33.2 F
Toledo
Monday, April 6, 2020
Home Events

Events

Second Baptist Church hosts ‘Evening of Excellence’ featuring Bishop Neal Roberson

By Leah Williams

Second Baptist Church hosted an ‘Evening of Excellence’ featuring Bishop Neal Roberson on Saturday, February 15. Dinner was served in the church fellowship hall followed by a concert in the sanctuary featuring Bishop Roberson, a long-time friend of Second Baptist Pastor Jerry L. Boose.

During the concert, the packed audience howled in laughter at Bishop Neal’s comedic anecdotes but were also visibly moved as he ministered through song, testimony, and the word. Pastor Boose said it was just the kind of evening that he envisioned when God impressed upon him to host an event for all people near Valentine’s Day.

“The whole concept came behind we’re going through so much in this country now and in people’s lives. I just wanted to have an evening where we could get away and enjoy each other [and] have a nice dinner,” he said. “I just felt this would be something good to offer to the community so we could come together and for a little while forget all about our troubles and just focus on what God has done.”

Several men in attendance including Pastor Jerry L. Boose, center, lift their hands in worship as Bishop Roberson ministers during the concert.

Pastor Boose said that when he and church administrator Shirley Williams began to discuss the event, he immediately thought of Bishop Roberson.

“He has been a friend of mine for 20-some years. I used to sing with a group called First Creation, and we met Bishop Roberson on the road,” he said. “And when I thought about this event, my heart went to him because I knew he could bring so much to it. So, it’s been a joy.”

Bishop Roberson sang his original songs including selections from his latest album entitled Shout. He also shared stories about his life and family. Many attendees cried out and were in tears when he gave a powerful testimony of being healed from stage 3 lung cancer.

At the end of the evening, it was evident that Pastor Boose and the planning committee were extremely happy with how the event turned out. Both Pastor Boose and committee member Kay Williams specifically acknowledged church administrator Shirley Williams who they say made the event possible.

“I have to thank Shirley Williams. I gave her the vision and she ran with it and pulled all this together, so we want to thank her,” Pastor Boose said.

Junior High Afro-Ball; a graduation into maturity

0
The Toledo Journal | Junior High Afro-Ball
Being sharply dressed didn’t stop, from left, Dmarea Rankin, Julius Akins, Jaylon Akins, and Damond Robinson from dancing.

By Jurry Taalib-Deen
Journal Staff Writer

Although at first glance, the 35th annual Junior High Afro-Ball may seem like it’s just a dance, but according to organizers, it’s much deeper than a dance; it’s a graduation into maturity.

Over 950 students throughout the Toledo Metropolitan Area, and representing Toledo Public Schools, Charter, and Parochial, attended the annual event held at the Seagate Convention Center in downtown Toledo, on Saturday, May 19. Themed, “The future belongs to those who prepare,” the ball was just the icing on the cake, with preparations beginning months in advance.

Junior High Afro-Ball

Weeks leading up to the ball, letters were sent out to area high schools asking the principals to nominate two students, who would represent their school, at the 2018 Afro-Ball. A total of 40 kids, from 20 different schools were then invited, along with their parents, to attend a banquet at Scott High School, days before the event. Students were celebrated for their character, and accomplishments. Both students, and parents were reminded that Grace Community Center, and their partners, wanted to work with the students the coming year, as well as throughout high school, in order to better prepare them for college, or being career ready. Then, while at the ball, those 40 students had a special VIP section reserved for them.

Junior High Afro-Ball
Dancing, centered, and facing each other are Danae Brown, with her back facing, and Mariah Searcy; Jada Willis, left, looks on.

Elaine Page, executive director of the Grace Community Center, which organizes the event, told The Toledo Journal, “Besides being a celebration of diversity, which we have diverse groups of students, in attendance, it’s also about togetherness,” she said.

Junior High Afro-Ball
Besides dancing, kids could play various games. Patrick Huggins, left, and Lonnie Williams play a game of Jenga.

Ms. Page added by saying that the more important part about the Afro-Ball comes when Grace Community Center, as well as their partners, pairing up with the schools, the principals, the teachers, students, and parents, to help them be better prepared for the future.

