The second annual Youth Expo at the Assembly of the Saints in Villa Rica focuses on encouraging teenagers to explore future possibilities.
“We have to take additional steps to prepare the youth for the future,” said Amanda Johnson. “We’re very excited to have another year to inspire the youth.”
She said the church’s 2011 high school graduates are all furthering their education this year and much of the credit is being placed on last year’s Youth Expo, and other programs during the past year that focused on encourage students.
Pastor Emanuel Bridges of the Place of Refuge in Newnan, spoke to students Thursday night about religion.
“The more subtle message is about being chosen,” he said. “In this day and time, I feel some teenagers are lost right now; they have no purpose in their lives.”
He hopes he reminded the youth that there are options open to them, goals that can be reached.
Tonight, beginning at 7:15, Pastor Jerome Baker will speak.
On Saturday from 9 to noon, the final day of the event, will feature representatives from the University of West Georgia, Kennesaw State University and LaGrange College, who will be available to talk to students about what requirements are needed to enter college and some of the different scholarship options.
“Our goal is to make the kids well-rounded in all aspects. Our first concern is religion, is God, but we realize there is more to life,” said Rev. Neil Foster of the Assembly of the Saints.
In addition to the universities, there will be many speakers throughout the morning, some college students attending school because of athletic scholarships and some professionals.
Foster said the focus was on finding speakers young enough to appeal to the students. The only doctors and lawyers the students may know may be much older.
“We wanted them to make the kids see a reachable goal,” Foster said.
In addition to the doctors and lawyers, there will be bankers, lifestyle coaches and others.
About 3 p.m., a concert will be held, just for fun, Johnson said.
The overall point of the program is to remind students that faith is important, but it is important to have interests in other areas of life, too, Foster said.
“I saw statistics that said 60 percent of kids today don’t believe in anything. I want to impact that, make them have faith,” Foster said. “You want to see those morals in society.”
He said about 100 youth attended the first night. More are expected to attend tonight, and Saturday’s activities may have 400 students attending.