Offering information on the supportive resources of various Santa Monica city, business and nonprofit agencies, along with live entertainment, the Fourth Annual Unity Resource Festival will be held from 1 to 5:30 p.m. Sunday, March 7th at Virginia Avenue Park, 2200 Virginia Ave.

This year’s festival theme is “Community Counts.” The event is presented by the City of Santa Monica, Santa Monica College, South Bay Area Human Relations Council and the US Census 2010.

In the spirit of community service, the festival will also provide information on opportunities for residents to serve as volunteers in programs for youth and families throughout the city, an event spokesperson said.

Festival organizers said that in these economic times, an event such as this provides the opportunity to highlight resources that strengthen family support networks including employment, counseling, health services, after-school activities, art, food banks and more. For a community of residents known for civic involvement, the festival will provide opportunities to volunteer in all areas from tutoring to distributing food, they noted.

Free live entertainment will be featured throughout the event with such notable groups as the Westside Crew, a ten-piece live dance music band; DJ Peyote Cody & Back of the Hand Allstars (an ensemble of studio jazz musicians); a local dance band, S.O.G. Crew, performing rock/latin/gospel music; Chico & the Music Center Youth Band-Golden Monkeys, Pico Youth and Family Center Hip-Hop music and more.

A Youth Fun Zone will also be featured and includes art, games, a rock climbing wall, Silly Sally Balloons and activities/workshops offered by members of the Youth Collaborative.

The featured speaker this year will be producer/ director Rob Johnson, whose career spans 18 years of cutting edge film, television and music video work. He has recently produced the independent drama “The Obama Effect” starring, written and directed by actor Charles S. Dutton and is currently producing Queen Latifah’s, “The Cookout 2.”

Johnson plans to bring an inspirational message about individual and community strength and the importance of civic involvement.

The South Bay Area Human Relations Council is sponsoring an interactive booth at this year’s Unity Resource Festival. The booth is being planned with representatives from HRC, youth leadership groups from the community and Virginia Avenue Park staff.

Unity awards will be given for outstanding community service by an organization or individual. Sponsors include, the City of Santa Monica, Santa Monica College, Time-Warner Cable, Santa Monica-Bay Area Human Relations Council, Your Private Chef, and Trader Joe’s.

Food will be provided at the event and residents are asked to bring canned or packaged food for the Westside Food Bank. With parking limited at the park, visitors are encouraged to walk, bike or take the Big Blue Bus shuttle from Santa Monica College just blocks away.

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