Festival Celebrates JSPACC’s 20th Anniversary

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(Photo courtesy of JSPACC)

The event will give kids a chance to show off their talents. (Photo courtesy of JSPACC)

TORRANCE — Some special kids will take to the stage this Sunday for the MiracleKids Festival at Marsee Auditorium at El Camino College in Torrance.

The daylong festival will celebrate the 20th anniversary of JSPACC (Japanese Speaking Parents Association of Children with Challenges).

Since its inception, JSPACC, which is sponsored by Little Tokyo Service Center, has been providing support in Japanese for the parents to understand the law, system and cultural difference associated with disabilities, as well as to cope with mental and emotional hardships for each family to become more independent.

“We want to spread the word that these children can do a lot. It’s not ‘disabled,’ they are able,” explained Hiromi Ashmore, a JSPACC member.

The children, joined by their siblings, will perform a hip-hop dance routine, taiko drumming and a musical entitled “Miraclecats.” Ashmore said her daughter, who has Down syndrome, will be playing the taiko.

Artwork created by the children will be displayed in the foyer.

“They don’t get nervous because they are just natural. When they come in they do whatever they’re practicing,” said Ashmore.

Among the activities JSPACC sponsors are monthly meetings where parents of children with special needs cover issues ranging from American laws and customs to job training brain development. A support group has also been formed for the siblings of children with challenges.

“We’re trying to make them be the best advocate for their children. The world is getting better. However, people have to realize that they have to include special children in their lives. There is nothing different,” Ashmore said.

Doors open for MiracleKids Festival at 3 p.m., with performance at 4 p.m. at El Camino Marsee Auditorium, 16007 Crenshaw Blvd. Donation: $10. For more information, contact Ruriko Yoshiyama at (626) 272-2154 or email [email protected]

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