A ‘party with a purpose' at Village Green
Published: Wednesday, July 10, 2013 at 2:39 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, July 10, 2013 at 2:39 p.m.
Children who live in Village and Forest Green apartments did “the Wobble,” “the Dougie” and “the Cha Cha Slide,” while also receiving free haircuts at a block party sponsored by SwamplandEnt., a Gainesville-based entertainment business.
Held last Saturday afternoon in the parking lot between the two apartment complexes on NE 15th Street, the event featured music provided by Gainesville disc jockey Willie “Duicey” Gent and grilled food provided by Robert “Love” Dore, owner of SwamplandEnt.
While the children, most of whom appeared to be in elementary school, danced in front of Gent's tent, older children and adults stood around watching from afar.
Also, Tony “Amp the Barber” Anderson of Ty-Je's Upscale Salon and Boutique, cut hair for free in an air-conditioned community room, which quickly drew a crowd after it was announced that Anderson was ready to give away his services.
“I'm here just to give back to the community because this is where it all starts at,” Anderson said. “I just got off (from work) and came straight here for the kids, and I'll be here for about two to three hours.”
Dore, organizer of the event, said it was held to let residents who live in the apartments know that somebody cares about them.
“Village Green has been pegged as being a community of violence involving gangs and things of that nature, and we're merely just trying to come in and bring some hope to the community and let them know that people do love them,” Dore said.
Representatives from HealthStreet set up a tent at the event to pass out information about the services it provides. HealthSteet is a University of Florida community-based program that assesses the medical and social service needs of residents in Gainesville and Alachua County.
Also, the Alachua County Library District Bookmobile made its normally scheduled visit to the apartments and was very popular with the children, as it normally is, said Ann O'Connell, an outreach library specialist who was working in the bookmobile.
Members of the Divine Divas and Fo Sho Motorcycle clubs stopped by to let the children see their motorcycles.
Dore said it was his second time hosting a block party at the apartments, which he said is a great way to bring residents together in a peaceful manner to interact with one another.
The event also featured a few words from the Rev. Karl “The Rev.” Anderson, senior co-pastor of Upper Room Church of God in Christ, located next door to the apartments. Anderson told the crowd that the event was a “block party with a purpose” with the goal of “putting unity back into” the word “community.”
He encouraged the school-aged children to stay focused on their academics when school begins next month and he told them to always have faith, endurance and determination. He also told them to believe in themselves and not to pay attention to people who have negative things to say about them.
“Turn a deaf ear to your haters,” Anderson said.