Sept. 2, 2007 — On the grounds of Renaissance Park in the center of St. Croix, the focus was on family and fun as Sen. Juan Figueroa-Serville hosted a Youth Fun Day this weekend. Serville wanted to say thank you to the community for its support during what has become a controversial legislative term.
"In our culture, we don't like to see people getting attacked," said Serville, "we like to see people being supported."
One of the youngest senators in the 27th Legislature, Serville says he has a lot of support from the younger members of the community who seem willing to volunteer to help with his events. "It is something I am very grateful for," he said.
Dressed down in jeans, sneakers and polo shirt, Serville blended in with the crowd, obviously pleased that everyone was having a good time. He had been hoping to have an event like this ever since he became a senator, and Serville said the timing — right before Labor Day and after the opening of most of the island's schools — was just perfect.
"We hope to make this an annual event," said his mother, Catherine Figueroa-Serville, who dubbed herself "the fry lady" for the event as she manned the free meal concession. She smiled broadly to each guest, talking with each briefly and surrounded by young volunteers clad in T-shirts emblazoned with Serville's slogan "Youth Today, Leadership Now!"
Jyiaad Manksrah was too busy to speak to each guest requiring refreshments, but the teenager whipped back and forth behind the concession stand quickly doling out smiles and drinks. He decided to join the team of volunteers late that day. "There are lots of people around, my friends are here, and it's a beautiful day," Manksrah said.
Children bounced gleefully in air-filled tents, took pictures with First Bank's Seymour the Sea Turtle, and sat patiently while Jay Jay the Clown painted their faces under a marvelous blue sky. Little girls were in pairs with pastel-colored leis streaming from their necks as little boys played sword games with balloon replicas.
Richard Schrader and Winifred "Oyoko" Loving read excerpts from their books. Central High School's Jr. R.O.T.C unit demonstrated their stoic skills. King Derby and his young Calypso Steel Orchestra serenaded the audience. The four-legged officers that make up the VIPD's K-9 unit were on hand, too. The Rising Stars Steel Band kept the flow going between program breaks; and the Sparkle Lite Twirlers exploded onto the scene, showing again why they are always top contenders during carnival.
Naila El-Amin and her cousins came to the event because of their association with the Rising Stars. El-Amin is a member, but Saturday was her day off. The seven year-old said she was not opposed to having events like this more often. Her favorite part: the bouncy tents.
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