Over 11,000 Los Angeles Residents Attended 2011 Fresh Start Community Festival - A Free Daylong Event Dedicated to Providing Local Families Hard Hit by the Economy With Back-to-School Supplies, Lunch, Entertainment, and More...

Sep 03, 2011, 21:47 ET from SEIU United Long Term Care Workers (ULTCW)

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 3, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, over 11,000 Los Angeles area residents enjoyed a day at Ted Watkins Park, participating in the 2011 Fresh Start Community Festival produced by SEIU United Long Term Care Workers (ULTCW).  The purpose of the free daylong festival is to provide families who have been hard hit by the economy with the break they need and to ensure that their children have the supplies necessary as they head back to school. Currently, in Los Angeles County alone, African Americans are facing 19% unemployment while Latinos are facing 14% unemployment.

(Photo:  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110903/LA62483 )

"The economy has impacted the lives of millions of families throughout Los Angeles.  From losing their jobs to losing their homes, this is a difficult time," said Laphonza Butler, president of SEIU ULTCW.  "The Fresh Start Festival is all about lending a hand to those in need and to let them know that we're all in this together…no one is alone.  Simply put, we could all use a Fresh Start."

"We came today to get backpacks and school supplies because we had no idea where the kids were going to get them this year.  Times are really tough.  We have no income," stated Loretta Torres who attended the Fresh Start Festival with her son, daughter, sister and niece.

The Fresh Start Festival featured FREE back-to-school supplies and backpacks, haircuts and nail polishing for children 5-15 years of age, health screenings, lunch, and family entertainment including the music of Salsa band Son Mayor, Aaron Nigel Smith, POWER 106 DJ Loud, R&B band Tyghtship, and the Taiko Drummers.  Festival attendees were also entertained by the DeLeon Circus, juggler Scot Nery, Rhythm Child, the Bob Baker Marionettes and more.  

Among the elected officials who joined the Fresh Start festivities were LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Assembly Speaker John Perez, State Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, Congresswoman Laura Richardson, Assemblymember Isadore Hall, LA City Controller Wendy Greuel, LA City Council President Eric Garcetti, and Carson City Councilmember Mike Gipson.

"I am delighted to take part in this important event that ensures so many children get the right start to this school year," Said Speaker Perez. "Education is so critical to our future as a state, and I am proud to be a part of an event where so many schoolchildren get the supplies and the encouragement they need to succeed in school."

In addition to the presenting sponsor, SEIU ULTCW, other sponsors included Office of Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, Office of LA City Council President Eric Garcetti, Brotherhood Crusade, Kinsey Family Foundation, California Forward, Marinello Beauty School, LA Barber College, Ted Watkins Memorial Park and the LA County Department of Parks and Recreation.

The LA Fresh Start Working Families Community Festival is made possible by the members of SEIU ULTCW, the United Long Term Care Workers' Union.  For more information on SEIU ULTCW, please visit www.ULTCW.org.

Contact: Wendy Carrillo - (213) 985-1694, Scott Mann - (323) 333-4850  

SOURCE SEIU United Long Term Care Workers (ULTCW)