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On Dec. 8 at Patuxent High School, F.U.E.L. Empowerment Rally united area youth in grades eighth through 12th, who made a positive choice to have fun listening to live faith-based music and learn strategies to fire up their futures for success. F.U.E.L., which stands for Fire, Unite, Empowerment and Leadership, would not have been possible without all those who believed in the idea and stepped up to assist in making the event happen. Special thanks to Bishop Bus Service and Dwight Bishop for giving a monetary donation for T-shirts and providing bus service. Thanks to the Calvert Collaborative for Children and Youth, which also provided monetary support, guidance and its nonprofit status, and to Steve Whalen of Lusby for his generous contribution.

Thank you to the students for attending and sharing comments on the event’s evaluation form, such as: “The singers were great;” comments that it was “very organized;” and comments from several who would “do this event again.” Yes, our plan is to make F.U.E.L. an annual event and to rally more of the community to come together to support positive youth development programs in Calvert. And thanks to parents and community members, and the Lusby Business Association, who all supported F.U.E.L.

F.U.E.L., which also addresses abstinence from drugs, is thankful for being awarded a grant from the Calvert Alliance Against Substance Abuse, and for Lusby’s Community Bank and Edible Arrangements, and Tri-County Youth Bureau for donating funds.

We greatly appreciate all the speakers and musicians who donated their time and talents to make the event a success, including musicians of Scattered Leaves of Huntingtown’s Chesapeake Church, Soul Soldiers of Lusby’s Church of God and 2011 Patuxent High School graduate Liz Chambers. The speakers included featured speaker and youth pastor Dave Showalter of Lusby’s St. Paul United Methodist Church, emcee Internet radio announcer Kenny Levister, behavior intervention counselor Ryan Wright, 2000 Patuxent High School graduate Trayon Brady of District of Columbia College Access Program, Dana Langley of Southern Maryland College Access Network and Katee Joyner of Tri-County Youth Bureau. And thank you to Audio Plus of Huntingtown for your professionalism and in-kind donation. You all made the event top notch.

A shout out needs to go to Calvert County Public Schools for seeing value in the event and granting service learning credit hours for attending students, and to Principal Nancy Highsmith and her administration, teachers and staff at Patuxent High School for their positive promotion and willingness to help.

We would also like to thank those businesses that provided in-kind donations for door prizes: Lusby businesses Sneade’s Ace Home Center, Moe’s Southwestern Grill, Ledo Pizza, Dunkin’ Donuts and Play N Trade; and Prince Frederick businesses The Greene Turtle, Dream Weaver Events and Catering, Smoothie King, Three Brothers Pizza, Apex Cinemas and Educate and Celebrate. And, thanks to the Lusby businesses that hosted fundraisers for F.U.E.L.: Ledo Pizza, Roy Rogers, Papa John’s Pizza and Fran Scenes Gift Shop.

Thanks to all of you for your commitment to supporting our youth. May we as parents, teachers and community members realize that “all children are our children.”

For information or to support F.U.E.L., visit the Facebook page for Christian Talk Magazine, or email shanaegray@rocketmail.com.



Shanae Gray and Carol Harvat, Lusby

The writers are the coordinators of the F.U.E.L. Empowerment Rally.