A coalition of local nonprofits, lead by the Palo Alto Family YMCA, are teaming up to host a free community festival this Saturday, Nov. 8, with the goal of encouraging children and youth to embrace their cultural identities.
The festival will feature a range of interactive activities and performances designed to help youth find pride in the things that make them unique, such as ethnicity, faith, religion, family status, gender, language, sexual orientation and/or a disability.
A new art exhibit showcasing work submitted through the Palo Alto Art Center's youth challenge will be unveiled at the festival. The exhibit will include pieces in a variety of art mediums, focused on personal expression and pride in one's own identity.
There will also be a youth fashion show featuring cultural heritage apparel. All youth attending the event are invited to participate by wearing clothes that showcase their cultural identity.
All attendees will receive a passport that can be "stamped" for participating in each of the different activities and turned in at the end of the event for a prize.
There will also be food that "reflect and celebrate the rich cultural ethnic diversity" in the community, according to a YMCA press release.
The community celebration runs parallel to the YMCA's recognition of November as "Character Development Month." Positive cultural identity is one of the 41 developmental assets that the YMCA of Silicon Valley has identified as critical to ensuring children and teens thrive socially and emotionally.
"At the Y, we are committed to bringing the community together to advance youth development, healthy living and social responsibility," Palo Alto Family YMCA Executive Director Lee Pfab said in the release. "Ensuring that youth feel comfortable with and proud of their unique identities is absolutely critical to helping them build self-confidence and develop a strong sense of belonging, which will ultimately help them succeed in school and life."
This first annual community festival is being organized by Abilities United, Castilleja School, Midpeninsula Community Media Center, Outlet, Palo Alto Adult School, Palo Alto Art Center, Palo Alto Family YMCA, Palo Alto University and the YMCA of Silicon Valley's Project Cornerstone.
IF YOU'RE GOING:
When: Saturday, Nov. 8, 2 to 5 p.m.
Where: Palo Alto Family YMCA, 3412 Ross Road, Palo Alto
Info: Call the Palo Alto Family YMCA at 650-856-9622