A Better World Festival in Sunnyside aims to promote a young girl’s message of activism and engagement

Photo courtesy of Love, Hallie Foundation

Join Sunnyside residents, merchants, nonprofits, speakers and performers for a day of activism and engagement.

On Aug. 18 from noon to 5 p.m., Sunnyside Shines, the Love, Hallie Foundation and Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer’s office will be hosting A Better World Festival (ABWF) which will include performances and family-friendly activities that highlight the fun in making a difference. The event is slated to take place at Bliss Plaza on 46th Street and Queens Boulevard.

Kids will have the opportunity to sing, dance and be creative with local arts groups, and representatives from over a dozen nonprofit organizations will be present to educate and inform about their work. Two of the nonprofits are Chess in the Schools whose youth volunteers will offer free chess instruction and Do Something, who will be registering voters for the upcoming elections.

“The spirit of Sunnyside is the kind of attitude that can create a better future — uniting people of all ages and backgrounds who care about their neighbors, their country and the world,” said Jaime-Faye Bean, executive director of Sunnyside Shines.

ABWF was inspired by Hallie Geier, the young Sunnyside girl whom the Love Hallie Foundation commemorates. The 11-year-old died almost 10 years ago after being hit by a car in front of her house and is remembered for her prolific writing and youth activism, including raising money for an AIDS cure in Africa. A selection of her personal journal entries can be found on lovehallie.org.

“I want to help the class community, or help raise money for starving people. I want to become more active in peacemaking and helping people make the right choices. I want to save endangered species. I want to discover the cure for cancer and save lives. I just hope I get the chance,” wrote Geier in an entry titled “To Do Something Special.”

The free event will also feature dramatic readings by youth activists and a special performance of Geier’s writings by best friends and actors Barbara Feldon and Buddy Mantia. 

ABWF will feature ringmaster Ellis Rubens, 13, a Queens native, “Greatest Showman” actor and active member of Hallie’s Angels, the youth action branch of the Love, Hallie Foundation, as well as Sunnyside native Molly Martin, 17, who will be managing the entire ABWF event with a team of youth volunteers.

“We have been organizing rallies and events to engage people in creating positive change,” said Councilman Van Bramer. “People want to get involved and help their neighborhood and their neighbors. So, we’ve asked nonprofits who welcome volunteers, especially young people, to share those opportunities at the festival. We’re thrilled to welcome all to join us for an exciting day, to get motivation and information that will improve communities across the city and the lives of people everywhere.”

For more information on A Better World Festival see the flyer below.


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