Tucker’s Full Life Festival Brings Unifying Resources to South Side Tucker's Full Life Festival Brings Unifying Resources to Southside

Full Life Festival Brings Resources to Southside

[Crawford]: On a sunny and brisk second day of November, leaders at Tucker Missionary Baptist Church held the Full Life Festival, a community outreach event for the southside Syracuse community. Led by Pastor Decarto Draper Jr, it’s been a project over a dozen years in the making.

[Draper]: Full Life Festival came to fruition thinking about the community [of] Syracuse. This is something God put in my spirit, maybe fifteen years ago

[Crawford]: For Pastor Draper, it’s important to have resources and speakers at the festival that southside residents wouldn’t normally have access to.

[Draper]: Yesterday, last night, the county health commissioner was here. It’s very seldom that she’s probably in front of people of color, in that amount of people. And she was sharing about lead, right, because our zip code has a lot of lead, so they had the lead van out yesterday.

[Crawford]: Pastor Draper was very intentional about having specific programs at the festival informing on issues specifically prelevant to his community.

[Draper]: We are one of the most impoverished zip codes in the United States of America. It’s about education, and if we get the information, then we can make an educated decision.

[Crawford]: With this event already making so many waves in only its second iteration, for Pastor Draper, the goal is upward growth. However, what those goals look like may not even be imaginable to him right now.

[Draper]: I thought I knew, and I really don’t yet, you know. I think we measure growth by when, we see more lead testing being done, and we see people are getting jobs and working on the highways, or in different avenues and areas in our community. Then we know that it’s really being effective

[Crawford]: With the festival quickly proving to be an invaluable resource, the spirit of care for the community rings aloud within the walls of Tucker. From Syracuse, Josh Crawford, NCC News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (N.C.C. News) –  Decarto Draper Jr. just recently celebrated his seventh year as the head of Tucker Missionary Baptist Church. With that, he wanted to fully realize an idea he’s had for a long time, the Full Life Festival. The festival is a week-long community outreach and informational event providing resources on lead poisoning, financial literacy, and Alzheimer’s treatment awareness, among many other things. 

The event, selling fish fry food plates and dedicating  an entire floor for local vendors to sell products ranging from candles to women’s dresses, was designed to serve as a bridge between the church and the community. The logic behind making it free is to maximize attendance and leave no excuses for community members to be educated on certain pressing matters, according to Draper. Despite this being only the second iteration of the festival, the event has gained some significant momentum within the South Side community, and Draper plans to expand and change the program and guest speakers on a year-to-year basis based on the community’s ever changing needs. 

Draper is keenly in tune with respect and sway his church has in the community, and he wants to use Tucker’s platform to give back to the community in a multitude of ways. He emphasized the festival being open to any and everybody, not just church members. With attendance and the success of the festival booming, it’ll only become a bigger and better resource for a community desperately in need of it. 

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