By Jason A. Smith
Representatives of a local church are preparing students for the school year through an annual event scheduled this weekend.
New Birth South Metropolitan Church, at 2455 Mt. Carmel Rd., in Hampton, will host a Back to School Rally Saturday from 11 a.m., to 6 p.m. The seventh annual event will be held at the Gerald Matthews Complex at Lovejoy Regional Park, located at 1935 McDonough Rd., in Hampton.
The church's youth minister, Melvin C. Smith, said the goal of the rally, which is expected to draw 4,000 people, is to "educate, equip and empower the kids for higher learning."
Smith said the rally is part of a vision on the part of the church's senior pastor, Andre Landers, to promote unity in the community. To that end, free school supplies will be given to all students, while parents have the opportunity to obtain testing information for their kids.
"We want families to be able to sustain themselves, by being informed with the knowledge and understanding to perpetuate positive life skills from one generation to the next," said Smith.
Another feature of the event will be a health fair, which Smith said will provide vision screenings and information topics such as childhood obesity, AIDS and diabetes. Representatives from the American Cancer Society and the American Red Cross, as well as a dental hygienist, will also be on hand.
In addition, several bands and ROTC teams from area schools will showcase their talent. Meanwhile, members of local high-school football teams in Henry and Clayton counties will take part in a toughman competition.
For more information, call (678) 479-4990.