STEUBENVILLE - Organizers of the annual Maryland Avenue block party are anticipating the largest crowd ever Saturday when they offer free food, refreshments, entertainment and support to area youth.
"This year's block party is in collaboration with several area churches and organizations as well as the United Peace Movement members who march for peace in our city every Monday evening," explained the Rev. Everett Mitchell of the Tower of Power Church.
The party is set to begin at 11 a.m. in the 1300 block of Maryland Avenue and continue until 7 p.m.
BLOCK PARTY PLANNERS — Planners for the annual Maryland Avenue block party met for a final review Thursday evening at the Tower of Power Church. The event is set from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. Saturday in the 1300 block of Maryland Avenue and is free and open to the public. Taking part in the planning meeting were, from left, the Revs. James Wooden and Terry Cowser of the Tower of Power Church; Harvey Creech, president of the Steubenville Tigers; the Rev. Everett Mitchell of the Tower of Power Church and Bernadine White of the Lee Alexander West Spiritual Movement.
"We will recognize, comfort and honor family members of the young people who have been victims of violence in our community. We will join together in unity to stand up and speak out against violent crimes. We will do that at approximately 12:30 p.m.," said Mitchell.
"We will have several inflatable games for the kids to enjoy. We will have different entertainment throughout the day, including a puppet show and the group Royalty at about 3:30 p.m. We will also offer face painting during the day," Mitchell added.
According to the Rev. Terry Cowser of the Tower of Power Church, "We want to let the kids enjoy themselves and forget the problems they may have. We also want them to let Jesus Christ into their lives and to live in harmony with others, respect others and live in peace with others. We want to help the kids to respect themselves and to see what is right or wrong, especially through Jesus Christ."
"We will not be there to push them but to work with them," Cowser noted.
"We have been holding these block parties for several years now and each year it gets larger. So we are expecting a good crowd Saturday," predicted the Rev. James Wooden of the Tower of Power Church.
"Children see so much negativity these days. But there are positive things happening in our streets. We want the kids to know we love them and God loves them and there is peace in God," Wooden said.
"We are organizing this event in collaboration with so many other groups, and the Lee Alexander West Spiritual Movement is very honored and excited to be part of this block party. And I know the weather will be good for us Saturday," remarked Bernadine White.
Mitchell said Dawud Abdullah of the Brothers and Sisters Intelligensia Crew, LaBelle Neighbors Who Care, the Nazarene Church on Woodlawn Avenue, Word of Life Church, Second Chance Ministries, JoElla Williams of Bethel A.M.E., the Rev. Norries Hood of Mount Zion Baptist Church, the Second Baptist Church and the Rev. Ashley Steele of Urban Mission Ministries also are involved in planning and sponsoring the block party.
"In addition to the block party, we are also working on projects for the future," Mitchell said.
"We have never seen so many churches from throughout the community come together in unity. And we are inviting other area churches to join us. As we all unite together, we will be stronger in our efforts to stop the senseless violence. Anyone interested in working with this group of churches and organizations can call Pastor Mitchell at the Tower of Power Church. We want to help our youth," said Cowser.