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Speaker to address teens and parents

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By Nick Schrager

He’s a globally known speaker who has given more than 3,000 programs in the U.S. and internationally, and one of his next stops will be Springfield.

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Justin Lookadoo is all about helping kids, and he will be bringing his high-energy program for kids and their parents to Washington County Dec. 10-11.

A former juvenile probation officer, Lookadoo is also a best-selling author who has written books on dating for teens. His program addresses what is on the minds of teenagers as they face peer pressure and the challenges of being teenagers in today’s world.

“Our church has a real desire to reach kids. We want to equip them to know how to do relationships right in high school, and to teach them to honor God in their relationships,” said Jon Linwick, worship leader and student pastor at River of Life Church in Springfield. “Justin will present the gospel and give practical advice for kids to make the most of high school dating and being a teenager in general.”

Linwick said he expects a large turnout for the event, which is highly sought after. Lookadoo operates on a busy schedule, and is a tough speaker to book due to the high demand for his program.

“We’re hoping to have about 500 kids. We’ve sent out information to churches in Washington, Marion and Nelson counties, and we have even had some groups from Indiana contact us, too. They saw us listed as an upcoming location on Justin’s Web site and want to come see him,” Linwick said. “It’s a big deal that he’s able to be here, and we’re thrilled to have him. He’s not speaking anywhere else around here for some time.”

Lookadoo’s schedule brings him to Kentucky each year as a featured speaker at Icthus, a Christian music festival held in Wilmore, Ky., each summer, where he addresses more than 20,000 young people. He came to Washington County last year, but time limitations only allowed for him to address students at one school, and that was North Washington Elementary School in Willisburg. His program is being brought to the community through a partnership between River of Life and the Washington County Health Department and the Lincoln Trail District Health Department. Debra Galloway, community health educator with those departments, wrote a grant that paved the way for Lookadoo’s visit, and Linwick said he is pleased that his church is able to partner in that effort to make the program possible.

Lookadoo’s program is designed for teens, but he also speaks to parents, and that’s part of the plan when he comes to Washington County. On Dec. 10, doors will open at 6 pm., and then he will speak to kids starting around 6:30 p.m. After talking with the kids, a mini concert will be offered, followed by Lookadoo’s time with parents. Linwick said while Lookadoo brings the gospel and is a Christian speaker, he gets the point across in an anything-goes style.

“I’ve seen him at Icthus, and God really uses him. The kids open up and it’s really a candid situation, but he keeps it tasteful and says what needs to be said,” Linwick said. “God really blesses that, and grabs hold of the kids. I’ve never seen anyone speak to teens that can hang on and relate to them like he does. Every time he speaks, kids’ lives are changed. God uses him in a very powerful way, and we’re glad to have him coming here.”

Linwick said in addition to his appearance at River of Life, Lookadoo will also be speaking to students at local schools while in town. He will address high school students on Dec. 10, followed by junior high students on Dec. 11. The morning of Dec. 10, he will allow students to write questions they would like answered on index cards, and then he will answer as many of those questions as possible in that evening’s program at River of Life.

Food and drinks will be available for all attending the Dec. 10 event at the church, and the event is open and free to the public. Groups planning to attend should call ahead for planning purposes, although last-minute attendees are welcome. For more information, call Linwick at (859) 336-7604, or visit visit www.lookadoo.com.