Turkey wasn't the main attraction at the Cultural Thanksgiving Celebration Monday evening.

"We have Spanish rice and Chinese chicken and other foods so it's almost like a taste around the world," said Jamiel Alexander, youth and family education programs manager at Crispus Attucks.

The 29th annual Cultural Thanksgiving Celebration and Rising STARS Awards included dinner and entertainment by the South Side Steppers and live music performed by brothers Jarett Kinard and Ryan Kinard.

"Crispus Attucks doesn't believe in a particular race, we believe in the human race," Alexander said. "This celebration actually focuses on that through performances and food, and the fellowship brings us all together."

The Crispus Attucks Rising STARS Youth and Family Program serves more than 200 students ages 5 to 18 each year with only three full-time staff members, so the help of volunteers is essential and greatly appreciated, said Alexander.

"Our focus is education and recreation, but education is always first," Alexander said. "We have lifeskill classes, homework help and mentoring. You can still go to the gym and play basketball games, but education is put first."

Two organizations and six individuals were honored for having impacted the lives of youth in the York community.

The Rising STARS (Striving To Achieve Remarkable Success) Awards went to parent volunteers Karen Washington, Holly Gould, Pearl Jenkins and Joe Lawson.

The York City Bears and South Side Steppers parent group were honored for their contributions to the Rising STARS Youth and Family Program.

Carol Hill-Evans was honored for her volunteerism with the mentoring program and for being involved in the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration.

Paula Gilbert, director of youth services at Martin Library, received an award for working with the Rising STARS program as well.

The Rising STARS program switched its name from the Youth Against Drugs program about eight years ago when organizers decided to put more of an emphasis on family involvement, Alexander said.

The Crispus Attucks Association, 605 S. Duke Street, is a United Way of York County Partner Agency. For more information or to get involved, call 848-3610 or email jmartino@crispusattucks.org.

- Reach Chelsea Shank at 505-5432 or cshank@yorkdispatch.com