ELIZABETHTOWN — An effort to reach out to the youth of the community is under way by planning a special evening for them. The event, called “My Story,” is a youth rally scheduled for Sunday, March 6, at 5 p.m. at Elizabethtown Middle School. It is open to young people of all ages, and was specifically scheduled for a weekend when college students may be on spring break.
The rally is the brainchild of Cheryl West, a teacher at East Bladen High School.
“Honestly, the Lord laid it on my heart,” she said. “I teach school and see kids every day, and they look like they’re searching. They have good in them and need direction. Instead of fighting the world, I want them to feel like they’re not alone and have someone fighting for them.”
West took that inspiration and enlisted the help of others. She planned a meeting and opened it up to anyone who wanted to aid in the endeavor. Not affiliated with any group or organization, the team, according to West, is just a group of people who have come together to introduce young people to who Jesus Christ is and, for those who know who Jesus is, take them to a deeper level with Him.
The name of the event is derived from a song by Big Daddy Weave that speaks of Christians telling their stories of God’s provision in their lives. Accordingly, the evening will focus on hearing from local citizens who want to share their stories of God’s goodness.
Several volunteers have already signed up to help by sharing their stories. Evangelists David Pait and Steven Cox will be speaking, and Nick Peavy and Caitlin David will be singing. The group is still looking for people who want to speak or sing.
“Maybe you’ve gone through trials and tribulations and want to share how the Lord has made a difference in your life. We want ordinary people whose lives the Lord has impacted,” said West.
In addition to speakers, music, and fellowship, young people can expect free hot dogs and drinks, videos that address everyday issues they have to deal with, and possibly a praise dance team.
“It’s going to be a really good time. Each person will leave with a gift bag of goodies, so no one leaves empty-handed,” explained West.
West is so determined to reach young people in the area that she and her team are arranging transportation for anyone in grades six through twelve who wants to come.
They’re also planning an incentive for young people in church youth groups to bring others. Real World Outdoors will be donating $200 to the youth group that brings the most new people.
“We’re shooting for 700,” West said about the anticipated crowd. “We would love to have that many, but we’ll take as many as we can get.”
The biggest challenge facing the planning team is transportation. The plan at this time is to have local churches sign up to volunteer to pick up youth, and the planning team will assign the church an area of responsibility.
“We really need churches to help commit to do that,” West said. “That’s our greatest need right now.”
West and her team are hoping the effects of the rally will continue long after March 6. They will be passing out bracelets to act as contact points for attendees. Seeing others at school wearing the bracelet, students would make the connection and know they have a peer with whom to talk.
The next planning meeting is Sunday, Feb. 7, at 4 p.m. at the Elizabethtown Presbyterian Church Activities Center located behind the church. Anyone wanting to help with the rally can attend the meeting or email Cheryl West at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 862-4163.