OKOLONA – It’s tough being a teenager.
The pressure on today’s teenager is greater than it has ever been and Calvary Baptist Church is seeking to teach kids ways to handle that burden and make good choices with TURN UP.
“I had a vision for something like this and spoke to Shondra Gathings about my concerns,” said Rev. Clarence Frison, of Calvary Baptist Church. “She has taken that idea and made it happen.”
And it happen at 6 p.m. Monday night at the church at 200 North Olive Street in downtown Okolona.
“Our church is hosting it, but it is open to every church and everyone in this community,” said Frison. “Some of us know what our children and families are going through. We want to see kids transformed by this series of meetings.”
TURN UP will be held the first Monday of each month and will address drug and alcohol abuse, peer pressure, bulling, teen pregnancy, obesity, gangs and education.
Frison and Gathings have enlisted the help of Chickasaw County Narcotics Investigator and DARE Officer Keith Roberson in teaching kids how to make good choices.
Gathings said each meeting will start with refreshments, a little fun and be followed by a program and class exercise.
“We have lined up judges, doctors, nurses and other professionals to come in and talk to these kids about what they are facing and what the future holds if they make wise choices,” said Gathings. “We initially thought we would just aim this at teenagers. We have decided to open it up to anyone and that includes parents and grandparents.”
Gathings, a certified rehabilitation counselor, said youngsters will be grouped by age when age and gender appropriate discussion is required.
“We’ve already got a lot of churches involved and planning on sending their youth,” said Gathings. “We’ve even got some city-league baseball coaches who will be making sure their teams take part in this series of program.”
Gathings said TURN UP is seeking sponsors and the costs are currently being handled by Calvary Baptist.
“This will have a positive influence in the lives of kids in this community,” said Frison. “Our children go through a lot – it’s tough being a teenager – and we want them to know there are people out there who believe in them and want to help.”
For more information about being a part of TURN UP, call Gathings at 662-891-2292.