OSSINING, N.Y. Shes not old enough to go to elementary school but Ossinings Ashley Sousa can speak English, Spanish and Portuguese.
Ashley comes from one of the thousands of multicultural families in Ossining. She and her mother, Maria, also make up one of the many families that are going beyond speaking the language to share their Portuguese culture. The Sousa family joined the Ossining Public Library s new Doll Telling program that recently focused on Portuguese culture.
I like learning about Portugal, Ashley said during the program. Its really fun.
The Doll Telling program uses dancing, music, language, food and a technique called Doll Story Telling that involves parents telling verbal stories and allowing the children to dress dolls based on the story theyve heard. The program, made possible through a $1,000 grant from ArtsWestchester, is the result of an idea from Chris Surovich and Cultural Programming Specialist Carry Cubillos.
Surovich said the program has become one of the most popular at the Ossining Public Library, with registration filling at-capacity weeks in advance of the programs.
Were so thrilled that this has become such a popular program, Surovich said. The Portuguese community is an integral and important part of Ossining. We want to recognize all of the various groups in Ossining as we go through this eight-month program and its been really wonderful so far.
The Village of Ossining is set to be the site of Portugal Day on June 16. Ana Rodrigues, who works with a folklore group in Ossining, said children rarely get a chance to learn about their family heritage.
I think its important for the children to learn and keep the traditions of their parents and grandparents and keep that alive, Rodrigues, whos Portuguese, said. Whether its through the food or the dancing or even speaking the language, its important to keep teaching.
Maria Sousa is Spanish and her husband is Portuguese so they makes sure to teach their children about both cultures.
We want to share our cultures, she said. This program is very good for us. We like it so much.
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