Summer block party has long history

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News 12 First at Five / Friday, May 24, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- A block party in the Turpin Hill community has been going on for over two decades. The party is to celebrate the end of the school year for kids and keeping them on the right track as summer begins.

Preparations for this year's block party started early Friday morning.

Richard Glenn has been a volunteer for the last five years and says there's a couple of things that keep him coming.

"I just love to cook and like to help the kids and Mr. J.R.," Glenn said.

And good thing he enjoys cooking, because there were 300 pounds of chicken and 1,000 hot dogs and burgers -- all for the kids to enjoy.

And the J.R. he mentioned -- that would be James Riles, or J.R., as his friends call him. He grew up in the neighborhood, opened a business and started the block party more than 20 years ago.

"When I was growing up, different people did different things in the community, and I was thinking this would be a good way to inspire the kids to stay in school and to show them some kind of appreciation after school," Riles said.

Riles recently closed his store, but he still found a way to throw this party for one more year.

"Well, I got a lot of people from all over the community -- black, white, Asian -- that contributed to this occasion," he said.

The event gives neighborhood kids a chance to get free laptops, summer camp scholarships and bikes. Everything is new and Riles says there's one reason for that.

"They will appreciate things that are new better than anything that's used. It's the first gift for many of these kids, so they'll appreciate it and take care of it," he said.

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