The 2014 Festival of Readers, held on Saturday, April 26, on the beautiful campus of Mission College was a great success! Over 800 parents and children enjoyed a beautiful day of fun activities focused on the importance of reading as a family. In addition to arts, crafts, book giveaways, and games, the crowd was treated to an entertainment program of music and storytelling representing multicultural traditions from around the world.
The program was masterfully hosted by Fidel Ramirez, Director of Youth Services at Youth Policy Institute. Local talent was represented by the Friends of the Family Glee Club from Maclay Academy of Social Justice, Unusual Suspects Theatre workshop participants from San Fernando High School, the Aztec Indian dance troupe Temachitia Quetzalcoztl, and the talented mariachi singer, Ariana Segura, a music student at Heroes of Life in Pacoima. They were joined onstage by Onochie Chukwurah, a gifted African storyteller, and the On Ensemble, internationally renowned Japanese taiko drum artists. The day’s events culminated in a dramatic taiko drum performance by the On Ensemble and a rousing rendition of the currently popular song “Happy” led by the FOF Glee Club.
Friends of the Family founded the Festival of Readers in 2003 as an extension of the agency’s popular family literacy program and as a way of engaging the community around the importance of reading in the home as crucial to children’s school success. Holding the event on a college campus increases families’ familiarity with local pathways to higher education.
This year Friends of the Family partnered with Youth Policy Institute and L.A. Promise Neighborhoods to present the Festival of Readers. Other community partners who provided invaluable support and participation included Assembly Member Felipe Fuentes, the Center for Civic Mediation, Child Care Resource Center, CHIR LA, LAC Health Department, First 5 LA, the Help Group / Project Safe, Heroes of Life, Los Angeles Education Partnership, M.E.N.D., Montegue Community Action Group, Options for Youth, Our Streets Dreams, the Pacoima Library, Tia Chuchas, and Youth Speak Collective / Project Youth Green. In addition, over 100 volunteers made the day possible with hard work and good humor! On behalf of everyone in our community, we extend our heartfelt appreciation for your contributions!