Brighter Day Ministries held their 10th Annual Community Day Festival and Back to School Jam Saturday August 20, 2011. The event was held in the parking lot of Giant on Alabama Avenue and was the last Saturday before D.C. children went back to school.
The jam was completely free, offering free backpacks with school supplies inside, lunch for the entire family, haircuts and hairstyles for the school children and entertainment for everyone!
Many parents were very appreciative of the services the community day offered. Ward 7 resident and Grandmother Shirley Plight said that she was glad this was for the community. She brought her three grandchildren with her to the event and said they were very excited because they were able to see many of their peers and have a good time. One of her grandchildren, LaVell Wesson said he’s ready to go back to school. “I used to hate school, but now I’m ready to go back.” LaVell will be an 8th grader this fall at Ron Brown Middle School.
The event was well attended with many families showing up early to register for the free supplies. Vendor booths were also set up during the event that offered various ministry services from Brighter Day, free training and development classes, small business assistance and there was a free HIV/AIDS health screening. Kids were also able to go to a coloring station and make pictures to give to their parents.
One Brighter Day church member, Sister Bertha Henvis said, “It feels good to be out here helping the community.” She has been a member of the church since 1943 and has seen the back to school jam grow each year. Another member, LaShawn Calloway also said she is proud of the event. “When it first started, this give-a-way was only for church members and now we’ve extended it to the community.”
And the need continues to grow. This year was one of the biggest years for the event with well over 800 people in attendance. Senior Pastor of Brighter Day Ministries, Reverend Lyles said, “Last year we gave out 800 backpacks and this year we increased it to 1,000. There is a major need for an event like this in this community and we are just so happy God has blessed us with the materials to provide for those in need.”
Henson Ridge resident Na-ja Sharpe brought her four children along with a niece and nephew. “I was able to get the kids out of the house today and spend quality time with them”, she said. Two of her children got haircuts while the others enjoyed various rounds jumping in the jungle gym that was set up on the parking lot.