“Tonight is rites of passage,” she said. “The students are here, without their parents, and they have to make the right decisions, while here, without them. The correct decision making process will help them later on throughout school, and life,” Ms. Page said.

Junior High Afro-Ball
From left are, Bryce Harbaugh, chairman of Grace Community Center Board, Jay Shavers, youth director at Grace Community Center, and three Afro-Ball attendees, Carmello Taite, Moriah Robinson, and Reona Pryor-Allen, and Elaine Page, director of Grace Community Center.

Bryce Harbaugh, chairman of Grace Community Center’s Board said, “If we can get students to think it’s cool to be responsible, and mature, then we would’ve helped make a better person.”

The 54th Annual Debutante Cotillion

Cotillion 2019

By Michael Daniels
Journal Staff Reporter

Saturday, May 25, at the Stranahan Theater in the Great Hall, Faith Rogers was crowned Miss 2019 Debutante at the 54th Annual Debutante Cotillion. Ms. Rogers, who is a senior at Saint Ursula Academy, was overjoyed, yet in disbelief, and surprised, that she had just won the top honors of the evening. She said, “I feel really thankful and happy, and I’m so grateful for my mom and for everything I’ve experienced in the Cotillion. I didn’t even think I was going to win, and honestly, I had only prayed and hoped for third place ( the second runner up to the crown).”

Instead, she won the top spot, which comes with a generous college scholarship, and Ms. Rogers is headed to Kent State University. There she plans to major in political sciences with a minor in pre-law. Her ambitions are to become a lawyer in family court and eventually a judge in the Juvenile detention area.

About the evening itself, she added, “Tonight was beautiful and all the girls did such a great job and they all looked so pretty and nice, and once again I’m just so happy!”

Other winners for the evening were the second runner up to the crown Whitney Hughes from Jones Leadership Academy of Business, and first runner up Lauren Baker from Springfield High School.

Cotillion 2019
Talent Award winners were (L-R) K’Allie Riley: Bowsher High School, Lauren Baker: Springfield High School, and Faith Rogers: Saint Ursula Academy

Mr. Escort of the year was John Reynolds with runner up Russell Chapman III (L). Miss. Congeniality Award sponsored by Henry’s Jewelry went to Chloe Smallwood from Perrysburg High School. Talent Award winners were K’Allie Riley: Bowsher High School, Lauren Baker: Springfield High School, and Faith Rogers: Saint Ursula Academy.

Cotillion 2019
John Reynolds won Escort of the year (R) shown here with Escort of the year runner up, Russell Chapman III (L)

Seven Debutantes also received a University of Toledo President Community Scholarship. They were Cinecere Blackburn and Daviana Estis: Toledo Early College, Jasmine Fox and Alexi Moore: Springfield High School, D’Asia Grover: Scott High School, Kiaea Gowdy: Start High School, and Chloe Smallwood from Perrysburg High School.

In addition an array of certificates of appreciation given out to Debutante, Escorts, and the Debs-In-Waiting.

2019 Debs-In-Waiting present Pearls to the 2019 Debutante.

The evening consisted of a two-hour ceremonial program beginning with a welcome address from Cotillion Co-chairman Karen Jarrett and greetings from The Toledo Club President Dr. Frances Collins. This was followed the presentation of Miss 2018 Debutante Courtney Draper and the introductions of the judges.

Next came the presentation of the Debs-In-Waiting, they are Junior High School girls who aspire to be Debutantes in their senior year. All dress the same on beautiful red formal gowns they marched in the hall and presented themselves before the judges. They were followed by the main event, the presentation of 2019 Debutantes.

One by one dress in stunning white formal gowns they were escorted into the hall by their fathers and introduced to the judge’s table. Then the father took their daughter to their Escort for the evening, young men wearing white tuxedos and white shoes. Once they were all assembled in the hall, the Debs-In-Waiting presented each debutante with a string of white pearls and put them on around their necks.

This was followed by the couples dancing the traditional Cotillion Waltz all around the room. Next came the parents Waltz, this is where the fathers danced with their daughters and the Escorts dances with the Debutantes mother. It all was a very formal and elegant affair, the only thing missing was the champagne!

