Ministry reaches out with an anti-violence message

Organizers wanted to send the city's children back to school on a positive note.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Just by their presence, members of the Time Keepers drum and flag corps took a stand against violence Saturday at a "Stop the Violence" block party on Park Avenue
Gospel rapper D.V.A. said she planned the block party, next to Wick Park on the North Side, with Whole Man Ministries to send the city's children back to school on a positive note.
Elder Ernest Walker and Minister Paul Weston of the Ebeneezer Church of God and Christ on Indianola Avenue started Time Keepers in January 2004 to keep kids off the street -- and out of trouble, said Laticia Damous, one of several volunteers working with the group.
"We started with eight kids and one drum, and none of them knew how to play drums before that," Damous said. "There is a lot of trouble in the streets, like drugs and killings, and teenagers are doing a lot of it. If you keep kids busy doing good things, they will stay out of trouble. When they are bored and there is no one to guide them, then trouble will find them."
An open invitation
Damous said young people can join Time Keepers from anywhere in the area. Time Keepers is interdenominational, so members don't have to attend Ebeneezer church to participate.
D.V.A. said she performs rap with gospel music, using old-school secular music that people recognize.
"We want to bring people together with music," she said. "We want to show young kids that they can rap with a positive message."
D.V.A. said Whole Man Ministries wants to have events with an anti-violence message somewhere in the city each month, starting in November.
The block party featured local performers, food vendors, and a street market with ladies selling a variety of items from jewelry and handbags to books and paintings.
Guest performers scheduled to attend were Youngstown's 102 Jamz personality Lucky Penny and Jarred Andrews, "American Idol" Top 30 winner and 2004 winner of "Live in Hollywood."

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