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Erik Estrada to come to Kingsport to promote film about dangers of Internet

February 7th, 2013 2:02 pm by staff report

KINGSPORT — A 1970s TV heartthrob will bring an issue close to his heart to Kingsport Wednesday, Feb. 13.


Erik Estrada, star of the hit TV series “CHiPs,” which ran from 1977 to 1983, will bring the film “Finding Faith” to First Baptist Church, Church Circle. A screening of the film, which is open to the community, will begin at 6 p.m. Wednesday. Admission is free.


The film, a family-friendly and faith-based production in association with Liberty University and Thomas Road Baptist Church, is based on actual events that Michael Brown, sheriff of Bedford County, Va., investigated through his Internet Crimes Against Children task force.


Dr. Marvin Cameron, senior pastor of First Baptist Church, said that late last year the production company sent a blanket e-mail to churches around the country offering to bring the film to them. First Baptist decided in December to accept the offer.


“I think every family, whether they know it or not, is challenged by the Internet. What we’re hoping to do is join forces with these folks  — inform families how to protect their children,” Cameron said.


Estrada made faith-based films early in his career, including “The Cross and the Switchblade,” before starring as Frank “Ponch” Poncherello on “CHiPs.” He is now the spokesman for the Safe Surfin’ Foundation and the Internet Crimes Against Children task force, and is traveling around the country on the “Finding Faith” 2013 tour.


“‘Finding Faith’ is a true story that communicates a relevant faith-based message for today’s Internet generation in a contemporary and thrilling edge-of-yourseat police drama,” Estrada wrote in a news release.


According to findingfaithfilm.com, the film has four objectives:


• To use a compelling story on film to educate parents and children about Internet safety in a non-intimidating way.


• To reveal the challenging work and accomplishments of Virginia’s law enforcement agencies as they relate to Internet crimes with specific attention to the Internet Crimes Against Children task force.


• To give teens a comprehensive and realistic understanding of Internet safety.


• To challenge teens to live dynamically and purposefully. Cameron said the film is best suited for youth in sixth grade and older, and he recommends that they be accompanied by their parents or church leaders.


First Baptist will present an alternate film for children in first  through fifth grade in its gymnasium during the same time. Estrada will be present following the film and will be available to meet those in attendance.


Memorabilia will be available for sale.


“We think this is a good thing for the community, and we want to help our people and others in the community who want to do their best to give their children a safe environment to live in,” Cameron said.

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