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Nonprofit offering community forum for teens, young adults
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The Bridge Expo and Forum

When: Expo and forum at 11 a.m. Saturday

Where: Gainesville Civic Center, 830 Green St., Gainesville

Cost: Free

More info: Culminating concert at 4 p.m. Sunday at St. John Baptist Church, 757 EE Butler Parkway, Gainesville

A local nonprofit group is planning a weekend of activities to inspire and empower teens and young adults.

The Bridge, a nonprofit group of Christian leaders in Gainesville who work to uplift youth in local churches, is holding its annual Expo and Forum starting at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Gainesville Civic Center, 830 Green St.

“This weekend is to motivate, inspire and empower our youth in the Gainesville community and surrounding areas,” said Bridge pastor Zora Hunt. “The Bridge is a nonprofit Christian organization that seeks to allow our youth and young adults to grow morally, culturally, vocationally and spiritually and to bridge the gap with them.”

The event is free and open to the public, but tailored to teens and young adults from ninth grade to age 21, according to Hunt.

The expo will feature vendors including the Gainesville Police Department, Hall County Sheriff’s Office, Hall County Voter Registration Office, Wells Fargo Bank, Right to Life, Choices Pregnancy Center, the Harper-Smith House of Gainesville, Sisters with Purpose and the Newtown Florist Club, to name a few.

Vendors will be on hand to answer questions, provide information and give young people networking opportunities.

The forum will follow, starting at noon, and its theme is “Living on Purpose.” It will include a panel discussion, and participants will be encouraged to think of ways to “overcome the obstacles of the world” today.

In light of recent national events, the Gainesville Police Department and Hall County Sheriff’s Office will address the guests in the hopes of showing solidarity in the community. An open forum, allowing questions with law enforcement, will be held during this time.

“With the Sheriff’s Office and Police Department coming together to be there for those youth and young adults at the forum is huge considering what’s happening in the world right now,” Hunt said.

Young people will also play a round of the game called “Battle of the Sexes,” which will address possible relationship concerns or issues.

Registration starts at 10 a.m. The expo begins at 11 a.m., and the forum follows at noon.

A culminating concert will be held at 4 p.m. Sunday at St. John Baptist Church, located at 757 EE Butler Parkway in Gainesville.

Hunt said the expo and forum had about 100 participants last year, with more than 200 attendees at the concert.

This year’s concert will feature the Bridge’s first ever community choir

“We’re developing a community choir and in a workshop all this week to prepare for the finale concert Sunday,” Hunt said. “It will be the first ever Bridge community choir, where our youth, young adults and adults are coming together to show solidarity in our community.”

While the Bridge is a Christian organization, the expo, forum and concert are open to anyone.

“All walks of faith are invited to come and participate,” Hunt said. “The biggest part is bringing the community together. That’s the whole purpose of the weekend.”

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