Back to School Empowerment Rally is a Success!

By Ashley Winterstein

The Back to School Empowerment Rally is an annual event organized by the Abundant Life Restoration Center (ALRC) in Centreville to encourage and empower children and young adults in the area to achieve their academic goals. Over 400 back packs filled with school supplies have been distributed since 2004 and numerous activities organized as part of the annual rallies to encourage participation and attendance.

This year’s event, sponsored by the Abundant Life Restoration Center, Community Mentoring Partnership, Faith Tabernacle Holy Church, the Queen Anne’s County Council for Children & Youth, and the local Faith Community, was the most successful one yet. These organizations united to gather supplies and collect donations from community members to fill book bags with school supplies. All 5 locations of CNB Bank in Queen Anne’s County served as drop off locations for the supplies.

The 2012 Rally was held at Millstream Park in Centreville on Saturday, August 18, 2012 from 12-2pm. Pastor Anthony Reed of Abundant Life Restoration Center spoke to the attendees on the theme, “Geared for Excellence,” in hopes of encouraging students and their parents to set higher goals both academically and spiritually.

College and apprentice representatives also set up tables and distributed pertinent information to the attendees. The Chesapeake College Adult Education Program and a representative from Sojourner-Douglass College distributed materials and the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulations’ Division of Labor and Industry sent brochures and math tests.

The CommUNITY Mentoring Partnership also sponsored a local magician, the “Amazing Kindini” from Kent Island United Methodist Church, to deliver an anti-bullying message for students of all ages. The Mentor Board was also on hand to introduce their mission and offer information about the opportunity to become a mentor or mentee in their program.

With the free food, fun activities, and back pack donations, ALRC was hoping to assist at least 100 families during the event. According to the registration list, 182 children were served this year, ranging in age from 4 to college aged.

Jacki Carter, Positive Youth Development Coordinator, was excited about this year’s event. “It was an amazing day, showing the power of many coming together to help our community’s children and youth be prepared for the first day of school with appropriate school supplies. The CommUNITY Mentoring Partnership Board saw this as an opportunity to live our vision of adults who are our greatest resources reaching out to our children and youth who are our greatest assets. This shows the importance of collaboration with community members and groups and their power to make a very positive impact on our youngest citizens. It was a great day of “character” in the neighborhood.”

If you have any questions about the mentoring program or Character Counts! in Queen Anne’s County or are interested in becoming a volunteer, please contact Jacki Carter at 410-758-6677 or For more information about the Abundant Life Restoration Center, please contact Kia Reed at 410-739-0395.

The CommUNITY Mentoring Partnership and Character Counts! are a part of the Queen Anne’s County Community Partnerships for Children and Families, our local management board.