The 14th annual Back to School Rally coordinated by Project Reach Youth God’s Anointed Now Generation just may eliminate the need for school-supply shopping for some this year.
“I was in the store the other day, and I was just passing out my fliers … and this lady, she took it, and she said, ‘Oh yes! Thank you — I came last year, and I did not have to buy anything for my child to go back to school.’ So this is why they should come,” GANG Executive Director Levonia LeCounte said.
The free event will be from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday at Briar Bay Park near Riceboro. Its mission is to provide motivation, information and supplies for students as they eye the school year, which begins Aug. 6 in Liberty County schools.
Last year, GANG gave out more than 400 backpacks and 1,000 lunches were served. LeCounte estimated that about 1,300 attended.
This year, she anticipates even more will turn out.
The event will recall last year’s theme to “believe, achieve, succeed” because the message still holds value, LeCounte said.
“We still want to make sure that we can get the point across that they have to believe in themselves that they can do all that is set before them, that they can achieve the goals that they set for themselves …,” LeCounte said. “It doesn’t matter that they had a rough year last year. They can make a difference this year and they can succeed.”
The program will begin with an inspirational rally that will run about one hour, and then the fun and games will begin.
After-school care providers, tutoring services and safety agencies will offer information, while the Memorial University Medical Center mobile unit will conduct diabetes and blood pressure screenings and other health checks.
The 3rd Infantry Division 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team will conduct team building activities, and the Liberty Blazers basketball founder Cedric Robertson will lead a tournament and shoot-outs.
LeCounte said 54 organizations will give out school supplies and information about educational, health and safety resources, but they will not hand items out until after the rally concludes.
“We want them to hear the nuggets, to receive knowledge and get some wisdom on how to conduct and how to carry out for the school year … This is not just for our Head-Start through 12th graders this is for college, this is for adults, this is for people who need to get their GEDs,” LeCounte said.
The rally is sponsored by SNF Chemtall, the city of Riceboro, the Hinesville Area Arts Council, the Liberty County Recreation Department, the Riceboro Church of God and the Coca-Cola Bottling Co.
As an extension of the rally, Project Reach GANG will host a free worship reunion concert at 6 p.m. Sunday at the St. James Community Center in Midway. Current and former members of the choir will gather to perform a variety of choral pieces and solos.
“We’re coming back together. We tried to reach some coming from Texas, Atlanta, Myrtle Beach, Brunswick area … they’re coming from all over just to be back together. It’s going to be awesome, and it’s free.”
GANG also will give out school supplies at the concert, LeCounte said.