African Festival Expanding To Better Serve The Youth

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African Youth Leadership program finds new leadership in Alice Penny, local community activist. Bring on the Sunshine African Festival has run for 8 years and has grown and prospered. Each year, over 5000 people of diverse origins celebrate their differences in a one day dindindi (African family Party!) right here at Kitchener City Hall on Family day in February.

In fact, its next stage of growth is to transition Alice Penny to the role of Festival Director, whilst Jacqui moves into an Operations role.

While the festival is an amazing day of fun for family and friends during the dark month of February, it has an important role in providing mentorship and leadership opportunities for young people aged 18 – 35 years old who come from marginalized and often diverse communities. After migrating to North America for College Alice Penny has first hand experience and can relate to youth struggling to see themselves as leaders in a world that often does not see that in them.

Penny says, “The festival provides a wonderful platform for folks whose voices are often not heard, and whose faces are not seen in the wider community as well as celebrating the  best of our African cultures! However I see the Festival’s role as being more than a great day out for the family – but a chance for our youth to shine. My goal is continue to grow and develop opportunities for our youth as we enhance the festival through our creative and community partnerships.”  

Alice commented “The first big change is that we are moving the event from Monday to Sunday – it gives us more freedom to expand the event AND our volunteers get a day off before heading back to work or school!” Alice Penny has been a core team member of the event from year one, and brings many years of training and experience in Finance and accounting as well as community development to the role.

Terry states, “ The community has really owned this event, which started out in a church basement 10 years ago.  I’m so excited to continue supporting our youth from a different spot – and thrilled to see how far we can go with this event – our 10 year anniversary is in 2020, so expect great things!  We know the community loves this event – so now we need the community to stand behind us and support us financially through sponsorships to find the funds to support it – we would like to raise $10,000 in sponsorships to make it continue to work!  ”

If you are interested in supporting the event though donations, sponsorship or volunteering, please email info@bringonthesunshine.ca or visit www.bringonthesunshine.ca

Bring on the Sunshine is a community organization  hosting a Family day Festival, celebrating Africa, Culture, community and Family during Black History Month and a week long day camp in the summer, called Africa Camp designed to share in the riches of all of our African cultures with youthful Canadians of every origin with a direct focus  on those of African heritage. We work closely with the K-W Multicultural Center and with Adventure for Change. These organizations do exceptional work with newcomers and youth in our region. Giving them roots so they can grow wings!