Alfred Carroll Ministries is planning the 2019 Happy Kids’ Conference Saturday, Aug. 17. The event aims to hear area youth collective voices and introduce/reinforce healthy life choices and behaviors to participants.

“We can no longer simply tell our sons and daughters to say no to drugs, guns, pre-marital sex, gangs and the like, without also equipping them with some real options to say yes to,” said Carroll, ministry founder and conference organizer.

The 2019 Happy Kids’ Conference will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 17. Sessions will be held at the Pine Bluff Aquatics Center, 400 E. 11th Ave., and the Pine Bluff/Jefferson County Library System’s main library at the civic center, 200 E. Eighth Ave.

The aquatics center will serve as conference headquarters. A free pre-conference video musical concert will be held at the library from 5:30-7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 16, with security provided, according to a news release.

PROCLAIM MKC, an African Children’s Choir, will be featured. During this time, participants will be allowed to pre-register for the conference and pick up T-shirts.

“Teaching our youth to make healthy choices can lead to greater success, happier lives and safer communities. Scientific evidence suggests that being happy may even have major benefits for our health,” Carroll said.

Ketorah Roberts, a senior at Pine Bluff High School, will give the Happy Kid’s Conference Luncheon Address.

Other presenters are Jevon Barnes, head basketball coach at Watson Chapel Junior High School; Dexter Lee, a principal; Jackie Woods of Changed Life International Ministries at Little Rock; Ambassadors for Christ; author and historian Vivian Carroll-Jones; and Sylvia Grady, assistant principal at North Little Rock High School. David Cortez Carroll will serve be chaplain and youth liaison.

Participants will be introduced to the works of Steven Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”; Jawanza Kunjufu’s “To Be Popular or Smart”; Sidney Moncrief’s “Be a Game Changer”; Arkansas Department of Education’s GUIDE initiative and other programs.

A recreational reading book display and giveaway will be provided by the library. School supplies, water bottles and prizes (including bicycles) will also be given away.

After discussions and demonstrations, conference participants may swim at the aquatics center’s pool. Conference participants must be between 8 and 15 years of age, bring appropriate swim wear and towel. Participants must also present a signed permission slip before swimming.

“Much has been done to combat childhood obesity because as a society. We saw a problem and came together to improve the physical health of our youth, increased recess minutes at school, changed school cafeteria and fast food restaurant menus,” Carroll, a 39-year educator, said.

“The same should be true when it comes to the emotional health of our youth. The poor emotional health of our youth often shows up in dysfunctional homes, youth suicide, prescription and illegal drug consumption, disciplinary problems at school, violence on the streets, and the abandonment of religious affiliations. Believe it or not, the unhappiness of our youth even shows up on school picture day,” he said.

Parents, groups and corporate sponsors are asked to donate $20 to sponsor a participant’s conference T-shirt and lunch. Early registration is encouraged. Registration forms may be picked up at the main library. Details: 870-692-9039.

The Rev. Alfred D. Carroll Sr. is founder of Alfred Carroll Ministries.

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