Social Good

Everything You Need to Know About Via Colori Street Festival

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn blogging, it is often hard for me to come by opportunities that get my heart beating faster and moments when I know that what I’m doing is part of a bigger picture. When I visited the Center for Hearing and Speech last month, it quickly became apparent that I am now one thread contributing to an incredible Houston tapestry: Via Colori.

For the last 10 years, Houston has been painting the town with love at the Houston Via Colori Street Festival. This year’s festival, taking place this weekend from Nov. 19-20, will captivate the city with more than 200 artists, music, food and drink, and creativity. The most important part: ALL proceeds from Houston Via Colori benefit The Center for Hearing and Speech, a local non-profit that serves children with hearing loss.

Alba Amezcua at 2015 Houston Via Colori

Sounds amazing, right? Here are the details:

Where?
Downtown Houston at Hermann Square at City Hall and the surrounding streets of McKinney, Bagby and Walker.

When?
Saturday, November 19, 2016 from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Sunday, November 20, 2016 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

How much does it cost to attend the festival?

General admission pre-sale is $7 (online through 11/18), $10 at the door, and VIP Lounge Passes are $40 each. Tickets are good for both days of the festival. Click here to learn more.

When I met with the Center for Hearing and Speech, I learned that not many people know that the organization is the beneficiary of the festival. As a transplant to this city, I think EVERY Houstonian deserves to know about the amazing work that the Center for Hearing and Speech does in their community.

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If you’ve been coming to this blog for some time, I’ve gushed over my nephew Jaeden. Born with Down syndrome yet still perfect in every way, Jaeden is such a light to everyone her meets. His happy spirit and beaming smile continues to get me through each and every dark tunnel I’ve had to experience over the years. What people don’t realize about Jaeden from photos is that he has hearing loss and cannot speak. I never understood how his hearing deficiencies were detected in the first place or how his doctors and speech pathologists would help him to vocalize as he grows up. The Center for Hearing and Speech made it clear to me that some miracles are backed by more than faith, but by diligent professionals and advanced technology.

jaeden

The Center for Hearing and Speech is the only full-service resource in Houston to teach deaf children to listen and speak without the use of sign language. Since 1947, the center has helped thousands of Houston-area children gain listening, speaking and literacy skills – the tools they need to improve their quality of life and achieve success in society. I even found out that a member of the Blogger Union moved to Houston specifically to treat her son’s hearing!

Hearing and speech are key tools in learning and socializing. In Jaeden’s case, how could I have expected him to grow up imitating the sounds I made if he couldn’t hear me articulate them? When I toured the Center for Hearing and Speech to prep for the festival, I was so fascinated by the technology within the classrooms, as well as the opportunities students have through cochlear implants and hearing aids. If you’re curious to know more, I highly encourage you to click here to watch the video.

While the speech and audiology clinics help students 3 weeks old to 18 years old, the Melinda Webb School is an early education program with immense amount of attention placed on students 18 months to 6 years. The center also provides awareness and education to families and educators in the Houston community.

There are times where I feel so connected to Jaeden, but to hear him speak? That would be the most incredible feeling in the world. I can’t even imagine the conversation we’d have and my eyes well up with tears just thinking about him. While Jaeden lives in Florida and has his own path through speech and hearing therapy, I am SO grateful to be tied to an organization that gives the gift of hearing and speech to children like him and their families.

If you’re interested in attending the Via Colori festival, snag your tickets here and make sure to stop at my square to say hello! I’ll be there all Saturday, so tweet me at @Jillian_Writes. If you’re inspired to make a larger impact after the festival, check out the volunteer opportunities at The Center for Hearing and Speech here.

Cassandra and Raul Gallardo at 2015 Houston Via Colori.

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