Gargs are Named Citizens of the Year

Hemant & Arti Garg are OPRA Citizens of the Year
Posted on 02/01/2020
OPRA Citizens of the Year



The indoor playground for preschoolers.

Hemant and Arti Garg Are Recognized as Citizens of the Year

In 2006, Hemant and Arti Garg received the worst news a parent can: That their six-year-old daughter, Yukta, had been killed in a car crash as she was leaving the Washington Township Recreation Center after a day at summer camp.
In the 13 years since, the Gargs have transformed their grief into action, founding the Yukta Garg Memorial Foundation to support community efforts that benefit and support the interests of local children. Their fundraising has made it possible to establish three separate playgrounds on the township’s recreation campus. 
Ribbon cuttingFor their efforts, Hemant and Arti Garg have been recognized as Citizens of the Year by the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association. “Because of their activism and altruism, three recreation center playgrounds reverberate with the sound of children’s laughter, mirroring Yukta’s vivacious spirit,” said Recreation Director Mark Metzger.
“We wanted to relate Yukta’s memory with happy things and what she used to love,” explains Arti Garg. “When we see kids playing, making friends, making their own sweet memories, laughing, running around, we see our daughter, Yukta.”
Inspired by Yukta’s love of butterflies, the Butterfly Playground was the first to be designed and installed. It was followed by the Nature Sounds Playground that reflects her love of music and includes six large outdoor instruments.
In 2019, the preschool playground celebrated its grand opening in the Rec West building. The play space is protected from the elements, but offers an outdoor neighborhood feeling, said Metzger. “The idea was that it would celebrate Yukta’s passions and be a gift to other children in our community from Yukta herself.”
seatingOver the years, the Gargs have organized a series of concerts featuring internationally known singers and musicians from the Bollywood film industry as well as concerts featuring local talent. Together, they have raised more than $50,000 for the playgrounds.
“They are so inspirational to me and to many people in the community,” said Linda Madden, retired recreation supervisor who worked with the Gargs on the outdoor projects. “From their efforts, these beautiful play spaces have been created, designed in their daughter’s memory, and are well utilized today within the community.”

posterNext Bollywood Concert is March 1

The 9th annual Bollywood Gala takes place at 3 pm Sunday, March 1 at Rec West, 965 Miamisburg-Centerville Rd., on the Washington Township Recreation campus.

The gala features Bollywood music, including evergreen hits by talents in our community. Complimentary snacks will be served at the public event for adults and children ages five and older. Admission is free, but donations are accepted and are fully tax deductible.

Proceeds benefit the Yukta Garg Memorial Foundation that supports the interests of local children.