The City of Santa Monica, Santa Monica College, South Bay Area Human Relations Council, and the US Census 2010 presented the Fourth Annual Unity Resource Festival on March 7th at Virginia Avenue Park.
This year’s festival theme was “Community Counts and featured information on city, business and non-profit agencies that strengthen the community with supportive resources.
Free live entertainment such as the Westside Crew, a ten piece live dance music band; DJ Peyote Cody and Back of the Hand Allstars (an ensemble of studio jazz musicians); favorite local dance band, S.O.G. Crew, rock/latin/gospel music; Chico and the Music Center Youth Band-Golden Monkeys, P.Y.F.C. HipHop Music; and many others drew crowds and entertained attendees.
The Youth Fun Zone was bigger than ever this year including art, games, a rock climbing wall, Silly Sally Balloons and activities/workshops offered by members of the Youth Collaborative.
In the spirit of community service, the festival provided information on opportunities for residents to serve as volunteers in programs for youth and families throughout the city.
The producers and sponsors of the festival felt that the festival provides the opportunity to highlight resources that strengthen family support networks including employment, counseling, health services, after-school activities, art, food banks and more. For a community of residents known for civic involvement, the festival provided opportunities to volunteer in all areas from tutoring to distributing food.
Rob Johnson, Producer/Director, who has a distinguished career spanning 18 years of cutting edge film, television and music video work, was the featured speaker this year. He has recently produced the independent drama The Obama Effect starring, written and directed by Charles S. Dutton and is currently producing Queen Latifah’s, The Cookout 2. Rob spoke about individual and community strength and the importance of civic involvement promoting the idea that together, we can all make a positive difference in our communities.
The South Bay Area Human Relations Council sponsored an interactive booth, with representatives from HRC, youth leadership groups from the community, and Virginia Ave Park staff. Youth will organize and coordinate the booth at the festival for all to enjoy.
Also for the 4th year, Unity awards were given for outstanding community service by an organization or individual. Sponsors include, the City of Santa Monica, Santa Monica College, Time-Warner Cable, Santa Monica-Bay Area Human Relations Council, Your Private Chef, and Trader Joe’s.
Delicious food was provided by the Barbie’s Q, India Jones Chow Truck and the Gourmet Quickie. Residents are asked to bring canned or packaged food for the Westside Food Bank. Parking at the park is limited so walk, bike or take the Big Blue Bus shuttle from Santa Monica College just blocks away! Virginia Avenue Park is wheelchair accessible and welcomes persons of all abilities.