After the dancing was the award ceremony when all the awards were presented culminating with crowning if Miss Debutantes 2019.

The Annual Debutante Cotillion was started in 1965 by The National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Club’s, Inc., The Toledo Club. It’s purpose, according to a statement published by the Toledo Club of the NANBPWC, Inc, ” Is to present outstanding young ladies to society clothed with the finer thoughts of living and endowed with a complete sense of responsibility. To accomplish these ends The Toledo Club has added life Skill workshops, Financial Scholarships and Etiquette training whereby the Debutante can step on the threshold of womanhood with success”.

Cotillion 2019
The National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Club’s, Inc., The Toledo Club.

To enter into the Debutante program the ladies must meet a rigorous list of qualification and be recommended to The Toledo Club by their High School Counselor. After which the ladies are invited to an Introductory Tea where they learn all they have to do to become a Debutante and how to win the crown.

It’s a year-long process that includes screening, Etiquette Seminars, workshops, photo sessions, talent rehearsals, a talent show, and of course the final night of the Cotillion. At each event, they are rated on a point system all the way to the end. The lady who accumulates the most points by the end becomes the next Debutante of the year.

Mrs. Wilma Brown the chairman of the Cotillion for forty years said, “What’s special about the Cotillion is that we give the young women and men the opportunity to go to college and the chance to learn about other things that they don’t experience in their everyday lives. I really hope the Cotillion continues because it is a worthwhile event in our community.”

Mothers, locally, and from surrounding cities and Michigan treated to fine dining and musical tribute

0
Mother's Day
Family members of Rev. Dr. John Roberts, pastor of Indiana Avenue Missionary Baptist Church are, clockwise Deacon Elmore Sturdivant, Deborah Roberts, Jelise Roberts, David Smith, and Barbara Jones, Makalah, and Orvil Robinson.

By Jurry Taalib-Deen
Journal Staff Writer

The Social Butterfly, LLC, and OMG Productions collaborated to host a citywide Mother’s Day Dinner, and musical tribute, on Sunday, May 12. Held at St. Clements Hall, 2990 Tremainsville Rd, the event featured musical artist, Darius Coleman, and saxophonists, CJ Manning and Company.

Mother's Day
Three of the mothers present, Rachelle Roy, Vernetta Glover, and Marissa Schoenegge, receive a personal serenade from Marcia Bowen.

According to organizers, attendees traveled from Findlay, Defiance, and Cleveland, Ohio, as well as Detroit, Michigan, to attend the sold out event. Guests also had the opportunity to win various gift bags that were raffled during the event. A portion of the proceeds, $500, was donated to the YWCA, in effort to give back to the community, according to Donnetta Carter, CEO of The Social Butterfly, LLC.

Mother's Day
From left, Larry Jones, Master of Ceremonies, Tracy Roberts of OMG Productions, and Donnetta Carter of The Social Butterfly, LLC, sponsored the event, and Deacon Marvin March, committee member, all helped make the event a success.

She told The Toledo Journal that they wanted to do something special for mothers that included fine dining, as well as good entertainment.

“Many of the restaurants that people attend will charge at least $40 per person, but won’t offer entertainment. Our event was cheaper, and offered good entertainment,” Ms. Carter said.

She said the reason they chose to donate to the YWCA is the many beneficial programs the agency offers to the community.

Tracy Roberts, CEO of OMG Productions, said he immediately jumped at the opportunity to help host an event for mothers.

“We’ve received a lot of positive feedback from the community; they’re asking us to do another one,” Mr. Roberts said.

Marissa Schoenegge, said, “This is really a good event. The music is good, and the singer is really good. It has been totally worth my time, and money.”

CJ Manning, saxophonist, entertained those who attended the Mother’s Day dinner.

Anna Davis was one of the winners of a gift bag. She said, “I love this event. The food is good, and the music is good. I’m so glad I came. We need more events like this in Toledo.”

Ms. Carter thanked everyone who attended. She also added a special thank you to her assistant, Danielle Schoenegge, who helped make the event go smoothly, as well as successful.

Miss Debutante, Courtney Draper the $115,000+ woman

The Debs-In-Waiting will compete for Miss. Debutante 2019 in one calendar year.

