GALLIPOLIS — Gallia County Juvenile Court conducted a “Back to School” drive Saturday at the Gallipolis First Church of the Nazarene with the aid of local organizations.
According to event organizer and Gallia County truancy diversion director Anita Moore, roughly 130 Gallia County school students were given pens, notebooks, pencils and erasers by 25 volunteers that spanned six churches. Leftover supplies will be donated back to local schools.
“We hope that this will grow bigger in the future. This is our first time,” Moore said. “We were going to start at 4:30 p.m. but because it was so hot, we switched the speaker and entertainment around and brought everyone inside.”
Moore said students and families had constant access to water as well as pizza during the course of the event. Games like Nine Square were played, as well as children having an open gym inside First Church of the Nazarene.
“This event was made possible by a grant the juvenile court was able to obtain earlier in the year,” Moore said. “This event is to help motivate kids to get back to school and have them show up with supplies and help them be excited by things like what our speaker had to say.”
Scott Chevalier, 48, a Gallipolis native, leads the Powerhouse Youth Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to informing teenagers about the power of choice. He spoke to students at the drive.
“Our message is around the power of choice. We use the phrase ‘every choice will cost you something,’” Chevalier said. “A lot of schools we go to, we don’t talk about specifics like drugs and alcohol or bullying. We do talk specifically about how choice impacts all those things. Your choices that students make not only impact their today, but also their tomorrow. A lot of students think only about what is going to happen in the moment and not after it. We try to get them to reflect on their future and what it needs to look like. When they get to see how their future can be, they are more likely to make better choices.”
Jimmy Dooley, 35, originally of Bethel, Ohio, is a Christian singer and songwriter who entertained the crowd with contemporary music and uplifting messages.
“Really what we (his family) try to do is reach out to people that struggle with thoughts of suicide, eating disorders, depression and people that deal with addiction. A lot of the messages in our music are about overcoming strong holds in our lives,” Dooley said. “We try to come in with a message of encouragement and inspire people that no matter what their struggle is that God can help them get through it.”
Dooley said his personal struggles as a teenager helped motivate him in his music in hopes it would reach the youth of today.
Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.