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Youth group holding 1950s-themed dance at Indian River Middle School for area teens

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PHILADELPHIA — An old-fashioned sock hop will be held April 4 to benefit a local youth program.

The dance will be held for students in sixth through eighth grades and admission is $5. It will be open to students from all area school districts.

The Rev. Lecelle D. Providence, Gouverneur, pastor of the Antwerp United Methodist Church, said she and her fellow volunteers from the church plan to pull out all the props to create a fun, 1950s-inspired ambience at Indian River Middle School. Attendees can wear ’50s-themed attire, such as poodle skirts and long socks, and if any of the youths have questions about what to wear, they can watch the movie “Grease” for inspiration, the Rev. Ms. Providence said. Those with the best costumes will receive a $50 gift certificate.

The Rev. Ms. Providence began the youth program as a self-empowerment teen night on Friday of every other week during the school year, weather permitting, at Antwerp Elementary School. The goal of the teen nights was to incorporate lessons on being a leader and learning about self-respect. The teen nights had open basketball, one-on-one peer sessions and motivational speakers. The Rev. Ms. Providence said the group also participates in recreational games such as kickball, dodgeball and other team sports, and has free-play time.

Since the program began in September, the Rev. Ms. Providence said, about 20 youths ages 6 to 16 attended the teen nights, wearing matching T-shirts to school on those Fridays and then spending those evenings together.

She said even though the group is organized by members of the church, the program is not religiously affiliated. The messages about self-empowerment, being a good person and character development are universal messages that can be taught through group activities.

“This was a 100 percent volunteer effort,” the Rev. Ms. Providence said.

Although the program is finished for this school year, “we need to raise money to continue the teen nights in September,” she said.

The ’50s dance will be the first of many fundraisers. She said the group has plans for upcoming fundraisers, including a possible basketball event or a drag race. She said there will be one fundraiser a month until the next school year begins, each a different type of event.

“We have a lot of different ideas we want to go with,” the Rev. Ms. Providence said.

She said the program has been such a success thanks to the following volunteers: Juanita, David and Russell Booth; Lindey Shippee; Pamela Lalonde; Carol Bigarel; Kelley Daphness; Heather Mackinnon; Wanda Sands; Michaela Lamont; Joe Filatraut; Edna Wilder, Franny Knott and the Walker family.

For more information about the dance or to find out how to get involved with the youth group, call the Rev. Ms. Providence at 917-399-1921.

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