2022 Kermes ContestantAlianza Coachella Valley’s Youth Organizing Council (YO-C) is hosting the annual Kermes on Saturday, December 16, 2023 at the Toro Canyon Middle School Cafeteria. Doors open at 3:00 p.m. and the soapbox speech competition will begin at 4:00 p.m. Youth ages 14-18 from different high schools in the Eastern Coachella Valley will be presenting short speeches on topics that interest them and include a call to action for improving their communities. Guest judges will score each of the speeches and select three students to win scholarships. Live entertainment, food, and beverages will also be provided for attendees. After the competition, there will be a celebration for all to enjoy.

Event Program: 

  • 3:00 p.m.: Doors Open and Food Reception
  • 4:00 p.m.: Opening Ceremony and Alianza Introduction 
  • 4:30 p.m.- 6:00 p.m.: Soapbox Speeches 
  • 6:00 p.m.- 6:30 p.m.: Winners are announced 
  • 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.: Kermes/Celebration, Meet & Greet with all Soapbox participants, and Live Music

Scholarship Amounts:

  • First Place: $1,000
  • Second Place: $700
  • Third Place: $400

“This is one of our favorite events of the year,” said Silvia Paz, Executive Director of Alianza Coachella Valley. “Our youth are passionate about the communities they live in and this event provides a way to share community-specific issues and solutions that are important to them.”

Started as a small celebration in 2015, the Kermes was born out of a need to engage youth and adults in the Eastern Coachella Valley outside of traditional community meetings. The Kermes has since evolved to celebrate the end of the year and provide YO-C students a platform to practice their public speaking and leadership skills by highlighting the issues their communities face and offering solutions for a chance to win scholarships.

2022 Kermes judges and contestants smiling together