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Revelation Knowledge hosting “Youth Explosion” community picnic this Saturday in LaPlace

LAPLACE — Alfreda Devare of LaPlace is determined to protect today’s youth from crime, drugs, poverty and educational shortfalls that have wreaked havoc on her Milesville community for generations.

Devare founded local nonprofit Revelation Knowledge Outreach Center in 2009 to equip children and underprivileged families with the resources needed to lead successful lives.

From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Revelation Knowledge is hosting a “Youth Explosion” community picnic at 538 West Second St. in LaPlace, the site of the Milesville Special Education Office.

Inspiring testimonies from guest speakers, gospel rap performances, free food, school supply giveaways, family friendly games and vendor booths highlight the event, which is geared toward children ages 6 to 15 and the people who support them.

“The key is to motivate our youth and bring the community together by making them aware of the situations going on in St. John Parish,” Devare said.

“All the violence happens because no one is coming together to better the kids. We want to awaken the community and show them it takes a village to raise a child. We need to bring in programs that won’t just help them get on welfare but will help them get their education.”

According to Devare, that goal can be achieved when outreach is brought to local families within the parish, as opposed to referring families to resources cities away.

Pastor Mukonda Mumble Banda is traveling from Africa to speak on the HIV/AIDS crisis at the Youth Explosion picnic.

The rate of sexually transmitted diseases is high in St. John Parish compared to surrounding areas, Devare said, leading Revelation Knowledge to partner with The Right Choice Project.

Cynthia Scott will share her testimony on how she turned her life around and conquered drug addiction, while rappers Darryl “Favor” Manning and Roman “BruthaRazor” Anderson deliver their truth through music.

Scott battled with substance abuse for more than 20 years, finally finding freedom through Christ at the age of 46.

“I talk to the children to tell them, don’t let anyone put pressure on you to smoke a cigarette or drink alcohol,” Scott said. “Don’t waste your young life on drugs, because one day you’ll wake up and wonder where it went.”

For the past 18 years, Scott has assisted people in a 12-step life recovery ministry, though she noted the process must be slow and patient because people often need to hit rock bottom before finding the courage to change.

Authors Stephanie Johnson, M. Ed and Princess Vinnett will discuss their books, which touch on bullying and dealing with grief, respectively.

The entry fee to the community picnic is a canned food donation to go in the Revelation Knowledge food bank, which opened this summer at 125 Ash St. in LaPlace.

The food bank provides hot meals the second Saturday of every month and groceries on the third Saturday of every month, according to Devare.

“During our first month, we provided 41 people with hot meals and 11 families with groceries,” Devare said.

“We still feel like the new kids on the block. For us to help people, we need people to know who we are and what we are trying to do.”

Revelation Knowledge Outreach has worked with Toys for Tots, recognized more than 40 elderly role models in the community, given away school supplies and donated Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets to the underprivileged.

Devare works as a mentor for National Youth Challenge and helps refer drug-addicted individuals to a rehabilitation center.

Volunteers are welcome. For more information, call Devare at 985-287-2161 or visit revelationknowledgeoc.com.