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photo courtesy Chris Clark

Gospel artist and pastor Marvin Sapp is expecting 4,000 people from the community to attend a back-to-school rally Saturday, Aug. 23, on the Burton Street campus on his charter school.

“It’s important we invest back in the city the way so many that came before invested in us,” said Sapp, who co-founded Grand Rapids Ellington Academy of Arts and Technology (GREAAT) with his late wife, MaLinda Sapp.

Each year the rally offers free food, backpacks and school supplies, haircuts provided by local barbers, as well as entertainment, games and youth rides.

In addition, there will also be community vendors at booths for families including: Cherry Street Health Clinic; Network 180, the mental health authority for Kent County; Michigan Works; Kids Food Basket; Grand Rapids Voting; and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

Representatives from the new Grand Rapids Drive basketball organization, the NBA Development League, will also be on hand.

The Grand Rapids Ellington Academy of Arts and Technology is authorized by Lake Superior State University. The school, which had 372 students last year, opened in 2012 and has expanded to now serve students in pre-kindergarten through 10th grade. The plan is to add a grade each year through 12.

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