Empower Cocke County to tackle big issues

Cocke County will spend the week trying to fight some the problems facing the community.

(WBIR-Newport) An East Tennessee woman is taking matters into her own hands after seeing the needs in her community.

Candi Overholt started Empower Cocke County about a year ago. The week-long event (June 9-13) will host nationally recognized speakers each night.

"How do you bring about lasting change? And lasting change is brought about by education. And so we are going to talk about the topics of drug abuse, marriage, parenting, depression, and finance," Overholt explained.

During the day, they will give back to the community through different service projects. At night, 6-8 p.m., speakers will tackle those five different issues.

"In Cocke County, we also have a drug problem. So that's a major issue," Overholt said.

She went on to say, "So we are trying to go back to, 'What does God have to say about that? And how can we get back to what his word has to say?'"

There will be sessions for every age in five different Cocke County locations: Cocke County High School, Cosby School, Del Rio Elementary School, Newport Grammar School, and Parrottsville Elementary School.

About 30 churches of different denominations have come together to help. They have reached out to all types of people.

"We have a lot of need in this county. We're not a rich community, by any means," said Linda Whitson, part of Empower Cocke County's planning committee.

In total, they have about 300 volunteers. They spent the weekend setting up at the different schools.

"I was thinking in small terms, of some little program that we might be doing. And just to watch how it has grown, and how the inspiration has come about and just built up and built up, as more and more people have gotten involved from more and more churches... it's just been amazing," Whitson said.

There will be eight weeks of follow-up sessions after the week ends.

Those who attend all five sessions will get a free ticket to "Get Your Ducks in a Row." John Godwin, star of A&E's Duck Dynasty, will be speaking on Saturday at Cocke County High School.

More information can be found at Empower Cocke County's website and event page.


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