The Lower Yakima Valley (i.e. Sunnyside) has so much talent and venues in which to express that talent.
Every day, I’m reminded of just how many opportunities there are for every age group in our community to perform in public. I’m so excited about the current remodel of the old bank at the corner of Decatur and South Seventh Street, being undertaken by the Valley Performing Arts Center.
What a wonderful addition to our downtown core. Erin Martin and Elizabeth Moss and their supporters are to be commended for their work to put Sunnyside talent on the map.
I would be remiss not to mention the longtime talent standard bearer — Martin School of Dance — when talking about avenues where children and adults can learn all manner of dance. Now under the direction of Marcie Wall, the dance center on East Edison Avenue annually produces a bevy of dancers, who go on to do great things in theater, both community and high school theater.
The addition of the Valley Performing Arts Center has expanded the performing venues to YouTube, creating a whole new avenue of artistic expression stamped with the Sunnyside hometown label.
The early training finds a larger audience when the students of music and dance and acting hit the local dramatic stages.
Sunnyside High and Sunnyside Christian High schools both present shows each year that are above par and worth the price of admission.
When people tell me that we don’t have enough for our students to do, I point to the local dance schools, the school music departments, and to the various youth sports programs – both in the schools and private clubs.
We have individuals, in this community, like Coach Cruz Ramos, who opened his garage to train future Golden Gloves and. and John Rodriguez, who gives tennis lessons each summer. Not to mention the untold number of AAU and soccer league coaches like Miquel Lugo, who spend weekends training future good citizens and athletes.
We have a very nice community center at South Hill Park, where children can hang out after school to play ball or read, color and learn crafts, under adult supervision.
This doesn’t even include the number of adults who give of their time and money to be advisors for Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and 4-H clubs.
This is not to say we can’t use more youth leaders willing to lend a hand to keep young minds and hands busy staying out of mischief- because we have a lot of kids in this city. A recent enrollment count showed that more than 6,500 children attend public schools alone.
So, if you love kids much as I do, find your niche. Find a way to volunteer. Use your talent to mentor future talent.