POWHATAN – The annual MLK Jr. Youth Day Community Breakfast will return later this month to highlight coming together and celebrating the achievements of local youth.
The event, now in its ninth year, is a morning of celebration in honor of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., focusing on the talents and accomplishments of local youth joining together for a morning of community unity, said April Gray, who is co-chair of the event with Shirley Goins. The breakfast will be held at 8 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 20 at Powhatan High School, 1800 Judes Ferry Road.
Tickets are currently available for purchase for $12 for adults and no charge for children 11 and under. Purchase tickets before Jan. 11.
Organizers will also be collecting canned and nonperishable goods to donate to the Powhatan Food Pantry and ask those who attend to bring one or more items to share.
The theme for this year’s event is “Peace Begins with Me,” and organizers hope those who attend will feel empowered to help make their community and the world at large a better place, she said. It reiterates the peace, unity, and love that King promoted and the legacy he left behind.
“Each of us has the ability to make a positive difference in helping to create peace within ourselves, amongst ourselves and within the world,” Gray said.
The event will start with breakfast in the commons area at the school and then move into the auditorium for the rest of the program, Goins said. The morning promises to be filled with excitement, with a special skit performance by the Powhatan High School Drama Club, along with performances by the Powhatan High School One Voice, the Powhatan High School Jazz Band and the Powhatan Middle School String Orchestra.
The growing interest and enthusiasm of local youth to become involved in the program has helped keep the program fresh each year, Goins said. She praised school division leadership for encouraging local youth to become involved, either through performance or applying for a scholarship. Goins said the group saw 18 scholarship applications for this year’s event.
“We got the school so much more involved with it. Dr. (Eric) Jones and Dr. (Mike) Massa stepping up and saying we want our kids to really be a part of this. They have been building on it as well by encouraging their youth at the schools,” Goins said.
Organizers are overwhelmed by the positive response the group has received from the Powhatan community through the years and the growing awareness of the event, Gray said. More businesses are beginning to support the program by providing scholarships or donating toward scholarships.
“We have a diverse group of students applying for scholarships, and last year we were able to give a small monetary award to all who applied for scholarships, even though they were not recipients,” she said. “More students are participating and applying for scholarships. We have had students who have received scholarships and have since graduated from college who have given back to the program by speaking at the event or assisting with the behind-the-scenes administrative process. Students are beginning to volunteer to assist during the program. We so proud that our youth are giving up a holiday morning and making an effort to participate.”
For more information, contact Little Zion Baptist Church at 804-375-9404.
Laura McFarland may be reached at Lmcfarland@powhatantoday.com.