For the past 15 years, Project Reach GANG has hosted a summertime back-to-school rally in Riceboro’s Briar Bay Park. This year, however, the GANG — short for God’s Anointed Now Generation — is making a weekend of it.
Though the annual Saturday rally will be held, as usual, in Briar Bay Park beginning at 10 a.m., the event will be bookended by “Rally Shift Services” — one on Friday evening at St. James Community Church in Midway, and another Sunday evening at the same location. Both services will commence at
Evangelist and educator Rhonda Brown will lead Friday’s service, and Bishop Elect Timothy Griffin is scheduled to lead Sunday’s service.
Saturday’s back-to-school rally will feature keynote addresses from Liberty County Board of Education member Verdell Jones as well as a 3rd Infantry Division representative.
This year’s theme, “Shifting into My Purpose II – Destined for Success,” is a continuation of last year’s theme of the same name.
“I feel that the young people need to find their identity,” said Lavonia LeCounte, rally organizer and Project Reach GANG executive director. “‘I’m here on this Earth, I’m breathing every day, but I have purpose — I have destiny.’ We believe, we achieve, and we know we can succeed.”
Saturday’s rally will feature educational booths, health checks, games, rides, refreshments and, of course, free school supplies. LeCounte said that 55 vendors have signed up so far, including newcomers and longtime rally supporters.
LeCounte said that because there is no booth fee, vendors are expected to bring school supplies to give to the children. She also emphasized that the rally is not a fundraising event.
“It’s open so that (vendors) will be able to advertise their businesses, organizations or churches; in addition to that, they must give out school supplies,” she said.
LeCounte also is excited to be partnering with local barbecue and Italian-ice vendors to provide over 1,000 free lunches at Saturday’s rally.
In addition to the rally and special services, a free concert will be hosted at 7 p.m. Saturday at Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Hinesville. The concert will feature the Project Reach GANG and Rally Mass Choir, as well as a special appearance by a national recording artist.
All of the weekend’s events are free and open to the public.
“We’re trying to reach the total person — the physical, the spiritual, the mental,” LeCounte said. “Whatever we can get out there to the people, the parents, to encourage them to be excited about going back to school, the students to work hard on keeping their (grade-point average) up or getting it up higher, to help provide assistance for parents so that they will know where they can go to get resource information or help if they need to get help with their children. We’re just here to help.”
For more information about Project Reach GANG or the Back-to-School Rally Weekend, go to www.projectreachgang.com or call 977-3951.