By Kelly Dickey
The Herald Bulletin
---- — ANDERSON — Despite misconceptions that Millennials are selfish and narcissistic, helping the community is all the rage for many members of the young generation, and one local organization is recognizing them.
Revealing A Generation of Excellence (RAGE) honored 14 people ages 18 to 35 on March 16 for their contributions to Madison County.
Coordinator LaKoya Rochell said RAGE was developed in Anderson nine months ago to introduce a younger generation that shows compassion and commitment.
“We formed so we can show it’s OK within our generation to praise God and focus on God,” she said. “…We’re encouraging a push to strive to be excellent, and also to motivate others in our age group that there are positive things they can be doing.”
Honorees included people of excellence in community, education, ministry of music and health. They gathered at Allen Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church earlier this month to be recognized.
Maureen Duncan, one of the community honorees, said she thinks her involvement in her church, tutoring and NAACP are among some of the reasons she was honored.
“It shows our work doesn’t go unnoticed,” she said. “So many times we think what we’re doing is just affecting the people around us and we don’t realize the full impact.”
Nurse practitioner Jessica Sparks was one of two locals recognized for community efforts in health. Sparks said RAGE recognizing her work in health care and giving back to the community brings everything together full circle.
“Giving back is the reason we’re made,” she said. “It’s one of the most important things we need to do. If you give back then you see the return, (and) if you invest in others then it will come back to you.”
RAGE has seven intentions: to live out the purpose, principles and practice of The Gospel of Jesus Christ; to collaborate in the development of global strategies for impact; to create a sisterhood that is ecumenical, interdisciplinary and global; to eradicate poverty, violence and sexism; to honor, restore and protect the planet; to practice, promote and increase wellness locally, nationally and globally; and to engage in prevailing prayer, intercession and mediation.
Rochell said 18- to 34-year-olds and their contributions are often overlooked by “more seasoned” generations. But people in the age group are capable of being bold and radical for God in a nontraditional way, she said.
The generation lacks receiving praise, which is why it’s important for RAGE to acknowledge outstanding, passionate people, Rochell said.
Duncan said the recognition has the potential to influence more people.
“They say that our generation is one that complains, but when you actually see people making a difference, it might motivate kids,” she said. “You never know what lives you’re influencing.”
Sparks said there may be controversies between generations, but RAGE tries to break stereotypes.
She also loves the organization’s emphasis on God’s influence. Sparks said RAGE focuses on how God works within the lives of the younger generation to positively affect the community.
She hopes the organization will be around for generations to come.
“So often the emphasis is focused on what the younger generation is not doing,” Sparks said. “It’s high time for an organization to honor and realize that younger generations are doing positive things.”
RAGE honored 14 individuals at its March 16 ceremony: Duncan, Troy Taylor and Lacey Watson for Community; Antwyon Gordon, Ralynn Kelley, Phillip Washington and LaKeshia Johnson for Education; Randy Nunn, Sanovia Garrett, Michael Raymore, Martina Raymore and Jackie Raymore for Ministry of Music; and Sparks and Jasmine Goree for Health.
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