By: Terry Harris | Email: Click Here
Posted: Feb. 22, 2018 | 12:20 p.m.
SURRY – In 2015, two young women from Surry County decided to start a nonprofit organization, Just BE, based on their strong desire to make a difference in the world. On Saturday, the group will take another step toward their goal when nearly 100 local volunteers and performers present their third annual Black History Month tribute, BE Proud to BE Black.
“Our motto is ‘BE motivated. BE inspired. BE the future. BE the change. BE knowledgeable. BE you. Just BE’,” explained Sierra Savedge, one of the founding members, along with Shantal Jones. “So it was just natural to have an event performed by talented young people from all over the area. Our greatest goal is working toward pulling young people together to work and learn the importance of the community, and of giving back to people in need. This evening’s event will focus on some of the many reasons that pride in the community, in themselves, and in their own efforts to give back are all justified.”
“It’s an opportunity for many local young people, ages 13-and up, to express greatness!” she continued. “We’ll feature singing, dancing, and poetry to display the greatness of our African American history and, at the same time, raise money to provide scholarship funds for kids from Surry County and its environs to go to college. There will be a lot of information about Black History, but mainly it will be just a really good time. The atmosphere is ‘homey’ and welcoming, and primarily everyone performing is under 30. Our goal is to raise enough money with ticket sales to be able to provide four $500 scholarships for local youth.”
Volunteers from Just BE on The Hampton Roads Show on WAVY TV 10 and FOX 43 last Friday, spreading the word about the upcoming February 24 BE Proud to BE Black performance.
FRONT ROW, L to R – Lauren Cooke, Nate Trent, Sierra Savedge, Hunter Anthony, Sherkayla Buskey, Keyonni Lynch.
ROW II – Ciara Charity, Dennis Hatch, Jr., Kerri Furey, Chris Reckling, Melvin Lyttle III.
Savedge shared that this effort is especially important to her because of her personal belief in the importance of giving back.
“I feel like when you are successful and reach a point in your life that you can take care of yourself, it’s important that you give back to those who can’t,” she explained. “To me, that’s what life is about – receiving and giving. My mom was always saying, ‘I’m so proud of you!’ Now, I work with at-risk youth, and the encouragement I got makes me want to encourage other people. I don’t like the spotlight – I don’t need all of that. The one thing that makes me cry is when somebody else is proud about something that THEY did. Like when kids get accepted in college or get job interviews – anything they do that makes them proud of themselves. When they can learn a coping skill, something that helps them get through the day – that’s what keeps me going. People being proud of themselves and going forward.”
All of the money raised in Saturday’s performance goes back to the community, according to Savedge, as “We are STRICTLY volunteers. They even have to buy their own t-shirts. Because we’re really teaching people that if you have resources, it’s important to give back over and over again. And we recently submitted an application to the IRS to become a 501C3.”
BE Proud to BE Black will be held on February 24 at 5 p.m. at Charles City High School, 10039 Courthouse Rd, Charles City, VA. Tickets are $15 and can be obtained online at Eventbrite.com. Interested persons can also obtain advance tickets – as the event is expected to sell out – by calling 757-617-1125.
Asked about all the time and effort that is required to put together such a big project, Savedge responded, “It’s a little stressful to conduct a show with sixty-some people, but it’s worth it. Because all of the funds go back to the community, and we know how much these scholarships can mean. God is good!”