By Jurry Taalib-Deen
Journal Staff Writer

For 18 weeks, 27 young women participated in various workshops that would prepare them for womanhood, such as etiquette, college preparedness, fitness, and ballroom dancing.

They would attend an Etiquette and Health Luncheon, a Mother/Daughter Luncheon, and participate in a talent show the week leading into the Debutante Cotillion.

The Debutantes, and their fathers, share a dance before announcing Miss Debutante 2018.

There were a few back stories that occurred during those 18 weeks, as well as at the Fifty-third Annual Debutante Cotillion, held on Saturday May 26, in the Great Hall of the Stranahan Theater, 4645 Heatherdowns Blvd.  Sponsored by The Toledo branch of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, Inc., a few of those stories had never occurred in the 53 years of the event.

Those back stories included four sets of twins participating in the event, 13 year old William Palmer Jr., escorted his sister Essence, and won the first ever, Junior Mr. Escort, and all of the debutantes had scholarships totaling seven million dollars.

But the highlight of the night was the crowning of Miss Debutante, Courtney Draper, who earned over $150,000 worth of scholarships.

Courtney Draper, and her escort, Jose Martinez perform the Waltz prior to being crowned Miss Debutante 2018.

When each of the contestants’ bios was read aloud, Ms. Draper, a recent graduate of Toledo School for the Arts, bio was extensive, as well as impressive. Besides being on the honor roll, since kindergarten, belonged to several organizations including National Honor Society, and the Toledo Excel Scholarship Program.

Tariq Hardiman presents LaTosha Forbes, mother to Centraya, with a gift; a recently added tradition done by the escorts.

Further, two of her 10 volunteer services included Flint Water Drive, and Toledo Children’s Hospital.

Ms. Draper was accepted at Bowling Green State University, Wright State University, Eastern Michigan University, and Wittenberg University. She will be attending Wright State in the fall majoring in human resource management, and dance.

“I can’t believe they called my name,” she told The Toledo Journal. “I was like, oh my God, they called my name,” she said.

Miss Debutante 2017, Sara Taite Trail, crowns Courtney Draper, Miss Debutante 2018.

In addition to winning Miss. Debutante, Ms. Draper also won first place in the Outstanding Talent competition by performing a contemporary dance. Ultimately, she said, “I want to be a professional dancer.”

To go along with the title of Miss. Debutante, Ms. Draper won $3000. First runner-up, Nakiya White, won $2000, and second runner-up, Christa Parker won $1000.

Outstanding talent winners were, Courtney Draper, Keyara Edwards, who did an original spoken word piece, and Krista Parker, who performed a science experiment.

Ramona Stephenson won Miss Congeniality, and was awarded with a watch from Henry Triplett, owner of Henry’s Jewelry.

Mr. Escort was Justin Moore, who was awarded $300. And the first ever, Junior Mr. Escort was William Palmer Jr, who was awarded $100.

Receiving The President’s Community Scholarship Awards for $2000, were Simone Black, Marissa Dzotsi, Kennedy Harper, Essence Palmer, and Christa Parker.

The members of The Toledo Club of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, Inc.

Books 4 Buddies has give-away for students at LMHA Weiler Homes

Books 4 Buddies has give-away for students at LMHA Weiler Homes | The Toledo Journal
Ambassador, and spokesman for Books 4 Buddies, Mondo Arce, right, and Jordan Topoleski, read to the children.

By Jurry Taalib-Deen
Journal Staff Writer

“I don’t let me kids read from the internet, unless it’s school related. I want them reading from an actual book,” Maryah McIntosh told The Toledo Journal on Wednesday, July 25.

Ms. McIntosh was one of many parents, who attended Books 4 Buddies event, held at the Weiler Homes, on Toledo’s east side. Throughout the year, the organization hosts similar events around Toledo. The object is to encourage literacy through reading actual books. The event was a collaboration between Toledo Public Schools (TPS) and Lucas County Metropolitan Housing (LMHA).

Books 4 Buddies has give-away for students at LMHA Weiler Homes | The Toledo Journal
Leticia Bermejo said, “I want my son, Xavier Johnson, to love reading like I do. So I thought this event would be good to further encourage him.”

