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Marvin Sapp’s ‘Epic’ Back To School Rally Draws 6,000 + Gives Away 2,000 Backpacks

The August 17 “Back To School Rally” held in Grand Rapids, MI has Pastor Marvin Sapp using words like “amazing” and epic” to describe it. On behalf of his charter school, Grand Rapids Ellington Academy of Arts & Technology, the award-winning gospel singer sponsored an event that drew 6,000 kids and gave away 2,000 free backpacks filled with school supplies.

With the help of top-selling R&B boy group, “Mindless Behavior”—made up of tween heartthrobs Prodigy, Princeton, Ray Ray and Roc Royal—who performed and distributed book bags, families came out to the campus of Sapp's Kingdom Square in droves.

Mindless Behavior group members and staff volunteers pass out backpacks to thousands of attendees of Pastor Marvin Sapp’s “Back To School Rally” in Grand Rapids, MI (Photo Credit: Marvin Sapp Facebook)

"I wanted to do something different for our community and set a fire under our young people,” he said in an interview with M Live News.

In his thinking, inviting a wildly popular mainstream boy band was the best way to grab the attention of neighborhood residents.

Though lots of good was done for families, make no mistake about it. Sapp's decision to reach outside the faith community for entertainment was a controversial one. One of the leader's supporters, Shawaun N'chelle Grayson, told Sapp via Facebook, "I caught so much flack from standing behind you on this one."

But, by now, Sapp is used to receiving “flack.”

When he collaborated with VH1’s Real Housewives of Atlanta starand adult toy line creator, Kandi Burruss, for her single “Stay Prayed Up,” the faith community went wild, arguing that “light and darkness” do not mix.

Recently, the preacher’s social cam announcement that he was headed out to the movies to see vulgar comedian Kevin Hart’s comedy film, “Let Me Explain,” didn’t sit well with more conservative Christians either.

Still, Sapp soldiers on in an effort to grow the educational vision first imagined by his late wife, MaLinda Sapp, whom he said, would be "amazingly proud" of its progress.

Back in March of this year, EEW Magazine reported that Sapp’s school was expanding from grades 6 to 8, to grades pre-K to 5, which was expected to boost enrollment. Now, the number of enrollees has swelled from 140 to over 400.

GREAAT Schools, Inc., of which Marvin Sapp is president, is a non-profit corporation and educational management company, which was founded in 2008. It partners with the charter school to provide administrative support, management, fund development, and other services necessary to successfully operate an institution.

The curriculum at Ellington is a mixture of performance art and technology, with a special focus on areas such as: instrumental music, vocal music, dance, mixed-media arts, creative arts and theater arts.

Don't know who Mindless Behavior is? Watch one of the music videos of the frenzy-creating band below:

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Reader Comments (3)

Wow, no that's the kind of servant's heart that we should all have. What an awesome way to give to the community and those in need! Obviously Pastor Sapp , didn't do it alone...what an awesome team (including Mindless Behavior).

August 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTomeka

Thumbs up on the giveaway. Thumbs down on the musical act.

August 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAvery

So wonderful!!! Some people will always have small minds and see the negative. Kudos!

August 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEb

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