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Angel Network to host inaugural conference

August 28, 2003|JENNIFER BRUMMETT

A youth group reunion has turned into a two-day event this year, culminating in the first annual "Take Me Back" conference, sponsored by The Angel Network of Bluegrass Inc.

Rosalyn Wilson, event host and founder of The Angel Network of Bluegrass Inc., says the free activities Friday and Saturday need both participants and volunteers. On Friday, "Angels Care Day" runs from noon to 5 p.m., with a "Night of the Arts" 7:30-9:30 p.m. in Grow Hall at the Kentucky School for the Deaf.

"The 'Night of the Arts' is an event where people can enjoy an evening of Christian music from traditional gospel to jazz and rap, as well as poetry, psalmists, choirs and praise dancers," says Wilson, a Danville native who lives in New Jersey. "Basically, we have an open mike to showcase talent, with gospel songs, Christian comedians and poets."

Friday morning, volunteers will put together care packages, she notes.

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"They're baskets of goodies that we're going to deliver to nursing home residents and senior citizens homes," Wilson says. "We also deliver to individuals in the community.

"We're bringing together a lot of volunteers from the area. We're going to actually start packing the baskets and bags starting at 9 a.m."

Two vans, donated by the Rev. William Jenkins of Bethel AME of Boneyville will take volunteers around the community to distribute the care packages.

Saturday morning, Circuit Judge for Boyle and Mercer counties Bruce Petrie, Danville High School Principal Angela Johnson and Bishop Larry Davis of Columbus, Ohio, will join local ministers and several other panelists to lead a round table discussion titled "Has the church failed? Where did the church go wrong?" It is scheduled for 9 a.m.-1 p.m. in Grow Hall at KSD, and a "freewill offering" will be collected.

"It's not just a Christian function," Wilson notes. "It's for anyone interested - young, old. We are trying to get a very diverse audience."

Wilson says she sends funds and thinks of activities for the organization to do, and is tapped in to local ministers and their youth groups.

"We're trying to train that next generation that it is better to give than to receive," she notes. "We want to teach those same values.

"Last year, we actually conducted a youth workshop, which was held at St. James AME Church. We talked about a lot of the issues surrounding the youth - why it's good to be involved in the community and why it's good to give back."

How the event began

Wilson says 2003 is the fourth year she and a group of people have been working on a project such as the "Take Me Back Conference" in Danville.

"It started out as a spiritual youth chorale reunion," she explains. "The church I attended when I was here, the Church of God in America Inc., had a young singing group. In 2000, after 26 years or so, we decided to get together and have a reunion. December 2000 was the first event at Grow Hall.

"It grew from there. Each year, we try to incorporate a community event. We did a food drive. We established a memorial benevolent fund. We have a community event to mark our coming together. While it's no longer the spiritual youth chorale reunion, we've transformed into a full-time ministry."

Wilson says she participates because of the values she learned growing up.

"My grandmother was really my role model," Wilson explains. "She was always helping people.... She would always find a way to go out, whether giving clothing or food or whatever could do to help people - that's what she would do. This is a way to continue her legacy.

Wilson's grandmother, Mary E. Marshall, 93, currently lives in Charleston Health Care Center. Marshall inspired the name of The Angel Network.

"Activities implemented through 'The Angel Network' always will be reflective and demonstrate Mary's true spirit of kindness in charitable deeds, which also symbolizes the life of Jesus Christ. Everyone needs an "Angel," says promotional material for The Angel Network.

Wilson says the events organized by The Angel Network have grown in the last four years.

"Normally, for this event, we invite local groups to come in, and have out-of-town folks come in and sing," Wilson says.

"It's really growing into a big event here. People are beginning to recognize the fact that we're coming back again and again."

With it full time

Wilson says for 24 years she worked with businesses such as AT&T, Lucent, NCR and Avaya, "the whole telecommunications industry." When a reorganization happened in the late 1990s, she decided to devote herself full-time to The Angel Network of Bluegrass Inc., which she began in 1999. She also does volunteer work with her church in New Jersey, Abundant Life Family Worship Church in New Brunswick.

Promotional material for the organization, written by Wilson, concisely summarizes its purpose: "It is my vision that this network be used as a vehicle to uplift, inspire and give hope to those within our communities in need of encouragement; to incite and motivate others to become proactive in demonstrating the true spirit of kindness and giving, understanding (that) 'It is better to give than to receive.'

"While I may never be able to reach everyone, all of us can touch somebody's life and make a difference."

Volunteers still are needed for the packing and distribution Friday, as well as financial contributions and in-kind donations. For more information, call Jenkins at (859) 238-7069; Teresa Payne at (859) 239-9521; or Stella Beavers at (859) 236-4522. For more information about The Angel Network of Bluegrass Inc., call (732) 356-4367.

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