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An internationally known expert in the areas of culturally based violence prevention, strengthening families and community mobilization will visit Ada Jan. 17 [MONDAY].

Jerry Tello, a Los Angeles-based speaker, children’s book author and educator, will speak from 10:30 a.m. to noon in the Pontotoc Technology Center auditorium. His presentation, “Children as a Blessing: Diversity in the Classroom,” will be free and open to the public and is sponsored by Smart Start South Central, an early childhood initiative based in the Center for Continuing Education and Community Services at East Central University.

Tello’s presentation will be inspirational, motivational and informative, said Cindy Byrd, projects coordinator for Smart Start South Central.

Photo of Jerry Tello

“People in Ada have no idea what a great opportunity it is to have Mr. Tello come and speak to our community,” Byrd said. “He is without a doubt one of the best speakers I have ever heard, and as a former teacher who listened to zillions of speakers over the past 30 years, that is saying a lot. His message will include something valuable for everyone, no matter what your background is.”

Tello was raised in south-central Los Angeles and uses his unique background to teach and inform about working with multi-ethnic populations, families and children. His talk will last approximately an hour with a brief question/answer session following.

He has received numerous awards, including the Presidential Crime Victims Service Award from President Bill Clinton and the Ambassador of Peace Award from Rotary International. He is a consultant for Scholastic Books, has authored a series of children’s books, and has appeared in Time, Newsweek and several Hispanic magazines.

He has spoken to many groups, both nationally and internationally, including the California Teachers’ Association Conference, National Hispanic Conference, National Association for the Education of Young Children and the Twelfth Annual Drug Prevention Conference.

More information about Tello can be found on his website,

 His presentation was made possible through a grant from the Inasmuch Foundation. To learn more about Smart Start South Central and its programs, contact Trish Little, community coordinator, at 580-559-5367 or Cindy Byrd at 580-559-5872.

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