around in case he showed someone else a trick or two.
After the Summer Holiday Club ended all the volunteers went for a picnic to Lonavala. They stayed at St. Stanislaus Villa, a luscious green resort, the perfect haven for a short getaway, just 100 kms from Mumbai with easy accessibility from both Lonavala & Khandal Railway station. St. Stanislaus Villa was more than adequate to accommodate the entire group as consists of two sprawling bungalows with 23 rooms, a main hall, dining room and kitchen. There’s also a quaint tranquil Chapel for the pious ones. After spending so much time in the city its really refreshing to be surrounded by natural magnificence - tall trees and bushes, birds chirping, swings, benches in yellow, hammocks, open spaces to run & play in and nooks & crannies to discover on your stroll. And although it was still summer the night was extremely cold. In the night they had a 10 foot high bonfire, barbecued some chicken and sang and danced the night away.
It was near mid night when Ian saw something truly magical. He left the bonfire and went to a secluded part of the villa. And all he could see was the entire landscape full of fireflies.
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