The inaugural Jamestown Back to School Bash was held at Chadakoin Park in Jamestown recently to help children in the community who were in need of a pat on the back for their hard work by giving them a free backpack filled with school supplies.
Event coordinators included Tiara Cromartie, a local resident and youth at Healing Word Ministries; Charles Frederick of Family of Notes and Healing Word Ministries; Chareese Bowles of Healing Word Ministries; Mr. and Mrs. Mike Butterfield of Family of Notes and Healing Word Ministries; Brandy Macklin of Healing Word Ministries and Francisco Lantigua, a 2006 Jamestown High School graduate and former basketball player.
"It was worth the time we spent planning this event when an area resident of 10th Street, Mr. Tim Grissoms acknowledged how much he really appreciated this," said Tiara Cromartie. "The goal of the event was to help a few kids get prepared, feed them a free evening meal, encourage them, and let the community know that we care about their education."
Francisco Lantigua and Tiara Cromartie present Julius Johnson Jr. his backpack.
They gathered the support of local sponsors, including Chautauqua Opportunities Inc. Youth Services, Clyde and Tamara Dickey, Craig and Verna Swanson and other area Christians to assure that more than 130 children who attended the event were given a back pack and supplies. The community members wanted to help the youth prepare for the challenges they would face this school year by offering supplies, prayer and encouragement.
"This is a great way to give back to the community and we expect to do this again the last Saturday before school starts each year," said Charles Frederick, Family of Notes leader. "The music, CD's and gift cards were also a great way to show the kids of Jamestown that we care."
The event also included horseback riding and outdoor games.
"This is what I really like to do and I will help coordinate a basketball event for next year's event," Lantigua said.
The Young Christian Group openly thanked those who participated. They were able to serve 210 people a free meal during the three-hour event. They also thanked Sister Tamara Dickey and Sister Verna Swanson for managing the prayer and salvation table since everyone could use a little prayer to start the school year. The event will continue in 2013.