Saturday, August 14, 1999

Youth to get tips on surviving growing up

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        NORWOOD — At least 200 youngsters from Greater Cincinnati will gather at a church here today to learn how to avoid the pitfalls of growing up — from drug abuse to teen sex to physical and mental abuse.

        “Our mission is to provide hope for this generation growing up. They are a generation at risk and we want to enter their lives and educate them. We want to bring God into their lives ... help prepare them for their futures,” said Floyd Crenshaw, an elder at Word of Truth Ministries Church International on Weyer Avenue.

        The congregation — exclusively African-American when it moved to this predominantly white city in 1995 — “has become multiethnic, a goal our pastor the Rev. (Nestor V.) Stroude had back then,” Mr. Crenshaw said.

        “This program crosses all racial, social and economic borders,” he said.

        When he moved his congregation here from College Hill in 1995, the Rev. Mr. Stroude said he had a reason: “We believe God has called us into this community to be a multiethnic church in a predominantly white community, and to basically bridge the gap between the races. Our major tool is the Bible,” he said.

        Youth Minister Lavonne Warren said youths attending range in age from 3 to late teens. Many come from youth groups at other churches. The all-day youth conference begins with registration at 8 a.m. and will continue to 10 p.m.

        Any youths are welcome, and the program is free.

        Besides workshops on family abuse, mental abuse, religious foundation and biblical history, sex education, drug and alcohol abuse and education, there will be plenty of fun.

        Entertainment is sprinkled in with learning. Groups such as God's Squad, Christ Emmanuel Church's Step Team and the Bucket Boys will appear. Lunch and dinner are provided at no charge.

        Ms. Warren said the day also will feature a presentation on the experiences of being in jail and a discussion period with parents fielding questions from the children.

        "'We also hope to pass on to them the power God has in their lives,” she said.

        What: Word of Truth Church Youth Ministries International Youth Conference.

        When: 8 a.m to 10 p.m. today.

        Where: Word of Truth Church, 2039 Weyer Ave., Norwood.

        Cost: Free; lunch and dinner provided.


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- Youth to get tips on surviving growing up