Leadership academy brings Christmas cheer to MorningView Village
By Matthew Stewart | The Daily Times
The Richard Williams Jr. Leadership Development Academy is spreading Christmas cheer throughout the county.
Leadership cadets volunteered Thursday at the Blount Memorial Transitional Care Center at MorningView Village. They performed a variety of routines, including dances, poetry readings and songs.
Cadets and staff were honored to have the opportunity to perform for residents, said George Williams, executive director and founder for the Richard Williams Jr. Leadership Development Academy. “Thank you for letting us come and be here. Tonight means a lot to these young people, because they’re still learning about service. They created the entire program, and we’re honored to be able to present it for you.”
Alcoa Middle School seventh-graders Riane Griffin and Jhoniya Williams organized the program.
Staff challenged the pair to create the program about two weeks ago, and the middle-schoolers asked for volunteers at a weekly leadership meeting. Griffin and Jhoniya Williams later arranged the performers and scheduled practices throughout the week.
Cadets were able to translate the practices into a solid program, Griffin said. “They were all good in practice, and I think we pulled it off tonight. I was really proud of Maliya Martin, who performed our last dance number. She used a song that’s really important to me and created a powerful dance routine for it. I was very impressed, but everyone did a really great job. I’m proud of them all.”
Jhoniya Williams agreed, with one caveat. “We had some technical difficulties, but we were able to get through them.”
The cadets struggled to play the music for Martin’s routine, because Jhoniya Williams’ phone had a low battery. However, George Williams and other cadets entertained residents while the two organizers worked to remedy the situation.
Residents weren’t bothered by the technical difficulties, though. “They loved it,” said activities assistant Melody Stinnett.
“The kids have brought a lot of joy to our residents,” said activities director Ashley Dotson. “Whenever they see young people, it always brightens their day.”
“It was a great experience for all of us,” Griffin said. “We got to show Christmas cheer and send out good vibes. We know that it’s important, because people can have bad days. We want to put smiles on their faces and make them feel happy.”
Cadets are scheduled to perform at other venues in the coming weeks, she said.