In its 14th year, HopeFest ’19 attracted over 3,500 attendees and 180 exhibitors and performers to the Northeast Early College High School campus on Saturday, October 26. Sponsored by Austin Voices in partnership with local community organizations, schools, churches, service providers, and businesses, HopeFest has become Austin’s largest campus-based family resource fair.
From a large stage with all-day performances to fields, 3 gymnasiums and cafeteria, HopeFest spreads throughout the Northeast campus, given families a full day of services and family fun. HopeFest is also a celebration of community, with “Community Hero” awards given during lunch. This year’s awards were given to former Northeast Principal Anabel Garza, local St. John poet and mentor Thelma Williams and former St. John Neighborhood Association President Julie Weeks. The awards were presented by AISD Superintendent Paul Cruz, and AISD Trustees Ann Teich and Latisha Anderson.
Financial support for this year’s HopeFest came from Austin Voices, Ambetter by Superior Healthplan, Covenant Presbyterian Church and local businesses.
A sample of services and activities provided at HopeFest include . . .
- 1,800 meals served at lunch
- Fresh fruits and vegetables were provided by Capital of Texas Food Bank for 750 families
- Bookspring gave away over 2,000 free children’s books
- 250 families received free children’s clothing
- 500 mature trees and shrubs were given away by Treefolks
- 525 families registered for Christmas assistance through Blue Santa (225) and Operation Christmas Gift (300)
- 200 flu shots were provided (100 from Austin Public Health and 100 from Walgreen’s)
- 300 adults received health screenings, including blood pressure, blood sugar and other screenings) by various providers, including Austin Public Health, College of Health Care Professions and UT School of Nursing.
- Dental screenings, information, free toothbrush kits and referrals were provided by six dental providers, including ACC Dental Hygiene
- National Kidney Foundation screened 55 adults for kidney disease (blood pressure, BMI, ACR urinalysis test, clinician consult, resources)
- Immunization referrals were made to the St. John Community Center/Austin Public Health
- Over 200 vision screenings were provided by the Lion’s Club
- 221 families were screened for health insurance, SNAP and a medical home by CommUnity Care and Central Texas Food Bank.40 made follow-up appointments with CommunityCare for health insurance and 10 made appointments to apply for Medicaid, CHiP or SNAP through Central Texas Food Bank at Austin Voices Family Resource Centers.
- Outdoor children’s activities included a bike rodeo provided by Ghisallo, climbing wall, ponies, kiddie train and games. Over 300 children also took part in the children’s craft area.
- Capital of Texas Zoo provided interactive activities with otters, tropical birds, snakes, turtles and other animals.
- MilliporeSigma brought the Curiosity Cube, an interactive science and STEM exhibit built from a shipping container as part of its national tour. Hundreds of children went through the Cube.
- A classic car and motorcycle show was added this year, sponsored by the Least of Saints organization, with over 30 cars and motorcycles on display.
- Performers on the main stage included Northeast ROTC, Dobie Mariachi, Webb Mariachi, Northeast Nightline Dance Team, Northeast Soul Raider Band, B*Tru Arts, FLAVA Dance Team, First Light, Diakonos, Rayvon Foster and Steven Hernandez. Live performances and a DJ were also held on a second stage at the car and motorcycle show area.
- Community Hero awards were presented by Dr. Paul Cruz and AISD Trustees Ann Teich and Latisha Anderson to former Reagan Principal Anabel Garza, local St. John poet and youth mentor Thelma Williams and former St. John Neighborhood Association President Julie Weeks
- Northeast Early College High School, Webb Early College Prep Middle School, Dobie Early College Prep Middle School, as well as several elementary schools provided information on early college and other programs. PTAs also sold food to fundraise.
- Approximately 100 Webb parents, teachers, students and community members marched from Webb to HopeFest in a “Stand Up for Webb” march, with a short rally at the main stage. City Council Member Greg Casar marched and spoke at the rally.
- Austin Police Department, Travis County Sheriff Department and Austin Fire Department brought vehicles and safety information.
- Austin Energy gave away over 300 energy efficiency kits.
- Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission and Travis County Underage Drinking Prevention spoke to over 1,400 people about the dangers of underage drinking
- Thousands of other services were provided by exhibitors. Examples include 159 engraved pet tags by Austin Animal Center, 20 sign-ups for UT Texas Advanced Computing Center summer camp, free hair cuts from Lifestyle Groomin’, registrations for adult education classes, voter registrations, housing referrals, financial and tax counseling, employment training, legal assistance, after school programs, and much more!