Chapter donates to Project Lifesaver

The Tidewater Virginia Chapter of the Gospel Workshop of America Inc. on Tuesday morning gave a donation of $300 to the ‘Project Lifesaver’ program in Surry, as well as a $300 donation to the Sussex County sheriff’s office for their D.A.R.E. program on Friday. The funds will help with the needed operations. Reverend Kenneth Whitten, presented the donation to both sheriff offices.

“Today, we presented to the sheriff’s office here in Sussex a Certificate of Appreciation for the work they do for the people,” Whitten said at the Sussex Sheriff’s office on Friday. “We wanted to honor law enforcement. Our ministry is not only about singing, but giving back to the community.”

The Project Lifesaver program is funded entirely through private donations, grants and corporations. All Project Lifesaver contributions are used solely for program operations including rescues, equipment and educational purposes. The goal is to provide benefits of the program to all who need it regardless of their ability to pay. The D.A.R.E. program in Sussex is a program which teaches students from kindergarten all the way to 12th grade how to resist peer pressure and live drug and violence free lives. 

It is taught by law enforcement officers whose training and experience give them the background needed to answer the sophisticated questions often posed by young students about drugs and crime. Prior to joining the D.A.R.E. program, officers must undergo 80 hours of specialized training in areas such as child development, classroom management, teaching techniques and communication skills. Forty hours of additional training are provided to D.A.R.E. instructors to prepare them to teach the high school curriculum.

“The award will definitely benefit out D.A.R.E. program, which was in need of funding,” Sussex County Chief Deputy Earnest Giles said. “We’re so grateful to the Gospel Workshop of Tidewater for donating this $300 to the D.A.R.E. program, this will assist us in purchasing items for kids in the school.”

Along with the money, the Sussex County Sheriff’s office was presented with the award in recognition for the service and dedication of the officers who protect the community. Their commitment to public safety has not gone unnoticed and was greatly appreciated.

“When Reverend Whitten came to me in reference to this matter, I was so grateful,” Giles said. “I was honored. The Sussex County Sheriff’s office was being recognized as a recipient of this money and I really thank them.”

The Gospel Music Workshop of America (GWMA) is a non-profit, interdenominational, interracial, international and voluntary association of gospel singers and musicians. Their mission is to preserve the heritage of gospel music in America, while providing a forum for the development of excellence in the presentation of gospel music, and furthermore, to increase opportunities for the perpetuation of Gospel music throughout other industries, arenas and the world.

“We’ve had professional singers and Grammy Award winners get their start at GMWA,” Whitten said. “However, we are an organization where it’s not just about singing but, we also offer classes that are college accredited. We also many Chapters nationally.”

Next year will mark the 50th anniversary for the Workshop founded by the late Rev. James Cleveland.

“I didn’t know Rev. Whitten prior to this endeavor,” Giles said. “Once we met, it just felt like I’d known him the whole time. Through his ministry, he’s touched a lot of people already in this department and we’re grateful.”

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