MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

April 6, 2013

Youth group seeks funds for upcoming New Orleans trip

By Wendy Burton
Phoenix Staff Writer

— Muskogee youth need help with funding to take a special trip to New Orleans, one which officials say will give them a positive perspective on life.

The Oklahoma Youth Conference will be taking 90 Oklahoma youth to the Southeast Regional Youth Conference, more than half of which are from Muskogee, said the Rev. Marlon Coleman of Antioch Baptist Church.

A special concert to raise funds for the trip is being held at 7 p.m. Monday at Antioch Baptist Church, 700 N. Fourth St.

Oklahoma youth who plan to attend the conference in a couple of weeks will be performing through song, along with the Muskogee High School Gospel Choir.

The event is free and open to the public. There will be a free-will offering collected and those proceeds will be used to offset any costs of the trip for the youth.

Though they’ve already filled two charter buses, if a parent calls and asks for help for one of the their children, Coleman said they “will find a way to get them down there.”

“I’m hoping that parents reach out and say, ‘Reverend, I’ve got a child here in my house that needs something more positive in her life, can you help me?’” Coleman said. “I want people to know this is what we got going, and we can really help people.”

Coleman said youth from kindergarten to 25 are served by the Oklahoma Youth Conference and the April event is the annual kickoff.

“We try to match them up with local mentors and sponsors that will mentor them over the next 12 months,” Coleman said. “We have churches in Oklahoma City, Chouteau, Checotah and Muskogee, and we try to track their progress to see if we have made any headway. And so far, we haven’t lost any kids. So far, we have been doing pretty good.”

Coleman said he’d like to see the annual event grow bigger and better too.

“I want to be able to take them anywhere, the east coast, the west coast, even to Canada,” Coleman said. “I want them to see this is how people function outside of what they see every day. I want them to be exposed to something positive in their life.”

Reach Wendy Burton at (918) 684-2926 or wburton@muskogeephoenix.com.

If you go

WHAT: Oklahoma Youth Conference Youth Rally and Concert

WHEN: 7 p.m. Monday.

WHERE: Antioch Baptist Church, 700 N. Fourth St.

INFORMATION: The Rev. Marlon Coleman, (918) 682-7603 or Marsha Newton, (918) 360-2083.

For information on the Southeast Regional Youth Conference, visit National Youth Convention & Supervisor’s Council on Facebook.