BY JOSH PRESLEY
The Clay County branch of the NAACP will host its Freedom Fund and Awards Banquet at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Ministerial Institute and College on East Churchill Road in West Point.
The banquet will be youth-oriented, and the Clay County NAACP has declared 2014 as the "Year For Our Youth."
West Point School District School-Community Liaison Robert Smith said he has been the coordinator for the banquet for about 15 years, and this is the first time it's had a youth theme.
"The program is going to relate to a number of our young people in the community," Smith said. "We'll be showcasing their talent through songs, skits and debates."
NAACP Clay County Branch President Johnnie Rasberry said money raised at the banquet will go toward a number of youth related activities throughout the summer, including state and national conventions.
"We're having a youth movement," Rasberry said. "Most of NAACP's leaders are over 60-years-old, and a lot of younger people don't know anything about our organization, so we're trying to catch them earlier."
He said that in working with local youth, the NAACP hopes to better prepare them for school and life beyond school, with early literacy being its biggest push.
"Parents are sending kids to school with no real skills, because the parents don't realize what the kids need," he said. "We want to show our kids they can do more than just play basketball."
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