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Literacy Festival Celebrates Community

Greater Kansas City LISC partnered with the Kansas City Missouri (KCMO) School District, Westside Housing Organization, the Kansas City Museum and New Eden Projects to host a literacy fair in Kansas City’s Northeast District. The May 27 event included a Mother Goose parade, carnival games and literary activities for the 3 and 4 year old children at the Scarritt Early Learning Center (SELC). The Scarritt Renaissance neighborhood is among the six communities that participate in the Greater Kansas City LISC NeighborhoodsNOW program.

The program works to revitalize struggling neighborhoods into sustainable communities and ultimately improve the quality of life for residents. Civic leaders, community organizers and educators participated in the Mother Goose parade by reading their favorite children’s story in costume.The parade took the children through several “stations” where they could interact with the characters and enjoy story-based activities. The fair served as a celebration of the students’ accomplishments and the final year of operation for the center, which was among the 21 schools recently closed by the KCMO district.

NeighborhoodsNOW Community Organizer, Danilo Aguilar helped coordinate the event. Aguilar leads the community development projects in Scarritt Renaissance and has worked  to revitalize the area by improving safety, resident engagement and community leadership. Principal, Dr. Gayle Bradshaw, collaborated with Aguilar on the literacy fair and many other events.

“I want to personally recognize Danilo Aguilar for the day he first stepped into Scarritt,” said Bradshaw. “From those first steps, we now have a Neighborhood Watch group,; more community volunteers, a partnership with the Kansas City Museum, neighbors that are more aware of their surroundings,; community help for utilities, community mortgage programs and much more.”

Aguilar saw the fair as an opportunity to celebrate the center and the progress the community has made through the NeighborhoodsNOW program.

“We wanted to have the fair as a celebration of the school’s achievements, and to not let the closings knock us down. We’ve built the foundation for change and for the sake of the school, we have to keep pushing on,” said Aguilar. “LISC provided the funds so the fair could happen and John Wood [LISC Senior Program Officer] was a reader which people enjoyed. When a philanthropic organization and its members are present at these grassroots events, the people get a sense of what our programs are doing.”  

NeighborhoodsNOW - Improving Access to Quality Education