Two Día del Niño celebrations honor children

OCEANSIDE — Día del Niño will be celebrated by the Eastside community for its 13th year, and by the Crown Heights neighborhood for its second year.

The beloved Mexican holiday is remembered by parents in both communities, and something they want to share with their children.

“Día del Niño is a way to empower the children, make them to feel special and give them back the park,” Nancy Cuellar, president of the Eastside Neighborhood Association, said.

Oceanside proclaimed April 30 Day of the Child in 2005.

City festivals to honor children are held close to that date.

This year the Crown Heights neighborhood held its Día del Niño event April 19.

The day included kids crafts, a bounce house and free children’s books. There was also food, games and music for the 150 participants who attended.

The community showed strong support for this year’s event. Carmela Munos, Crown Heights Neighborhood Association member, said parents attended with their kids, and residents donated ice cream, pizza and other treats.

“The children are the future of our nation, it’s so important to have a day to celebrate them,” Munos said.

Eastside plans to celebrate April 29.

During the event information on healthy lifestyles and community resources will be shared. There will also be food, music and ballet folklorico performances.

Cuellar said the day is about making children “feel special and loved.”

“This event targets young children in hopes of empowering our promising future generations,” Cuellar said.

The first Eastside celebration was prompted by community concern that alcohol and drug use in city parks was causing problems. Residents also observed park locations being used to recruit children to get involved in illegal activities.

To take back community parks residents held family events.

“The event has proven to be a good venue to bring the community residents together in an effort to reduce problems related to alcohol and other drugs in the Eastside neighborhood,” Cuellar said.

This year about 500 people are expected to attend the Eastside celebration.

Día del Niño takes place April 29, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Joe Balderrama Park, 709 San Diego Street, Oceanside.

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