In addition to giving away books, free food, face painting, games, and a boxing lesson made up the day’s agenda.

Mondo Arce, 17, is the spokesperson, as well as an Ambassador for Books 4 Buddies.

“Events like this are so important,” he said. “When you read from a book, instead of your phone, you avoid distractions like texts messages, social media updates, etc. Although books may be considered old fashion, they still work. And it’s important that kids have role models encouraging, and showing them the importance of reading a book,” Mondo said.

Books 4 Buddies has give-away for students at LMHA Weiler Homes | The Toledo Journal
Dr. Romules Durant, superintendent for Toledo Public Schools, and Laneta Goings, founder/president of Books 4 Buddies discuss ways of encouraging children to read during the summer months.

Jordan Topoleski, 18, is also an Ambassador for Books 4 Buddies. He said that, many people may not have the resources to buy and keep books in their homes; therefore, their effort helps fill a much needed void.

“Over the years since I’ve been in the program, I’ve got a better perspective on the entire city, and not just where I live,” he said.

 

Books 4 Buddies has give-away for students at LMHA Weiler Homes | The Toledo Journal

Joaquin Centron Vega is vice president of assets management for LMHA. He said, “We like to take pride in our community by helping to provide positive things for it, especially for the children.”

“This event encourages kids to read during the summer months,” said Dr. Romules Durant, superintendent for TPS. “We’re always looking for ways to encourage literacy,” he said.

AOA Senior Safari at Toledo Zoo

AOA Senior Safari at Toledo Zoo | The Toledo Journal

By Jurry Taalib-Deen
Journal Staff Writer

For 25 years, the Area Office on Aging, AOA, along with their community partners, have been hosting the Senior Safari at the Toledo Zoo. Encouraging a healthy lifestyle, while re-visiting the zoo, all in an entertaining environment is the purpose of the event. But for 2018, participants received much more when the entertainment on Tuesday, September 18, was Motown’s The Vandellas.

AOA Senior Safari at Toledo Zoo | The Toledo Journal
Billie Johnson, President/CEO of AOA, welcomes the seniors to the event, while Jerry Anderson, retired media personality, and the Master of Ceremony, looks on.

Before being entertained by the legends of Motown, Billie Johnson, President/CEO of AOA, told The Toledo Journal that attendees were first, encouraged to participate in a one mile walk around the zoo. September is “Falls Prevention Month,” she said, and the walk is to bring awareness to falls, and ways to prevent them. Also, the walk encouraged exercising, as one of the ways to help build muscle, and bone, both of which, could help decrease the chances of falling.

“We’re hoping those who participate in the walk, each take at least 10,000 steps today,” Mrs. Johnson said. “One of our partners, Silver Sneakers, donated 100 pedometers, so seniors can keep track of their steps,” she said.

Sarah Vandevender, a pharmacist, said, various things can contribute to falls, such as dizziness. Some medications, as well as having low sodium, and potassium, could increase the chances of falling. Low magnesium, she said, could lead to muscle cramps, which could also increase the chances of falling.

AOA Senior Safari at Toledo Zoo | The Toledo Journal
Pete Peterson rolled the dice to see what exercise he had to do. Lunges weren’t a problem for him, being that he works out regularly.

“Always, speak to your pharmacist, or primary care physician, first, about taking preventive measures,” she said.

Following the one mile walk, Silver Sneakers, had four stations set up along the route to the Malawi Event Center, where vendors, lunch, and the performance by The Vandellas would take place. At each station, seniors would roll large dice that had six different exercises on each side. Jumping jacks, lunges, and leg lifts, were among some of the exercises that participants were encourage to do. Every senior that participated in an exercise, at each station, would receive a free gift.

AOA Senior Safari at Toledo Zoo | The Toledo Journal
The Vandellas made their way through the crowd, people stood up and danced, including Billie Johnson, President/CEO of AOA, seen on the left.

Once inside the Malawi Center, numerous vendors focusing on healthy lifestyle, or services offered to seniors, passed out information about what they offered, gave health screenings, or distributed free fruit.

After a healthy lunch, attendees were treated to 30 minute performance by The Vandellas, in which many seniors could be seen dancing to the group’s songs.

