Leela "The Lioness"
Despite being in many difficult financial situations throughout her life, my mother Leela Padmanabhan always found creative ways to help those in need. I have always believed in giving back to the community, and I know that this trait emanated from my mom. I created APS Training Academy to honor her memory, and continue the legacy she left behind, by providing FREE and low cost career training to the under-served communities in my hometown of Aurora, IL.
My mother, lovingly referred to as Lioness, was the District Chairperson for Women Empowerment of the Lions Club in Chennai, India (my place of birth). After her passing in September of 2019, the Lions Club of Chennai held a commemoration ceremony in her honor. It was during this celebration that I truly began to understand the depth of her involvement in the Lions Club, and just how great of a financial impact she made.
Suffering from Parkinson’s during her last years, my mother required round the clock care from my Father. I made sure all her needs were being met, so I found it a complete mystery that she would frequently ask me for monetary help. It was not until the honors ceremony that I finally realized what she needed it for.
The money my mother collected was used to fund countless eye-operations for the needy, wheelchairs for the handicapped, and food camps for families who could not afford meals. Never once did she seek recognition for her selfless acts, and were it not for those honoring her efforts, I would have remained clueless!
When the Lions Club asked me to come on stage to collect the award on her behalf, my vision blurred with tears. It was at that moment that it hit me, regardless of her declining health, or financial situation, she never stopped giving. Her love, generosity, and humility will forever remain etched into my heart, and I am determined to continue her legacy through APS!
Harish Ananthapadmanabhan - Board President