By Jennifer L. Warren
PLATTEKILL – Teamwork. Family. Confidence. Compassion. Connection.
These are just some of the results of being involved with the Youth Group at The New Day Tabernacle Church, according to some of its long-term members.
“You learn about working together and developing patience, and with that comes strong bonds with others,” explained Gabrielle Reid, a 2015 Newburgh Free Academy graduate, currently attending Orange County Community College, who has been involved with the Youth Program for the past 10 years. “We are truly like a family; I am here basically every day.”
Whether it be to get academic help (homework, SAT prep, and a list of other areas), participate in the Mentorship Program, be a part of the Friday night activities, or display their talents at Saturday’s “Youth Explosion” event, a majority of the Youth Program members spend a huge portion of their days at New Day Tabernacle, learning, interacting, bonding, and growing. The extremely active Youth Department, made up of over 40 members hailing from all over the Hudson Valley, revealed the fruits of their last few months of diligent labors at the “Explosion” event. Here, for over five hours, they unveiled to guests such talents as; praise dancing and singing, a painting mimicing a song’s lyrics, panel discussion on the intricacies of college life, rap dancing and singing, a fashion show, as well as a drama skit and much more.
The talent showcase was a culmination of not only very hard work, but other deeper intangibles.
“It is so very rewarding working with children,” said Tina Jackson, the Youth Director for over the past eight years. “I’m so excited that they are allowing God to use them to show their talents and for God to get all the glory out of their lives.”
Summer Roberts, who lives in Beacon, and is preparing to enter her junior year of high school, spends countless hours immersed with the Youth Program. As she prepared to unleash her step dancing skills with the rest of her team Saturday, she was hard pressed to recall the exact amount of years of her involvement. “Ever since I can remember,” said a smiling Roberts. “The Program has really inspired me to come out of my shell and develop confidence.”
That heightened self-esteem was readily observable as Roberts and company powerfully lit up the front “stage” area with a host of mesmerizing, rhythmic moves, resulting in cheers of affirmation from the audience.
Whatever activity Youth Program members take part in, the central focus remains the same: education. With a 98 percent ratio of its members attending college, the Program sets out to create lifelong learners, who can positively leave their authentic footprints on today’s changing society.
“We look at the millenial today, and they are radically different than in past years, so we try to give them an isolated focus on not just their talents but their love for God that can be expressed in their own special way,” explained Bishop Christopher J. Hodge, who has been with New Day Tabernacle for the past 14 years. “If the church doesn’t make time for them, who will?” Reflecting further, Hodge added, “It’s time to stop celebrating what was and celebrate what is to be; each one of our children is special, our future, and for that we must take the time to invest in them.”