AOA Senior Safari at Toledo Zoo | The Toledo Journal
Lucy Mayer had to get a dance in with the Vandellas.

At the entrance into the zoo, seniors prepare for their one mile walk. The goal of the day was each walker tries to reach 10,000 steps.

Catholic Diocese of Toledo Black Ministries celebrates Black History bestowing Drum Major Awards

Catholic Diocese of Toledo Black Ministries celebrates Black History bestowing Drum Major Awards
Bishop Daniel E. Thomas (center) Bestows Drum Major Awards to the following nominates (L-R) Vivian Johnson, Malachi Wayne Wyse, Devon Williams and Dr. Helen C. Cooks.

On February 23, Bishop Daniel E. Thomas of the Catholic Diocese of Toledo celebrated a mass for promoting harmony, as our nation celebrates Black History Month. The highlight of the event, which took place at Our Lady, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Cathedral on Collingwood Blvd., was the presentation of the Catholic Diocese of Toledo Black Ministry’s Drum Major Award to four outstanding citizens.

Inspiration for this award came from the work Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’ did in his lifetime to promote harmony and justice in the world. The name of the award itself comes from a speech Dr. King’s made where he said, ‘I am a drum major for the peace and justice’. The criterias for receiving this award are also based on the values of Dr. King life and this speech.

This year’s award recipients were Dr. Helen C. Cooks, Vivian Johnson, along with and two students, Devon Williams and Malachi Wayne Wyse.

Dr. Cook is best known for her work as an educator, a graduate of Scott High School and The University of Toledo where she received her Undergraduate, Masters and Doctoral degrees. She has impacted the lives of thousands of students through the Toledo Excel Program at the University of Toledo. This scholarship program is her crowning achievement.

Upon receiving her award Dr. Cook said, ‘This is the second Drum Major Award I received this year and I am proud to have received these awards. Dr. King was the drum major and the person of our time, and he still is today. It’s an honor to receive an award in his name.”

She added, “The work that I’ve done is about justice and peace and for that I’m very proud. They say he kept up trouble and they say I keep up trouble, and on that accord, we have something on common. To the young people of today I say be prepared for that which is coming ahead. The road is not easy, but the road is worthwhile, let God order your footsteps and you will make it.”

Also honored was Vivian Johnson is a lay leader at St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church here in Toledo. She has served with dedication and grace for many years as chairperson of St. Martin’s Evangelization Ministry. Other ministries that she participates in are Liturgy and Consolation as well as being a Eucharistic Minister and Lector. Her prayer ministry for those who are imprisoned touch all who have been impacted by a loved one’s imprisonment.

She leads by example and is a role model to many. Her service to the church and her impact on the younger generation is immeasurable.

Davion Williams, a well-rounded honor student, has impacted his St. John’s High School community through his leadership in the school’s Social Justice Alliance, where he helps raise awareness on subjects such as housing inequality and gentrification. His activism for social causes includes his participation in the 2018 Washington D. C, “March for Our Lives” His service for credit hours include serving food to those in need, volunteering in a nursing home and participating in an Appalachian Immersion project in West Virginia where helped to run a camp for youth. He is also a talented
composer of hop music.

Malachi Wayne Wyse is known for seeing the good in people and brings the best out in others. He prioritizes relationships, scholastic achievements and downplays his prowess in athletics. His character and personality marked him early as a youth with potential for leadership; leading to his selection to attend Salesian Leadership Camp. He is described humble, but his vibrant personality is brought to bear on everything he touches, including mock trial participation, performing in student musical productions, the Afro Club, Asian Culture Club and campus ministry. He fulfills his service credit responsibilities and for two years has served as a camp counselor for
incoming St. Francis de Sales High School students, where he is also the senior class president.

The Drum Major Awards are given out every year, if you know someone who you think is worthy of such an honor, call Ellen Jones at the Catholic Diocese of Toledo for further instructions on the nomination process.

Calvary Baptist Holds Third Annual Book Bag Give Away

Students show off they’re brand new free Book-Bags with supplies at Calvary Missionary Baptist Church’s Third Annual Book Bag Give-Away.

