YOUNGSTOWN Area collaborative works to promote cultural diversity

A new program gives Mahoning Valley residents another reason to explore the area's culture and history.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Reviving community optimism is one way to get residents to appreciate their area's history.
Another is to have several Mahoning Valley institutions work together to promote the region's cultural diversity.
That's the idea behind the Mahoning Cultural Collaborative, a liaison between various cultural offerings. Parks and museums need to come together to get more people interested in what the Mahoning Valley has to offer, said Elizabeth Norha, MCC's coordinator.
"It's a way for families to rediscover what makes this area culturally rich," she explained.
Passport to prizes: As an incentive, MCC started the Mahoning County Cultural Passport program. Residents can apply for passports and get them stamped at each of several selected sites they visit. Families with completed passports will receive a prize from the Ohio Bicentennial Commission.
They will also be eligible for one of several grand prizes, which include baskets containing various items representing each site, Norha said. Drawings will be at the Canfield Fair.
Forms are available at all 19 branches of the Public Library of Mahoning County, as well as each site, and can be picked up anytime during the summer, Norha added. Passports must be stamped by Aug. 31 to be eligible.
Norha said she hopes the MCC, which started last September, will offer more summer and educational programs. She also wants it to have an impact in area schools.
"We want to attend teacher conferences to let them know what their resources are," Norha said. "We also want to reach inner city kids, many of whom don't get to a museum."

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