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HUNTINGTON - Ravyn Goodson enjoys all the B4 program has to offer.

"I truly love it because I learn things that I will need to use in the future, like leadership, how to speak to an audience without getting nervous, and we learned team building," Goodson, an incoming Huntington High freshman, said. "This camp really exposed me to so many things, and I'm glad I've gotten to experience it."

TEAM KRL put on its eighth B4 - which stands for Be Strong, Be Positive, Be Ready, Believe - program recently at Marshall University with the same goals it had from Day 1 - to empower, educate and encourage Tri-State youth.

"There is a proverb that states, 'As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.' This is what TEAM KRL strives to do for our young people - show them how to shape and sharpen character so that they can be successful," said retiring Cabell County Schools superintendent Bill Smith, the featured speaker at the 2017 B4 program. "This program is the ultimate example of giving back to community."

More than 80 kids participated in this year's program. TEAM KRL was founded in 2010 by 1990 Huntington High graduates Shannon King, Duane Rankin and Chris Layne.

"The information and positive influences Team KRL is trying to impart are extremely important, and so we were thrilled to be a part of it," St. Mary's Medical Center's public relations director Angela Henderson-Bentley said.

The free two-day event is for sixth- through 11th-graders from West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky.

"We believe in the youth from our home area and want them to realize anything is possible if they're willing to work for it, stay clear of nonsense and remain positive in pursuing their goals," Rankin said.

The team-building activities at the Marshall Recreation Center Goodson spoke of have been part of B4 since its second year. They involve leadership, critical thinking, problem solving and communication.

"I see the relationship only growing even stronger because both organizations value healthy lifestyles and want to change the lives of those living in the Tri-State for the better," said Chad Steen, assistant director, adventure rec and youth programs at Marshall Recreation Center.

The program consisted of several activities including a workshop on how to handle police traffic stops. Through different scenarios, Lt. Dan Underwood and Officer Andre Jackson of the Huntington Police Department explained the dos and don'ts when being stopped by the police.

"This was an opportunity for the youth of our community to meet with us in a controlled environment so that they may better understand why we ask people to do certain things during traffic stops," Underwood said. "Hopefully, this increased understanding will make the encounter safer for everyone."

The girls participated in a workshop led by St. Mary's Medical Center educator Amy Browning and Henderson-Bentley about the importance of living healthy at an early age. They were also introduced to the St. Mary's Total Woman program.

"As community leaders, it is essential that we offer guidance, education, support and understanding to these young women as they strive to define who they are and set goals for who they will become," Browning said.

The kids participated in an educational on-campus scavenger hunt with students from Marshall as well.

"It's important to have our students work with younger kids in the community for a number of reasons," SGA president Matthew Jarvis said. "Regardless if these students choose to come to Marshall, they are the future of this community, state and country. We're committed to helping them in any way we can."


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