By Michael Daniels
Journal Staff Reporter

On Saturday, August 10, 2019, more than 200 central city students and their parents participated in Calvary Missionary Baptist Church’s Third Annual Book Bag Give-Away at the church located at 702 Collingwood Blvd.

The giving away of book bags was really only a small part of what was a much larger community event. However, providing the students with book bags with supplies, so they could be prepared for the first day of school was the main objective of the day.

(L-R) Calvary’s Pastor Rev, Floyd Smith Jr. with Lana Pearson and her sister Japzery and her new Book Bag, TPS CEO/Superintendent Dr. Romules Durant, with Tyler Jackson and his new Book Bag, and Mascot The Black Panther: Mr. David Miles and Deacon Willie Tucker: Book Bag Give Away Chairman at Calvary Missionary Baptist Church’s Third Annual Book Bag Give-Away.

Dr. Romules Durant, CEO/Superintendent of Toledo Public Schools, who was present for the activities, explained why students having a book bag on the first day of school is so important. He said, “Kids really don’t own much in life, unlike adults who when they buy their first house or car, have pride in the ownership. For kids, on the first day of school, their pride in ownership is their book bag and supplies. It is something they own and they do a show and tell with the other kids”.

“The worst scenario is when on the first day of school the teacher says ‘let’s get started, take out your pencil and write this down,’ and one kid doesn’t have any supplies, while all the rest of the kids do. This can lead to anxiety and depression for a student on the first day of school because they don’t have their proper school supplies to get started with the class. Having their own supplies brings about a sense of anatomy and a sense of pride and ownership,” he said.

Beside free Book-Bags, there were free clothing give away, free face painting, free horseback riding, and free food. There was also entertainment from the Party Crashers (a Character for Hire Service) they brought along a Mascot the famous comic book character, The Black Panther (David Miles). He mingled with and amused the kids, while passing out Super Hero stickers, to all of the young people. For spiritual uplifting there was Gospel music from the Glass City Disciples.

Glenwood Elementary student D’Marria Johnson found a pretty brand new dress at the clothes giveaway and a book bag at the Calvary Missionary Baptist Church’s Third Annual Book Bag Give-Away.

Also, all the free Book-Bags came fully stocked with all the needed school supplies and were ready to go. All you had to be is a school-aged student and you qualify for a free book-bag!

Deacon Willie Tucker, the church chairman for the Give-Away explained, “This whole thing started when we used to have a community picnic and we gave away five bicycles. There was a little boy who really wanted a bicycle but he didn’t get one, and he was so disappointed. So, one of our sponsors suggested we give away something where a lot more kids could benefit from our events, and he suggested a book-bag giveaway. So that’s what we did and this is our third year doing so, and it’s been very successful. This year, we will give away over 200 book-bags with supplies”.

“That sponsor, Williams Homes, who suggested we give out book-bags is still with us today, along with some of our other sponsors.  As, we as a church, reach out to serve the community around us. We are grateful to our sponsors for their help and donations. God has blessed us and we are just passing that blessing on”, said the Deacon.

Invited to attend by Calvary Baptist Church The Members of The Party Crashers (a Charter for Hire Service) enjoy the Church’s Third Annual Book Bag Give-Away.

Rev. Floyd Smith Jr., the pastor of Calvary Missionary Baptist Church commented about the giveaways saying, “Our title is Calvary Missionary Baptist Church, and what missionary means is that we must reach out beyond these four walls into the community and try to bring people to Jesus Christ. We also try help with their spiritual needs as well as with their physical needs”.

Providing soulful Gospel music for the Book-Bag Give Away were the Glass City Disciples.
Not only did the kids get free Book-bags they also enjoyed free horseback rides at Calvary Missionary Baptist Church’s Third Annual Book Bag Give- Away.
(L-R) Calvary’s Sister Sheilatt Green, Sister Jewel Parker, and Herb Gabriel enjoy freshly grilled hot dogs served by Calvary’s First Lady Robin Wilson-Smith at the Book-Bag Give-Away.

“I believe with this give-away, we touching some lives and we are giving the kids what they need to be successful. If we can plant that seed, even a little bitty mustard seed will grow into a great big giant tree. That’s is what we are trying to do today, plant those seeds,” said the pastor.

