Photo by Kathy Jefcoats
Johnny Williams Jr., 8, sings while his cousins — four siblings — provide back-up during a Christmas party for House of Dawn. The children, ages 12-8, form the group Prince Nefew and Da Mill.
By Kathy Jefcoats
JONESBORO — About a dozen young mothers were treated to a Christmas party Thursday night, complete with a holiday dinner, toys for their babies and entertainment by young talented kids.
Prince Nefew and Da Mill closed out the event at New Life Christian Center, bringing down the house with holiday songs and choreographed moves that included acrobatics and gymnastics. The group is made up of five kids — siblings Michael Miller, 12, Takeyah Miller, 11, Thomas Miller, 10 and Mercedes Miller, 9; and cousin Johnny Williams Jr., 8.
The siblings' mother died during an asthma attack in 2004, leaving the children to be raised by her three brothers, Marcus Miller, Johnny Williams Sr. and Ramon Martin, said Miller. The talented quintet performs all over the country, he said.
The party was held for House of Dawn, which helps young unwed mothers transition into independence with their babies. Program director Taralyn Keese said the party was a way for the young families to take a holiday break.
"This gives them a break from the every day struggles as a teen parent," she said. "The entertainment is by their peers, teens doing things positively and doing great things."
WellStar Health System sponsored the entertainment and food, which included baked chicken and traditional Southern sides. The Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority sisters baby-sat in a back room while the mothers enjoyed performances by Mizz Diva, 13, DJ Rockabell, 18, J'Plus The Entertainer, 12, and Prince Nefew and Da Mill. Mizz Diva is managed by her mother, Montanique Sutton, a show promoter for positive kids.
"We find teens who have a gift and promote them so they can live out their dreams," she said.
Sutton put together bags of hair care products and distributed them to the mothers.
WellStar spokesman Jason Griggs said the party is the company's way of giving back to the community.
"We do a lot of community events, too, like health fairs," he said.
Griggs also manages his son, J'Plus, through Sky's The Limit Entertainment.
"We're definitely pleased with the turnout and the reception to the entertainment," said Griggs.
Marcedes Lyons with Reyarpdrol Foundation, a nonprofit organization, also provided performers. Lyons also distributes toys, clothes and shoes throughout the county. The organization will be handing out 500 toys Christmas Eve.
Clayton County Solicitor General Tasha Mosley and newly-elected Clayton County Commissioner Shana Rooks are AKA sisters who participated in the party. Mosley said she was happy to be a part of a positive experience.
"This is what Christmas is all about," she said. "Seeing the munchkins walking around and playing with toys. It's good to be able to do something nice for these babies."
The sorority partnered with House of Dawn, operated by founder Dawn Murray, earlier this year. Rooks said the sorority began as a service organization and continues that tradition.
"We're dedicated to serve, that's what we do," she said. "We also work extensively in the schools in Clayton and Henry counties."