Schenectady County

Teens meet at LOL for fun, talk

Eighteen-year-old Jasmine Kendricks and 16-year-old Shira Smith were showing off some dance moves as

Eighteen-year-old Jasmine Kendricks and 16-year-old Shira Smith were showing off some dance moves as Joshana Cook, 18, attempted to copy the gestures of their arms and feet.

Cook seemed eventually to get the hang of it by the end of the upbeat inspirational song.

The dancing was part of LOL, which stands for Love Our Lord, a youth program that meets every Saturday from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Harmony Fellowship Church at 888 Albany St.

Kendricks, of Schenectady, dances for her own church in Niskayuna and has been part of a dance group called Kings and Queens Biz for the last three years.

She said after the four suicides of Schenectady High School students during this academic year, she and other young adults wanted to start their own youth program.

The initiative started in late March and attracts about 10 to 15 youths age 13 to 18 every Saturday. Youths can participate in or watch different types of dance, do theater or karaoke, read poetry, play games, watch movies or just talk to one another. There is also food. They direct the activities with adult supervision.

“Every week we change it up a little bit,” Kendricks said.

Kendricks, who attends Schenectady County Community College, described the program as Christian-based but interfaith. The program is not a Bible class, but rather a program to give young people something to do so they stay out of trouble. Most importantly, Kendricks wants kids to know that they do not have to follow the crowd.

“We want to help other kids. Not everybody is fortunate enough to be to raised to know what to do,” she said.

Kendricks handles the dance instruction for the girls and Dismus Gekonge does the dance teaching for the boys.

Daryl King, one of the ministers for the program, said they try to create a good atmosphere.

“We just have a good, safe environment for them to talk and show love of Christ,” he said.

Volunteer Jerry Delerme, 21, of Schenectady said he has shown off his culinary skills by demonstrating how to make some Caribbean food, including types of curry.

Seventeen-year-old Keanu Beverly of Albany said he comes for the food.

Kendricks’ mother, Thomasena Kendricks, said she is hoping the turnout will increase as awareness of the program builds. The group is passing out fliers to encourage youth to attend. “There’s more to life than just sitting around fighting, being depressed. You can come out and learn and grow and be part of another family,” she said.

For more information about LOL, contact Harmony Fellowship Church at 878-7191.

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