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Program pairs children with mentors

OCEANSIDE — A soiree under the stars will be held at the home of best-selling author Victor Villasenor from 7 to 10 p.m. on Aug. 7.
The event will serve as the official launch of KidXpress, a community-based mentoring program that pairs kids with writers, artists and musicians. Admission is free.
The band Wild Heart will be on hand to provide country music and a touch of jazz and blues. The Cat Family will also perform.
Savory desserts from cheesecakes to gourmet cup cakes will be served also with light fruit sangria and other wines, bottled water, sodas and lemonade.
Raffle prizes include gift baskets and gift certificates from Starbucks, Trader Joe’s and Barnes & Noble. Stemless wine glasses with a bottle of wine and a large outdoor clock are among other treasures to be given away.
Several pieces of art have been donated including a painting by internationally acclaimed artist Zoey Stevens and a framed original photograph from David Scarbrough.
Artist Grant Pecoff and his wife Layne Lyons have donated six copies of their new book “I Thought: A Story of Awakening” currently on exhibit at the Encinitas Library,
KidXpress events director Jamie Gilliam reports that this is a family event and children are welcomed. Art A La Carte of Solana Beach will host a table where kids can make a craft that they’ll later take home.
“We are building a community as much as much as we are building a nonprofit,” said KidXpress director Robby Hoffman. “This has really turned out to be a grassroots effort. We want people to have a good time and be part of a new community.”
Hoffman is a former school teacher who ventured into a career in the nonprofit sector after his sister died of multiple sclerosis.
“I made a commitment to myself and to my family that I would give back what I learned and experienced from the MS Society,” he said.
Hoffman went on to establish the Hospice of Central Arizona. He also served as director of the Special Olympics in Santa Cruz County.
According to Hoffman, the long anticipated KidXpress writing workshop will begin in the fall with 11 sessions that will be held over a period of two-and-a-half months.
“We want to make sure we find the right mentors who have passion for writing and a passion for kids and education,” Hoffman said. “I want kids to find that creative voice inside of them.”
KidXpress was founded by Thorn Sully, publisher with A Word With You Press.
His new headquarters located at 802 South Tremont St. in Oceanside serves as a hub for writers, artists and musicians in North County. It will also be the venue of the KidXpress workshops.
“Once we have cranked up their abilities, we’ll publish our graduates’ work in an anthology with their peers, converting them from shy kids who cringe when called upon in English class into  published authors,” he said. “Kids will have the opportunity read their work from a book before an audience. Their 15 minutes of fame will last a lifetime.”
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To serve as a sponsor or donor for KidXpress, contact director Robby Hoffman at (760) 767-1255 or [email protected].
Villasenor’s home is located at 1302 Stewart St. in Oceanside. Please RSVP with Hoffman or event director Jamie Gilliam at (760) 846 2241.