It may have looked like the Avengers assembled here in Harrisburg, but that wasn’t quite the case. This anti-bullying community event was sponsored by Capital Rebirth, which has more events coming soon.
“We like to find solutions to all of the issues that are happening in our community,” said Madeline Williams the marketing and media relations director at Capital Rebirth.
The organization, which is made up of seven members, seeks to educate and be a resource for families in Harrisburg, with a focus on kids. Founder and CEO Mikell Simpson explained how their focus is on unifying Harrisburg residents, rather than on one specific issue.
However, this month, Capital Rebirth is hosting a “Stop the Violence & Drug Abuse” talent festival in Reservoir Park in Harrisburg. They plan to have local vendors, poetry readings, musical performances, a fashion show and food. All of the performances will be free of references to violence, drugs and profanity—creating a positive atmosphere is important to Simpson.
“It’s entertainment with a mission behind it,” Simpson explained.
In addition to the performances, the line-up includes guest speakers from City Council, the Police Bureau and others who will talk about their personal experiences with violence prevention and the opioid epidemic.
“This isn’t the Harrisburg I grew up in” Williams said. “It’s not just a Harrisburg or central PA issue. It’s a national issue. It’s become too normal for us.”
There will also be onsite resources provided by local businesses and organizations to connect people to services that can help them with an array of issues related to substance abuse and health.
The event is free and hot dogs and hamburgers will be provided to kids.
That is a main focus of Simpson’s—serving Harrisburg kids struggling financially. This is why Capital Rebirth holds free sports camps and children’s events, so that no kid is excluded.
“These kids get left behind, because most things deal with money,” Simpson said.
Funding for all of their events comes directly from the seven members’ pockets. Since they are not yet a nonprofit—but are looking to become one soon—they don’t typically raise money for their events.
All of the members are from Harrisburg, attending Harrisburg or Susquehanna high schools. They hope to serve as role models and mentors to kids growing up similarly to the way they did.
“Many people who are fortunate to go to college or are successful from here, they up and they move,” Simpson said. “There’s not a lot of success left for the youth here to see. We want to stay here. Our whole team is living proof.”
Simpson mentioned that once they become a nonprofit, they will be able to do more of this through after-school programs, summer programs and career path coaching.
“It all goes back to our name,” Williams said. “It’s all about capital rebirth. It’s all about revitalization. We are trying to bring our area back to a place where it was before, where we felt like it was prospering and thriving.”
Capital Rebirth’s “Stop the Violence & Drug Abuse” talent festival will be held on Aug. 24, 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Reservoir Park, Harrisburg. Their second annual Anti-Bullying Superhero Day is Sept. 14, 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. For more information visit https://www.capitalrebirth.com.