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Multicultural Festival Shines Despite Weather
DSNI’s annual Multicultural Festival (MCF) is a fun day for neighborhood families, with activities celebrating the rich diversity of the Dudley neighborhood, food, music, games and several bouncy houses, but it is also the culmination of a summer of hard work on the part of DSNI’s youth. Four youth teams worked on issues related to Food (building raised beds in collaboration with The Food Project), Education (putting on the Pop-Up Museum), Land (upkeep of the Dudley Neighbors Inc. land trust properties) and People (organizing for the Festival) in our neighborhood.
Nancy Baiza, 17, was on the People Team and says of the MCF, “We knew what we wanted it to be like, but the process of getting it was hard.” A big part of their work was raising money to cover the costs associated with the festival. After participating in a fundraising training with DSNI’s resource development consultant, Liz O’Connor, the youth put on a series of fundraisers in preparation for the MCF. Running two car washes, and a bake sale, and soliciting neighborhood businesses to buy space in an adbook was a lot of work, but it paid off – youth raised $10,000 through the Multicultural Festival and upcoming Walk for Dudley combined.
Twenty year-old Sam Taveres, who is a Penn State student and the youth’s supervisor this summer, said “It was challenging to motivate the youth.” “I’m torn between wanting to do it again next year, because I know I’ll do it so much better, and never wanting to do it again,” he laughed.
Sam’s efforts and those of the youth paid off, however, in more ways than one. Despite tornado and flood watches that caused postponement from the original date and some light rain on the tents and bouncy houses the day of the festival, a good time was had by all. And the youth undoubtedly gained skills and perspective as a result of their summer experiences. Said Isaiah Wilkerson, 17, of the Education Team, “Whatever comes to my plate, I’m ready for it.”
To see more photos of the festival, visit our facebook page!