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|'Big Whit,' 'Big Al,' First Baptist deliver for students|
Several local students got backpacks loaded with school supplies and some special treats thanks to Big Whit 77 Foundation, First Baptist Church of West Monroe and area hip-hop artist "Big Al."
The foundation teamed up with Big Al, a teacher at Richwood High School and representatives of Broaden Horizons, a ministry of First Baptist Church of West Monroe, to supply the backpacks.
NFL lineman Andrew Whitworth of the Cincinnati Bengals recently established his foundation to mentor and assist local children. His parents, Mike and Charlotte Whitworth, serve in a dual capacity as facilitators for Big Whit 77 Foundation.
Mike Whitworth said Broaden Horizons is the perfect example of a local organization the foundation wants to partner with to help area children.
"The Big Whit 77 Foundation wants to make an eternal, positive impact on the lives of youth in Louisiana by creating and supporting programs that provide love and encouragement to help each grow intellectually, spiritually and physically," Mike Whitworth said. "So, Broaden Horizons was a perfect match."
Collins Wade, a community transformation specialist with Broaden Horizons, added, "Each of these students received a beautiful Big Whit backpack already stocked with school supplies, helping each student and their families at this critical time."
"We are so appreciative of The Big Whit 77 Foundation for their commitment," Wade said.
One final ingredient in this equation came when Whitworth asked his parents to consult with general manager Rick Godley The Hill about positive music he would recommend for students.
Godley recommended local Richwood High School math teacher and hip-hop recording artist 'Big Al' to Whitworth's parents.
"It was a pretty simple answer: Big Whit meets Big Al," Godley said.
Known as Mr. Cherry to his students, Al Cherry recently won "Holy Hip-Hop Artist of the Year," and his CD, "The Opening Act," won "Holy Hip-Hop CD of the Year."
"A chord of three is not easily broken, and we always look for a win-win-win scenario," Godley said. "Big Whit is local, Big Al is local, Broaden Horizons is local and The Hill is live and local as well."
Big Al's music is in heavy rotation on 100.9's play list.
"The feedback I receive and the opportunity to make a positive impact on this generation inside my classroom and outside has been a double blessing," Cherry said.
Included in the backpacks were two of Big Al's CD's, "The Opening Act" and "The Son of Jor-El, Mixed Tape Vol. 2."
"It was music to all our ears," Charlotte Whitworth said. "We love it when a plan comes together."