‘Stomp the Yard’ a success

Published 4:59 pm Monday, October 3, 2011

Dorothy the clown painted faces Saturday during "Stomp the Yard" 2011.

“Stomp the Yard” 2011 proved to be a glaring success Saturday, despite serious funding issues that put the event in jeopardy right up until the end.

In the weeks leading up to this year’s event at Houston Avery Park, organizer Dr. Bernard Bishop was seriously considering calling off the show due to tougher-than-normal funding and donation problems.  Despite the setbacks, Bishop decided to persevere and said Saturday’s crowd made it all worthwhile.

“Overall I think this ended up being he best crowd so far,” Bishop said.

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Bishop said Saturday’s turn out was refreshing to see, and added the best part was the variety of people who showed up to enjoy the day’s events.

“We had a lot of different churches, denominations and races of people,” he said. “That’s what was beautiful about it. That was the highlight for me.”

Bishop, who has organized “Stomp the Yard” through Dr. Bernard Bishop Ministries for five years, said this year’s success in the face of financial adversity is a testament to the power of God.

“Everything came together about three days before the event,” he said. “Our faith was never shaken. We believed that God was going to come through and make this happen for the community.”

Over the course of Saturday’s festivities attendees were treated to fun, food, entertainment and a little education.

Along with singers, rappers, a face painting clown and a three-on-three basketball tournament, “Stomp the Yard” featured tips from professionals in areas such as health and education.

Kendall Maye of the Monroe County Health Department spoke to a crowded audience under the main tent about preventative measures to avoid HIV and STDs. The health department also provided free HIV and STD testing. Maye also spent time teaching how young women can avoid teenage pregnancy and counseling young mothers on how to cope with the issues they face.

In addition to health and wellness, education and the importance of good choices were addressed. Several inmates from the Loxley Work Release program spoke, giving the young members of the audience a first-hand look at the consequences of bad decisions.

Bishop said the day was a great mix of light-hearted fun and deep exploration and said he plans to continue to present “Stomp the Yard” for years to come.

“Our love for the community is why we do this,” he said.

For now, Bishop said his ministry is hard at work planning their annual “Senior Citizen Appreciation Day” in late November. Bishop said details for the event will be released as they are finalized.