Several voices are coming together Friday at 7 p.m. at the Statesboro High School football field with a single message: "One voice makes a difference - tell somebody." The free "One Voice Crusade" event will feature music from "The Voice" contestant Brian Nhira, who nailed the blind auditions on the show with a song entitled "Happy" and successfully navigated his way to the live rounds of the nationally televised talent completion.
Also on the program is Maksim Datsko, who uniquely uses his voice to share his testimony of overcoming a drug addiction. Ukraine-born Datsko is a professional beatboxer and currently lives in Oklahoma.
Locals Janet Swanson and her son, Reed Swanson, both of CrossRoads Community Church, will add their voices, as well as several other testimonies throughout the evening of young adults who are overcomers and are now making their voices heard.
The event is the culmination of a vision Reed had several years ago, where he saw himself speaking on the football field of Statesboro High School. He is a 2013 SHS graduate and recent graduate of Rhema Bible Training College, located near Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he was ordained as a minister of theology. He currently serves as children's pastor at CrossRoads.
Reed joined forces with his mother, who is the founder of the One Voice Campaign. In recent years, Janet has taken the message of hope and being heard to schools, churches and other audiences. She has a compelling story of hope that is the topic of her book, similarly titled "One Voice."
"My book is about how I overcame by telling somebody," Janet said. "That's my campaign: 'Tell somebody.' If you're going through something - bullying, being threatened, sexual abuse - tell somebody.
"We want to let people know that their voice matters," she said. "Open your mouth - tell somebody. Sometimes it gets worse before it gets better, but do whatever it takes to turn it around. One voice makes a difference."
The three local non-profits highlighted at the event include Swanson's One Voice ministries, Open Hearts Community Mission and Fostering Bulloch. Reed pointed out that the event recognizes, by spotlighting these organizations, the voices of the broken, of the homeless and hungry, and of the children.
Both mother and son said they've been amazed at how the event has come together. From securing the speakers - Datsko is a good friend of Reed's from college, and Nhira and Reed attended the same church in Oklahoma - and the financial support from the community to the more than 80 volunteers from several area churches stepping up to help.
"God is so faithful," Janet said. "He always comes through."
She admitted to feeling a bit nervous about speaking and singing in front of what she hopes will be a large audience, but she said: "I like having the jitters. It makes me lean on God. It makes me depend on him even more. He always shows up.
"And your life will never be the same when you hear God's voice," she said.