FLORENCE, S.C. (WBTW) – The Pee Dee will have its first annual Pee Dee Youth Day Initiative from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 8th at the Barnes Street Activity Center and the City Center Farmers Market, according to a news release.

According to the chairman of the Youth Day Initiative, Rev. Marvin Hemingway, the theme of the event is “Focus on Your Future.”

The Pee Dee Youth Day Initiative is hosted by Florence Mayor Teresa Ervin.

Community members from Florence, Marion, Marlboro, and Dillion counties are meeting weekly to make sure each county is represented and that the youth have their needs met. 

Mayor Teresa Ervin, Christiana O’Malley, MUSC Health Florence Division Director of Development and Senior Manager, and Rev. Marvin Hemingway, Founder of Empowerment OutReach Organizations met to discuss the plans for the event. 

Hemingway received a resolution from Ervin and Florence proclaiming the second Saturday in July every year as the Pee Dee Youth Day Initiative Day, according to the release.

The mission of the initiative is to “provide our children and youth with support and services along with the very best opportunities to lead productive and fulfilling lives.”

The Pee Dee Youth Day Initiative will promote a peaceful and safe living environment not only for the youth, but for parents and the community. 

“Our children today face challenging circumstances and risks,” Hemingway said. “Associated with drug, alcohol, and tobacco use, juvenile crime and delinquency, suicide, teen pregnancy, school dropouts, domestic violence, sexual abuse, gang activity, bullying, broken families, and peer pressure.”

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Taylor Ford is a digital journalist for News13. She joined the News13 team in January 2023. Taylor is a Florence native and covers the Pee Dee out of News13’s Florence Bureau. Read more of Taylor’s work here.