by Rev. Davena Jones
Elana Bolds says she was tired of singing at children’s funerals. One day she looked around and realized she had more funeral programs than wedding announcements, or even graduation invitations.
She says that’s when, “I decided that it was time, that it is time to take back our kids, take back our community and take back our future.” Bolds organized the first Put the Guns Down gathering ten years ago, to create a safe space for children and families.
This year’s 10th Annual event, will be held Saturday, September 30th 12:30-430pm at Booker T. Anderson Jr. Park in Richmond, CA (on the grass across the street from Bayview Market). This event is to Encourage our Kids to Live!!!
Last year’s eventdrew over 350 people, most of them from the Crescent Park, Pullman Monterey Pines, and Deliverance Temple apartments.
She said kids see so much chaos and violence around them that she wanted them to have at least one day to look forward to. “Death is not normal at this age, and they deserve to live. I want them to feel loved consistently. At least on this one day it’s all about them.”
The event includes games, tug of war, bean-bag tosses, dancing, hula hoop, and giveaways among lots of other activities at the park. Kids ate free food, and even get a chance to get a free haircut.
“Everything is free, every hotdog, every prize,” said Bolds. This is one aspect of the event that she is very proud of – and works hard to achieve so every child can receive, “I start hustling early getting people to donate.”
Various community businesses, the fire department and the police department also gather with community members to show their support. I am touched by Elana’s willingness to make a difference in a community that experiences so much violence, and destruction. Her ministry is making a difference, and we can help her meet her goals for this 10th Annual event. Let us, “Be the Church”, and donate generously to this great cause.
It is my hope that we the Northern California Nevada Conference of the United Church of Christ can help support Minister Elana with donations. Her goal is to give every child a bike or scooter to ride.
If the Holy Spirit moves you to give, please contact Elana at (510) 253-6220 as soon as possible. She will be able to provide you with the tax id number, and give you many options and ways to participate and give.
Many of you might recall meeting Elana at our Annual Gathering this year. She was the talented Co-Chair of our Children’s program. She is also a faithful and active member of City of Refuge UCC.