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Families Celebrate Ecuador at Ossining Library

OSSINING, N.Y. – Multicultural families are using a unique method at the Ossining Public Library to teach their children about their native lands.

The technique is called Doll Story Telling and it involves parents telling verbal stories and allowing the children to dress dolls based on the story they’ve heard. The technique became the highlight of a new multicultural program called Doll Telling Wednesday night at the Ossining Public Library. The program was made possible through a $1,000 grant from the ArtsWestchester .

The first in the Doll Telling series focused on Ecuador and featured Ecuadorian food, music, stories and dancing. The program is a new idea from Cultural Programming Specialist Carry Cubillos and Chris Surovich.

With non-white residents in Ossining rising above 20,000, according to the 2010 U.S. Census , Cubillos said it is important for the entire town to continue celebrating people of diverse backgrounds.

“It’s so important for families from different cultures to be able to share it with their children,” Cubillos said. “So many children grow up here and they don’t know what it is like where their families are from. So we wanted to show them and give them that chance to celebrate their culture.”

Wednesday’s program was so popular that Cubillos said the response exceeded the limit of 15 families, or 60 people, for the event.

“It was difficult because we had to say no to some families,” Cubillos said. “It showed us that this is really popular and something that people really want so of course we’re going to keep doing more.”

Karen St. Vil, who attended the program to teach her children the importance of learning about different cultures, said Cubillos’ program is one that fits perfectly in Ossining.

“I really appreciate the fact that we live in this area because we have such great diversity and it’s something that is really celebrated at places like the schools and the library,” St. Vil said. “I am of mixed heritage. I’m African-American, Indian and Irish. So I definitely celebrate different cultures. And I really like seeing my kids experience other cultures as well.”

The Ossining Public Library was forced to cut its budget and 14 hours last year after a vote failed twice and St. Vil said many families felt the impact of that loss.

“Carry really puts in the extra effort to make sure these programs go beyond the funding they have,” St. Vil said. “The library is such a great resource for so many people in the town and not just for those with multicultural backgrounds, but for everyone. In these trying times, it’s something that we all need.”

The Doll Telling program continues with a celebration of Portugal May 9 and a celebration of India on June 13. The free program is limited to the first 15 families to arrive. For more information, residents are asked to contact the library at (914) 941-2416.

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