Union Grove Baptist Church prepares students for back-to-school

CHESTERFIELD — On Sept. 1, the pastor and members of Union Grove Baptist Church welcomed representatives from Chesterfield County Fire and EMS, Chesterfield County Public Schools and Chesterfield’s Sheriff’s Department. Area children and parents came together to share in a time of food, entertainment, and information-gathering in preparation for going back to school. The culminating event was the distribution of backpacks and school supplies. Included in each backpack was a copy of a “Back to School Prayer”. This event was a part of the community outreach vision of Senior Pastor William E. Johnson III, who led a prayer to open the event.

In cooperation with Union Grove, The Martha Mason Hill Memorial Foundation Inc., a community service group and an advocate for higher education, was one of the partners with the contribution of backpacks. Another partner in the project was the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. Kappa Rho Omega Chapter of the Farmville area. Ministries and members of the church donated food, backpacks and school supplies. Supplies were also donated by a member of the church residing in Texas. Through the partnerships mentioned, more than one hundred backpacks were received and filled with supplies for students.

For the parent/student information sessions, ReShaud Johnson, dean of students at Tomahawk Creek Middle School in Chesterfield, gave tips for success in school. He urged students to focus less on games and cell phone use and use the time for studying and reading. Johnson championed the basics of getting a good night’s sleep, eating a good breakfast, and keeping positive company. He noted the importance of asking questions and informing trusted adults in instances of bullying.

Parents and grandparents were encouraged to be a part of student success. Dave Tesh, recruiter of volunteers for Chesterfield Fire and EMS, gave tips for safety at home and in school. He mentioned the importance of doing well in math, English, reading, and science, and that learning is a lifelong process. Pat Jones, a 22-year volunteer with Chesterfield Fire and EMS, encouraged students and parents to pay attention to people in their surroundings for personal safety. She gave some tips for safety in the home as well as in the church, and mentioned the opportunity for community service is provided by the agencies represented. Engine 8 was on the scene with a live demonstration. Deputy Johnson from Chesterfield’s Office of the Sheriff gave greetings to parents and students and invited youth and parents to explore a police cruiser that was on site. Brochures, flyers and giveaways were provided by each of the agencies present.