TYLER, TX (KLTV) - For more than 10 years, Project Reach has worked with the youth in Gregg, Smith, and Harrison counties.
"Today's a day about boosting them and supporting them and giving them all the encouragement that they need," Omega Ministries Pastor DeMarcus Pierson said.
Today Omega Ministries joined together with Project Reach for Tyler's first back to school summit. Targeting kids ages 10 to 18, Project Reach has one goal.
"Making sure the kids are equipped with the social skills they need to live a successful life," program manager Carla McKenzie said.
Totally free to the public, guests heard from a keynote speaker and enjoyed musical entertainment from a gospel artist.
"We have the young people here, and we are just giving them the opportunity to have fellowship and have those positive reinforcements," Pierson said.
For more than 10 years, Project Reach has teamed up with local communities around East Texas to provide a variety of services.
"We do our program curriculum which focusses on juvenile delinquency, substance abuse, sexual health and access to health care," McKenzie said.
Outside of today's entertainment, the summit also featured a variety of local professionals for a question and answer panel.
"We got to thinking and said, 'hey health is important school safety is important, this is East Texas so Friday night football is big so sports has to be involved, and then college and career'," McKenzie said.
Pastor Pierson and McKenzie believing in the old saying it takes a village to raise a child.
"Let's not encourage and motivate our kids to be themselves and refuse the things or temptations they may come across," McKenzie said.
"So the more we can put into them, as the scripture says, train them up, when they're old they will not depart from it," Pierson said.
Pierson says he hope the children will leave inspired and motivated for the new school year and what the future has in store for them.