14 churches hold party to prepare kids for school

Published 8:41 am Tuesday, July 28, 2015

NW0728 Back to School Bash E
Harmony Free Will Baptist Church hosted an event that brought 14 area churches together in celebration of faith and education Saturday.
The annual Back to School Bash continues to grow in numbers and success, Pastor Brandon Young .
“The kids are so excited to get their bookbags,” Young said.
The event began with two skits performed inside the church. The church’s auditorium was packed full of guests for every show up until it was over at 3 p.m. that day, Young said.
“A lot of the families inside watching the skit choose to take time to talk with counselors about issues going on in their lives,” Young said. “They pray over folks in there.”
Young loves this aspect of the event because guests can get some one-on-one time with people in the church.
“This is all about the churches reaching out to the community and saying, ‘We are here for you, and we’re here to help you,’” Young said. “We’re trying to get people the support that they need.”
Once guests watched the plays, they were directed toward the tables of backpacks filled with markers, scissors, pencils and a binder.
Children took their time considering which color to select, but everyone of them walked away smiling.
“We want these children to start the school year out on the right foot,” Young said. “They will have what they need so they don’t go to school the first day feeling down. They are now prepared for the first day of school.”
Young gets to see the benefits of the event in action through his job as a counselor at Cloudland Elementary School.
“I see these bookbags going down the hallway,” he said. “It’s such a blessing to see these kids carrying them and know you had a hand in that.”
There’s always a call for more churches to get involved in making the event a success. As it continues to grow, Young said he will need more volunteers to help pull off the event smoothly.
“If we could get 20-25 churches involved, there’s no telling where this could go,” he said. “The sky is the limit.”
Keisha Posada, a volunteer at the event and member of Harmony Free Will Baptist Church, was in awe of all the people coming together to make the event happen.
“It’s really amazing,” she said. “We couldn’t do this alone. It’s nice to know that other churches are willing to work together to help us.”
There is a greater point to make about the churches coming together, Posada said.
“It’s not just our church,” she said. “This is about the church ­— the church of God. It’s not about one in particular.”
The benefits of these churches coming together does more than benefit this single event, Posada said.
“People from these different churches will call and ask for help in return,” she said. “We can all rely on one another.”
Every time Posada hands a child a backpack, she is reminded to be thankful for what she has.
“It’s humbling,” she said. “When they smile at you and take it, that’s what gets me. It breaks your heart in some ways, but it makes it in other ways.”
For some children in the area, attending the event is like going to a major theme park, she said. There were more than 20 different Disney characters walking around the event. Children also participated in Water Wars, puppet shows, slacklining, jumping on inflatables, a magic show and various other carnival games.
“I really don’t have words to describe how doing this makes me feel,” she said. “Some of them come back over to me and are happy to have cotton candy stuck to their mouths and their face painted. I’ve had several children come up to me and ask if they are at Disney World. Some kids may never get to go see a place like that, but this is their Dollywood, Carowinds and Disneyland.”

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