On May 13th, 2017, The 31st Love Festival was held at Santa Anita. Many people with different abilities from various organizations or groups came to meet at the park where they enjoyed a variety of small recreation. Every year, Love Festival has different hosts, rotating from one party to another party. This year, the event was held by All Nation Church(ANC).
As one of the volunteers from ANC, the teenage volunteers and I began the festival with a short exercise dance routine in front of other groups to encourage them to participate farther more. Experiencing the joy that rose from an idea of community, I really enjoyed being with those with different abilities. After a quick exercise, everyone went around to different booths to eat. I came back to my ANC booth and found my buddy. His name is Joshua. Because I already knew him from our church, it was easier for me to talk to him. Also, there was another volunteer, who volunteered for Joshua with me. Ironically, his name was also Joshua. The three of us went along the park and got mountains of food, and began to eat. I looked at my buddy and could see that he was really enjoying his lunch! This was a time of elation and happiness that did not come from usual everyday life.
Rebecca Song, another volunteer from ANC, stated that “the festival enables these individuals with disabilities to be able to freely dance and eat the things they wanna eat.” Everyone present at the event was elated by sharing and communicating what they have and what they wanted to discuss. Love Festival wasn’t one of those volunteerings that I had attended before, where I had to think about the duty of being helpful and being active; instead, I enjoyed my time there just by being supportive and becoming a friend to my buddy. Similar to my opinion, Rebecca Song also agreed that “volunteer[ing] at the festival and watch[ing] them[people with different abilities] enjoy their time” was a great opportunity for her and also for them “to go out and just have fun.”
Additionally to other events that occurred during the Love Festival, ANC produced further engagement from the people by holding lotteries between three to four songs that they have played.
The 31st Love Festival was an exciting day that gave a moment of break and happiness towards people who were present, I cannot wait to revisit next year and help out.