2018 Kwanzaa Celebration held at the Fredrick Douglass Community Center

Special to the Journal by Michael Daniels

After the traditional Christmas holiday ends, many African Americans observe another celebration known as Kwanzaa. A Swahili phrase which means ‘first’ and signifies the first fruit of the harvest. Kwanzaa begins on December 26 and last for seven days ending on January 1, and is based on seven core principals.

These principals are Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulla (Self Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility) Ujmaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity) and Imani (Faith). These ideals are observed one at a time on each day of the Kwanzaa season in the order listed by the lighting of a candle each day in the Kinara, a stand which holds the seven candles. This is followed by other Kwanzaa related traditions.

Here in Toledo on the first day of the celebration, December 26, 2018. The Fredrick Douglass Center hosted this yearly activity with a community Kwanzaa event. Organized by the Toledo Kwanzaa House Committee, the event lasted for four day instead of seven do to the venue’s availability. Despite its condensed form the program still offered Toledo’s African American community as well as others the opportunity to celebrate Kwanzaa in grand style.

Squeezed into a shorter time period than normal, the four programs covered two core principals with the lighting of two Kwanzaa candles each day. Ending with the last principal and last candle on the final day.

Day one’s opening ceremony was hosted by Master of Ceremony Rodney Gordon Jr. of the Toledo Kwanzaa House Committee, and featured inspirational speakers, traditional African dance performances, audience participation events, community vendors, and food samples.

One of the highlights of the was guest speaker Mrs. Joyce Stubblefield, who educated and amused everyone as she explained the history of collard greens, an African American food staple. ‘Slaves were not given meats very often so they ate vegetables instead’, she said, ‘and they invented different and creative ways to prepare these items’. She introduced the audience to such ideas as the collard greens sandwich, Egg rolls and even brownies, along with many other ways to prepare this favorite vegetable. She also brought along samples of her collard greens specialties for everyone to taste.

Another outstanding speaker was from The Toledo Kwanzaa House Committee and went by the self-proclaimed name of ‘Kewate’, he spoke on the second principal of Kwanzaa urging the audience to, ‘figure out who you are and be able to discern what is true and what is not true. You are not who society says you are and everything you see, hear or read is not true. If you want to know the truth read the Bible’, he said ‘there you will find the real truth and discover who you are’.

The program also included the singing of the Black National Anthem, a Recognition of the Elders, an Ancestral Roll Call, as well as several other traditional Kwanzaa customs.

Today’s local Kwanzaa celebration evolved from a small and humble beginning back in 1967 in the house of Diane Gordon: Coordinator of the Kwanzaa House Committee. ‘I started celebrating Kwanzaa with my family first,’ she said, ‘and then others soon joined in with us and it has grown from there to what it is today. Eventually the celebration got too big for my house so we moved it to the Grace Community Center’.

This move however would not be the last. Over and over again as the crowds continued to swell the committee was forces to find larger and larger spaces for the growing audience. Finally, the group ended up at The Douglass Center in the heart of the African American community. A place that has enough room to accommodate the ever-growing audience and all the other activities associated with a true Kwanzaa celebration.

When asked, why is Kwanzaa important and what is the attraction, Diane Gordon said, ‘ Kwanzaa teaches us about our true culture and the importance of our culture. We are a family orientated people of faith and we need to learn our true history. If you know your history you won’t make the same mistake in life. It also instills in us the importance of self-respect and respect for our others. If you understand the principals of Kwanzaa you can utilize them every day and throughout the rest of our life. Kwanzaa inspires us to unite and come together as a people and build a better community. If we adhere to the principals of Kwanzaa, we will have a better way of life because these principals teach us how we should live’.

Kwanzaa was originally conceived during the African American re-identification period of the racially turbulent sixties in 1966. This unique African Americans festival of life and spirit realized it’s 52 year of existence in 2018, and has established its place in the world as a legitimate cultural tradition.

Janece Wooley, the Interim Executive Director of the Fredrick Douglass Community Associations said of the events, ‘we are excited to embark on 100 years of service to this community, and we want to continue to be the epicenter for hope and encouragement. We are very happy and proud that The Toledo Kwanzaa House has chosen us to be bless with this wonderful Kwanzaa celebration for the past three years.