Free Easter celebration planned at MLK Center

STEUBENVILLE – For the past 20 years, Aphynna James has united with churches, organizations, businesses and parents in Youngstown where she lives to pull off a free community gospel Easter celebration for children.

She’ll do that again this year, but she’ll also expand the outreach to another community – her hometown of Steubenville.

Free crafts, games, activities, refreshments and Easter baskets will be available to a maximum of 200 pre-registered children ages 3-12 on April 12 at the celebration to be held from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center. But they must be pre-registered by April 2, James stressed.

That means parents or guardians must come to the MLK Center during its regular business hours by the deadline to pre-register their children to participate in the events.

Registration forms will be available at the center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Saturdays, and from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. The center is closed on Sundays.

There will be no registrations conducted over the telephone or at the door the day of the event, James said.

A licensed cosmetologist and instructor, James is the program founder and organizer with the Rev. Robert Harris of Toronto serving as program co-chair, while Daycha Wade of Steubenville is the program chair.

“I would like to share the message of the true meaning of Easter, to give them hope, and we do like to encourage children and show them we care,” James said of her motivation in holding the event.

James said volunteers interested in assisting with the celebration are being recruited.

For information on the event, contact the MLK center at (740) 283-6000; James by phone at (330) 747-4806 or by e-email at; or Wade at (740) 457-9879.

“We are so excited she chose Steubenville to expand the program to,” commented Sandi Rue, president of the Steubenville Board of Parks and Recreation.