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Frank Ferry: City’s cultural celebration

Live From City Hall

Posted: February 19, 2009 10:17 p.m.
Updated: February 20, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Frank Ferry

 
This month the city of Santa Clarita will bring its "A Season of Diversity" program to a close with an essay and poster contest award ceremony slated for Feb. 23 at the city's Activity Center.

The 2008-09 season included a series of free events and programs designed to promote cultural understanding in our community.

Created by the city's Human Relations Forum, the program's mission is to encourage, assist and empower Santa Clarita adolescents to eliminate all forms of discrimination and to promote understanding and appreciation of human differences.

The 2008-09 program's schedule showcased a number of highlights, including the recent Horizon Line Compassion Play, held at Valencia High School, which explored the seeds of prejudice to teach young people and adults alike the importance of compassion and understanding.

In addition to this riveting play, the program also saw record turnout for the essay and poster contest, with 679 total submissions - a 37-percent increase over last year.

The topic of this year's contest, "How is your life better by having friends of different cultures?" prompted an unrivaled number of submissions from children living in Santa Clarita's culturally diverse community.

The city continued to keep kids interested and interactive in the program with one-of-a-kind presentations at city libraries, the Newhall Community Center and other local venues.

The culture night at the Community Center and the youth summit at the William S. Hart Union High School District, which taught students the importance of respecting ourselves and others, also saw a large turnout.

The city carries on the Season of Diversity message throughout the year with a host of activities, events, programs and excursions that expose residents to various cultural backgrounds.

Community members of all ages can enjoy a host of projects and classes with a multicultural emphasis at any one of the city's recreation sites - all available through Seasons magazine or at www.santa-clarita.com/seasons.

Traditional dance classes - ballet and Latin ballroom dancing disciplines including tango, ballet folklorico and salsa - are available for teens and adults. Community members can also enroll in contemporary dance classes like sassy jazz, hip-hop and belly dancing.

Residents can also learn about other cultures while achieving their fitness goals with cardio-bhangra, Tai-Chi, Qigong and Ju-Jitsu, as well as long list of yoga, pilates and kickboxing classes suitable for residents of all ages, health levels and experience.

The city also offers programs designed to enrich the youth community while teaching the importance of multicultural understanding. Language classes, such as Mandarin and Chinese for young children and a Spanish club, are available. There are also guitar and drum lessons, tumbling, wake boarding, ice skating, fencing, karate and more.

Adults wishing to get away - without going too far - will be able to take part in an exciting and culturally rich excursion to Danish Days in Solving this fall, complete with wine tasting.

The 2008-2009 Season of Diversity program served as an exciting and successful program underlining the city's philosophy and mission to recognize humans, human feelings and the importance of the individual all year long.

Both the city's Human Relations Forum, created in May 1994 as a task force to promote the understanding and appreciation of cultural diversity in the city, and its Season of Diversity program provide residents with powerful tools to enrich their lives.

In today's society where our world keeps growing smaller, Santa Clarita will continue to educate our community and celebrate the undeniable importance of cultural appreciation.

Frank Ferry is mayor of Santa Clarita. "Live from City Hall" is a column provided to The Signal by the city of Santa Clarita. His column reflects his own views not necessarily those of The Signal.

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