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Story By: Chandra Jarmon

In 2007, Praise Dance Director, Eugena “Gina” Cole began working with the female youth of First Baptist Church of Lincoln City under the Youth Department, overseen by Ruth Randle.

“Educating and mentoring through guidance is my main priority. I want to lead by example,” says Gina Cole.“To know that I can be apart of their lives and keep them out of the street and assist with their development as young ladies is a pertinent factor. They are at a age where they are maturing and I would rather them dance in the ministry than being steered towards negativity in the streets.”

The age ranges of the girls are 7-19 years. The Praise Dance Team includes: Tina Cheeves, Assistant Director, Andrea Cheeves, Camrie Peavy, Chasidy Jackson, Dejaria Dixon, JaNeshia Smith, Katriarana Cole, and Tarayez Haynes.

The team has performed at a variety of churches within the Acres Home Community and around the city. They have also performed at services held in Kinnelton, Texas. For the past 3 years the girls have been invited to attend and participate in the Sylvester Turner’s Juneteenth Parade.

When asked why do you dance, Dejaria Dixon stated, “I love dancing; I am able to praise through a talent that God has given me and it makes me happy.”

The girls also volunteer at nursing homes once a month. “It feels good to be able to communicate and help out when we visit the nursing homes. The look on their faces when we return let’s me know that they appreciate us.” says Katriarana Cole.

FBC Praise dance girls are required to maintain passing grades and committ to 30 community service hours per year.

“I volunteer because its a part of my innitiative and goals in life. Being able to give back to my community and knowing that I can help make a difference makes me feel special,” says Tarayez Haynes. “I know that I can’t change the community by myself but I can say that I had a part in it when I get older.” She amusingly said, “Plus, I would not have a choice either way because my mother would make me volunteer one way or another, so I took interest and I do not regret it.”

As part of the program, the girls have traveled to Dallas, San Antonio, Galveston and are working towards Florida in 2015.

Majority of the girls have been dancing since the age of four through outside organizations such as school and private dance teams. With all in agreeance, dance is their passion.

“As the girls get older, they will continue to learn and demonstrate the importance of giving back. As a church, we believe this is our social responsibility,” says Gina Cole.

Every 3rd Sunday of each month FBC Praise Dance Team performs at First Baptist, under the leadership of Pastor Gerald H. Peavy Sr. located at  844 Fortune Houston, Texas 77088.For more information about the praise dance team, contact Mrs. Gina Cole at (832) 892-5078.