Rev. Dee Ellison: Tell me something good

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 20, 2022

SALISBURY — Several years ago, I asked the newspaper if it would be beneficial to report on “good things” happening in our community. While I will admit that it brings a smile to my face that “good things” are happening I decided that it might be important to shed a little light on good things we have been doing also. I am not one who toots my horn but when I was approached recently about not telling our story I looked deeper and decided that this might be encouraging to others who like me don’t always do a great job of getting our story out.

This summer Project Cover, Inc. and At The Cross Ministries (A.T.C.) hosted Reach One and Teach One Youth Leadership Development Program. Our mission was to engage at least 10 youth between 10-17 to have some non-traditional experiences over the summer and our goal was that in the years to come they would be the leaders of this program who pay it forward by growing and enhancing the program. Our youth participated in non-traditional activities such as Project Build where they worked with area vendors to learn, purchase materials, and build a wood project for this year with the end result being a corn hole toss. Their mentor Julian Simmon spent over 40 hours teaching them how to safely use building tools, taking ownership, and yes how to have fun during the project.

Jill Radziewicz a retired graphic artist took on a Father’s Day project by presenting their dads with a framed picture of them together and showed them the art of planting as the youth beautified the grounds of A.T.C., took plants home, and cared for them over the summer. They also learned how to can vegetables under the tutorage of Darlene Gaither whose grand children were enrolled in the program.

On Sunday Aug. 14, a marketing promotion for ATC Ministries premiered produced by the program participants. Danny Smith provided instruction on the phases of production video and technology. This was undoubtably a hit because youth love technology and I am becoming more interested because of them.

Coming soon the participants will publish a book, based on their experiences in the program. Alexis Allen a retired educator provided the inspiration and the instruction on this artistic effort. We admit the thought of journaling was not always a priority but it certainly helped them to remember what they had accomplished.

The good news is that culturally the participants were very busy learning through going to plays, field trips to various areas of the community, visiting local restaurants and learning how food is prepared, assisting with the local summer food market distribution, learning about other cultures and their diverse ways of living, music, and the art of respect. The summer was a success.

We were able to conclude our summer with a community night out event and celebration for the participants. Over 150 people attended, enjoyed food, music, games, fellowship, and the leadership participants received certificates.

We were proud to have partnered with other non-profits and community partners and volunteers to provide resources for school, COVID, community information on the census, employment opportunities and voting. Last but not least our Salisbury Police Department joined us and participated in the activities. We wanted the community to get to know those officers who serves us on the south side of the city; I’d be proud to see one day one of the participants serving in this capacity.

The really good news is that we did something to make a difference and we remain grateful to all who support us with your time, talent, and resources. The past almost 3 years have been difficult for our communities but the work is not complete and we have a responsibility to make a difference.

Dee Ellison

Rev. Dee Ellison is the pastor of At The Cross Ministries and board chair of Project Cover a community resource nonprofit that provides coaching and resources to individuals, families and businesses. Additionally the ministry hosts a year round non-judgment outside food pantry, provides a mobile food resource to the community during the winter months and serves as a site for free vegetable distribution in partnership with the Bread Riot during the summer.

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