Local organizations set up booths to connect families with resources on health, education and more. Participants included the Phyllis Wheatley YWCA, Boys and Girls Clubs, New Directions Health Care, Knoxville Area Urban League, local churches and the fire department, which gave children fire hats.
Real Talk Inc. founder Clarence Swearengen said the event seeks to “enrich, encourage and empower youth through shared-life experiences.” Now drawing around 1,000 attendees, the festival provides a platform for community groups to build relationships and help address issues like violence that affect Knoxville families.
“For over 15 years, the program has provided a safe place for youth to share their stories and get the resources they need for their health and wellbeing,” Swearengen said. “The programs community footprint is steadily growing.”