On June 15, 2013, 14-year-old Anna Mirabai Lytton was riding her bike to the CVS on Pantigo Lane in East Hampton when she was struck and killed by an SUV. Anna’s life was cut short far too soon, but she left behind a lasting impression on those who loved her. To honor her memory, the nonprofit Anna Mirabai Lytton Foundation was established in 2014, a tribute to a young girl who was passionate about creativity and wellness.
Kate Rabinowitz and Rameshwar Das inspired Anna and her brother, James, to love travel. She visited England, Scotland, Italy, New Mexico, Colorado, Washington, and Vermont.
“My husband and I have both traveled extensively and know how formative those experiences were in our lives,” Rabinowitz said. “I lived in Europe as a teenager, studied abroad in college, traveled and studied in Asia. My husband, Rameshwar Das, traveled to India after college, returning as an inspired photographer, writer, and spiritual practitioner. We felt it would be important for our kids to learn self-sufficiency, tolerance, and resilience in foreign cultures.”
Rabinowitz recalled her daughter’s voice, a year prior to the accident, saying, “Mom, I want to go everywhere and see this world and different people.” The family would daydream about their future trips, camping across countries and living in foreign cities. Anna’s passions didn’t end there, she was a prolific reader and writer since the age of five — favorite books being “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak and “Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him” by Bret Witter and Luis Carlos Montalvan. Her adoration for animals led to the family welcoming Razzle, an ARF rescue dog who has been Rabinowitz’s therapy dog since Anna’s passing.
“Anna brought out the best in everyone in her life, and in her death,” Rabinowitz continued. Together with some of Anna’s childhood friends, they set up the foundation’s art projects at Springs School, as well as a mural painted between the music and art rooms, a tree of life showcasing Anna’s beloved images on each branch. To this day, some aid in the visiting artist program and creative workshops at the annual Watermill Center Art Day for the Springs sixth-grade class.
“Anna Mirabai Lytton Foundation brings programs in arts and wellness to underserved parts of the community. Schools need more programs in creative arts, yoga, plant-based local natural food cooking, photography, and poetry writing. These are all activities Anna loved, and we want to give these opportunities to other young people, to give them tools of health, creativity and sense of self that can guide them to make good choices.” Additional programs include art and journalistic photography, creative writing, mindfulness, and video documentary.
Currently, the foundation is seeking photographers to come support and teach in classrooms. There is a course with Jeremy Dennis and Megan Chaskey in poetry and photography, “Creating your Epic Narrative,” in collaboration with Guild Hall, that the foundation hopes to expand to other schools and community centers. Other goals are expanding the plant-based cooking classes and increasing the volunteer base.
Visit www.annalyttonfoundation.org for more information and to be part of the effort.