The spectacular colours and sounds of nine different cultures took centre stage at Fuse Fest on Sunday, 29 May, in Burwood Park Pavilion – an event organised by Youth In Action, the youth group of The Greek Orthodox Parish and Community of Burwood and District Saint Nectarios.
Organised for the second year to celebrate our diverse and connected world, the event raised funds for Lucas Gardens School in Canada Bay, which provides educational programs for students with intellectual and physical disabilities, sensory impairments and complex medical conditions. “It really was a spectacular day with dancing, singing and live music from so many talented performers, who all donated their time to support our fundraising cause. The costumes were gorgeous and so vibrant, and there was such a positive buzz throughout the park, as everyone came together to celebrate the various cultures on display,” said Christina Efthymiades AM, Youth In Action’s mentor, who is also on the Board of the Parish and Community.
“We are delighted to confirm that we raised $4,150 for Lucas Gardens School for a project to support students who are non-verbal to better communicate via iPad and specialised software called proloqu2G. We certainly exceeded our fundraising target of $2,500, and we are so proud of our youth for their commitment and compassion towards such an important cause,” she said.
Fuse Fest was proudly sponsored by Multicultural NSW, through its Stronger Together Events and Festivals Grant and Burwood Council, through its Community Grants program.
The Mayor of Burwood, Cr John Faker officially welcomed all attendees and marvelled at Youth In Action’s achievements, making mention of the fact they were named Team of the Year in Burwood Council’s annual Volunteer Recognition Awards on 19 May.
The Principal of Lucas Gardens School, Jenny Zagas, also addressed the audience, explaining the work of the school and its Communication beyond the walls of the classroom project, to help give non-verbal students a voice. Jenny expressed her deep gratitude for Youth In Action’s support. Through Fuse Fest 2022, Youth In Action raised $3,088 for the school – enabling the purchase of a Gravity Relaxation Chair to support students who use wheelchairs, giving them the opportunity to sit in a more comfortable position in the classroom during their school day. “This year’s further donation of $4,150 will continue to support the School’s programs and we are so proud of Youth In Action for their hard work, which led to this fantastic outcome,” said Christina Efthymiades AM.
“We are so grateful to all the performers who shared their time and their talents with us to support this event. We were so proud to have nine different cultures represented this year, along with contemporary dancing and singing. All the performers were breathtaking!”
Dancing groups represented Spain, China, Japan, Sri Lanka, Ireland, Germany, Bulgaria and - of course - Greece and Cyprus, which were well represented through the local Greek Dancing School, The Nassibian Dancers, who performed traditional and contemporary dances, The Cyprus Community of NSW Dancers, a bouzouki performance by Tassos Lambrou and his young students and an acapella version of a Greek song by Youth In Action member, Natalia Papadakis.
Children participated in the Passport Competition, a series of fun challenges, for the chance to win one of two $50 Westfield Gift Vouchers. The audience also heard from two police officers representing the Crime Prevention Unit, Burwood Police Area Command, who also had a stall to engage with local youth at the event. There was also a wonderful array of food and drinks and market stalls on offer. Appearances by Mitsos the Greek Street Fair Donkey and Plato the Greek Dancing Cat topped off the day, which concluded with a celebratory Hassaposervikos, danced by the audience on stage, led by Tassos Lambrou on bouzouki and Mitsos.
Donations towards Lucas Gardens School can still be made here and will be added to the current fundraising tally: