Following last week's episode, we are joined by another mastermind from the 'Bring On The Sunshine' African Festival. This week we talk to BOTS co-founder and Festival Director, Alice Penny.
Alice grew up in Zimbabwe and came to America when she was just 18. She talks about her experience coming to the US as a young African girl, and what it meant to her at that time. Alice later moved to Canada and talked about her transition and being exposed to a more diverse community. That’s how she met Jacqui Terry-Carroll, a woman who also grew up in Zimbabwe, when they worked for Christian Horizons. With similar interests and the same cultural background, Alice and Jacqui quickly became friends! As mothers, they began discussing ideas on what they could do to make children of African descent connect and be proud of their heritage. This is how the Bring On The Sunshine Festival began -- with an idea anchored to their cultural identity.
The ‘Bring On The Sunshine’ African Festival for Alice, is “the world she wants to live in.” It is a place where one is free to share ideas in a space of love and celebration. BOTS has become an annual event attended by over a thousand people and is growing every year. This unique festival celebrates African heritage through music, arts, fashion, dancing, food and culture.
Alice has been involved with BOTS since its conception, from ideas for the festival, to doing admin and finances. She has always been one of the forerunners of BOTS, until recently when she had decided to take more of a mentorship role her team. This team that currently runs the festival is composed of a lot of members of the youth, and is purely volunteer driven.
In this interview, Alice talks about the challenge of getting as many young people interested in the event, and how the people’s passion and volunteering is what really makes BOTS successful.
"If you're absolutely genuine about what you are offering, people sense that. People feel that, if you're coming from a good place." - Alice Penny
What may have started as a small-scale idea with a large-scale purpose soon grew into a community. Alice and her partners have not only established a successful annual festival, but are also working on several expansion initiatives. Join us to hear all about Alice’s story, her work, and her dreams for the future of BOTS, and herself.
IN THIS EPISODE: