A nationally-acclaimed education program for increased parental involvement and college-readiness in Latino communities is headed to the Richard M. Borchard Regional Fairgrounds on Saturday.

The Feria Para Aprender (The Learning Fair) will take place from 1 to 5 p.m. in the Convention Center at the fairgrounds. The event is free and open to the public.

Feria Para Aprender is defined as a "mobilization event" with a three-tiered methodology focused year-round on a region's nonprofit educational alignment, parental navigation, and economic development. The program culminates with a Feria where Hispanic and Spanish language communities are shown how to navigate the U.S. education system from cradle to career through a systematic design around pre-K, primary and secondary education, college, and careers.

"We're very excited to bring the Feria Para Aprender to our area. We will be the second Texas market to hold this event before others launch across Texas within the year," Janet Cunningham, executive director of the Coastal Bend Partners for College and Career Readiness, said. "The Feria is not just about one day but rather a long-term plan to train nonprofits and education groups in a region to scale with the demographic shifts and to better engage the fast-growing Hispanic population in a region."

At the Coastal Bend Feria, more than 40 nonprofits and 80 volunteers are being trained with a curriculum that will allow them to better frame their organization's message to parents at the event and help them navigate through more than 75 educational exhibits and enrichment activities. The day will include the following:

An educational pathway from pre-K to college; Five career zones focused on the critical workforce development areas for the region: Education, Healthcare, Industry, Energy and Tourism; Reading gardens and theatrical story-reading with over 1,000 books given away; Photo visualization area (every child gets a photo in cap and gown or professional attire); Mock bilingual education and dual language classrooms; Hands-on science and technology activities such as robotics and medical demonstrations; industrial equipment demonstrations; A Commitment Zone(tm) where parents and students illustrate their aspirations on a mural; Back-to-school supplies give-a-way.

A laptop will also be raffled off to attendees of the event as well, organizers said.

More than 25 area organizations, school districts, institutions, and agencies are helping to organize the first Coastal Bend Feria Para Aprender. Nonprofits include Citizens for Educational Excellence, Coastal Bend Partners for College & Career Readiness, Craft Training Center, and Communities in Schools, United Way of the Coastal Bend, Workforce of the Coastal Bend, Corpus Christi Regional Economic Development Corporation, CBAF Project Turnaround, Corpus Christi Community Action Agency, and Corpus Christi Literacy Council.

School districts include Calallen ISD, Corpus Christi ISD, Flour Bluff ISD, Mathis ISD, Sinton ISD, Taft ISD. Educational agencies include the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, Education Service Center Region II, and GEAR-UP/STAR Texas. Universities and colleges include Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Texas A&M-Kingsville, Del Mar College and Coastal Bend College. Media partners include KEDT-TV, KORO-TV and others.