Details on the Hispanic Heritage Festival to be held on Sept. 15 and the organization spearheading the effort were presented at this week's meeting of the Monett Kiwanis Club.
Adela Garcia, president of Asociaci--n Latina Imagen, explained how the new Monett service organization began in March. The group has already taken on a number of projects to benefit the local community.
According to Garcia, the association was started by a group that wants to make Monett a better place to live by doing projects that bring cultures together and help build a better future for youth in the community.
Currently, the group has over 20 members, including retired Monett Chamber of Commerce executive director Suzie McElmurry and Luis Cecenas from the Drury University staff in Monett. Leaders hope to expand the group's numbers.
Garcia said she also joined the Monett Main Street board because of her desire for people to work together.
|The association has undertaken a number of strategies. They brought a speaker from Kansas City who spoke with 67 parents in both English and Spanish about drugs and gang activity. Two miles of Business Highway 60 has been adopted for clean-up. Members helped at the Monett Community Kitchen serving meals on three occasions.|
A summer camp was also held at St Lawrence Catholic Church for 34 children from ages 9 to 15, offering crafts and dances in a positive environment. Members have helped pay for expenses for programs.
The group's biggest project to date takes place on Saturday, Sept. 15. Garcia said the Hispanic Heritage Month Festival will take place on Broadway from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Bands, folkloric dancers, Christian singers, Hispanic foods and activities for the whole family will be featured. Admission to the event is free and all are encouraged to come.
A resident of Monett for 22 years, Garcia said a job for many Hispanic families is more important than education. For some, it may have been a matter of survival, but she wanted to work for a more positive future including getting more kids to college.
Garcia has worked and saved to get her three children through college. She spoke of a girl who graduated two years ago in the top 10 percent of her class, but is just now able to start taking a few college classes. Garcia sees the Asociaci--n Latina Imagen as one way to help make the community of Monett better for all.
Garcia was introduced by program chairman Gordon Brown.
The Monett Kiwanis Club meets at noon on Tuesdays for a meal and a program, usually at Happy House restaurant.