2018 WellsFest to benefit Growing Up Knowing; scheduled September 29

Wells United Methodist Church has selected Growing Up Knowing: The Mississippi Campaign for Teen Pregnancy Prevention as the beneficiary of WellsFest 2018.

Now in its 35th year, WellsFest consists of three events in late September including a free family-focused outdoor music festival on Saturday September 29 at Jamie Fowler Boyll Park next to Smith-Wills Stadium.

The church chooses a new local beneficiary each year after reviewing applications from numerous nonprofits.

Growing Up Knowing offers two educational programs, one for middle school students and their parents and another for elementary students and parents. The elementary school program is titled “My Body, My Boundaries.” The programs teach young people and their parents/caregivers how to talk with each other about risks of sexual behavior among teens and give children the knowledge and tools they need to stay safe and grow into healthy individuals. Program leaders say well-informed family discussions about sexual decisions and staying safe help reduce pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and sexual abuse among youth.

Dana Larkin, executive director at Growing Up Knowing, said, “We are honored, appreciative and thrilled to be the WellsFest beneficiary this year. With the funds, Growing Up Knowing will increase the number of sessions it conducts by training more instructor-facilitators and providing them with equipment, teaching materials and supplies. The funds will also purchase innovative resources for participating children and parents/caregivers. Teen pregnancy inflicts enormous emotional, physical and financial cost on the parents, the child, grandparents and society. Growing Up Knowing is making a difference on these vital issues.”    

 

Wells Church senior pastor Heather Hensarling said, “Growing Up Knowing and Wells Church share the mission of enhancing quality of life for all. As our late pastor Keith Tonkel always said, WellsFest is a gift of love from our church. Wells Church believes Growing Up Knowing is wise to see teen pregnancy as an issue requiring a multi-generational approach. We eagerly look forward to supporting their work through WellsFest.” 

Since its inception in 1983, WellsFest has provided nearly $1.5 million to a wide range of social service non-profits. Last year’s beneficiary, Methodist Children’s Homes of Mississippi, received a record $70,000.

For more information about WellsFest, call 601-353-0658.

(photo) Making plans for this year’s WellsFest are (from left) Judy Ferguson, Joann Mickens, Dana Larkin, Kevin Bingham; Mark Hodges, Brenda Ferguson, Charles Williams, Wells Senior Pastor Heather Hensarling, Ken Simon

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