Youth Explosion erupts in downtown Greenville

Published 12:56 pm Tuesday, July 26, 2022

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Saturday at 10 a.m. in the Confederate Park across from City Hall, the 3rd annual Youth Power Explosion 2022 blasted into downtown Greenville.

This year, the event was organized to encourage local youth towards service, encouraging them to serve in church, at home and in their community.

This year’s theme was, “We are making a difference, leading the way, and standing tall,” said Evangelist Cynthia Herbert, the youth director of Mt. Ida Church and founder of Open Door Ministries.

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You may recognize her name. She is the author of the children’s book ‘Macy Hill’ and has been working with children for over 30 years.

Pastors in attendance at this event were Rev. Michael Pouncey of the Mt. Ida Missionary Baptist Church and Rev. Dr. Dennis McCants of St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church.

“These two ministries came together, combined, united in community, 0for our youth,” Herbert said.

Evangelist Jasmine Bedgood from the St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church also helped to bring this event to Greenville.

Minister Gloria Warren was also in attendance.

“We are coming together as churches to heal, grow and move forward for a good future for all the youth in this community and surrounding counties,” Herbert added.

They teamed up with Jerome Harris III from the Greenville Parks and Recreation department to make this year’s event a success. 

Valuable help also came from Philip Graham, the manager of the Piggly Wiggly grocery store, and Claire Corley of Safe Harbor donated book bags and door prizes for the event.

Dr. Jannette Lewis-Clark of Birmingham purchased several of Herbert’s books to pass out to the children, as did Deacon Curtis Herbert.

Evangelist Jahane Mitchell of Gift T-Shirts and Design Company designed the t-shirts for the event, and Rev. Olby Bedgood provided the outdoor tents.

Youth Explosion is a ministry conference for middle and high school students, although all children were welcomed to attend.

The events included musical artists, guest speakers, activities for the group and worship services.

This event provided a safe and fun experience for the young participants, encouraging them to build stronger bonds within their community while keeping them away from the streets.

The event also featured a balloon release of purple heart-shaped balloons this year.

“I wanted to do that for the children in Texas, as a memorial to them,” Herbert said.

On May 24, 2022, 19 children and two adult teachers were killed and 17 others wounded by gun violence at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

“We want the children to feel safe going back to school. Assistant Police Chief Anthony Barganier talked to them about the safety measures at their schools,” Herbert said.

Barganier told the children in attendance, “The school may look a little different, but things have been put in place to keep you safe, and you don’t have to be afraid.”

Several special guests attended the Greenville event, and the Old Elam Baptist Church Youth choir kept the crowd on their feet. The local St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church praise team shared their joyous music with attendees.

Herbert also wanted to honor and celebrate those people in the community who have helped through the years to bring this community together. She had plaques made up by Championship Trophy here in town and gave them out to select individuals who have helped by donating time, money, and attention to these community projects over the years.

“I gave the plaques from my organization, Open Door Ministry,” Herbert said.

Herbert has been a guest at the Greenville-Butler County Public Library, reading her book and interacting with the children. Library Director Kevin Pearcey purchased several of Herbert’s books to give away to the children who attended that event.