A joyful noise

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Arlene Kelton has been dreaming for the last 12 years.

She’s dreamed of coming back to Selma, her hometown, and doing something to make a difference.

“I want to give back to my community,” Kelton said.

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Kelton, who now lives in Atlanta, started to give back Saturday, with the Back to School Jam.

The Back to School Jam consisted of several activities for school-age children from Selma, Montgomery, Birmingham and Atlanta. All the activities were designed to encourage children to “walk in wisdom” according to Kelton.

“We’re marching for peace for the city,” she said.

Kelton, with the aid of her uncle, came to Selma, put together a rap concert and prayer gathering in downtown Selma to accomplish this goal.

“We partnered with New Life, Green Street, El Bethel, Ellwood, Clinton Chapel, Lily Grove, Peace Baptist, Calvary, Ebenezeer and Walking on the Water (churches in various cities),” Kelton said. “We’re just going fellowshipping.”

Kelton also thanked John Solomon, director for the area YMCA for helping with the project.

“He was the first (to help out),” she said.

The school jam will give children a boost going into the upcoming school year, and Kelton hopes to host more in the future.

“This is the kick off,” she said. “We want them (school children) to walk in wisdom.”

Her uncle, the Rev. Johnnie White, helped her put the jam together. He wants to see children concentrate more on being godly and being more interested in their studies.

“We’re not going to give up on our children,” he said.

Hopefully, White said, the jam will catch on and more people will show up next year.

“We’re praying we’ll have a bigger crowd next year,” he said.