The ROCK Story
Reaching Our Community Kids, a.k.a. “The ROCK,” began its journey in 2000 when leaders in the community had a vision of a community center-type facility focused on teens’ physical and emotional needs. The center, located on the south side of Midland County, would reach out to the entire community, and would provide a safe place for teens, an environment that was supportive and opportunities for teens to make good choices. The environment would be free from abuse, drugs, alcohol and other opportunities to stumble. Staff and volunteers would build healthy relationships with teens, supporting and encouraging them, acting as positive role models and informal mentors through after-school and weekend programs. It would participate in large special events and act as a conduit for youth to build relationships. The ROCK applied for its 501(c)3 and became a non-profit public charity.
The ROCK dream became a reality in April 2001 when it began serving a section of the population that desperately needed support. The ROCK’s target population was, and continues to be, 6th through 12th grade students. The ROCK continues to grow and now approximately 550 different youth each year are served in our on-site programs alone.
The ROCK requests and receives funding from the general public including corporations, foundations and individuals. Though teen programs historically have a difficult time surviving, the ROCK stands strong in the community and continues to move forward.
What sets The ROCK apart is its relational-based focus. Solid programming is what initially brings teens into the center or to other ROCK activities, but relationships and trust is what keeps them coming back. The ROCK’s goal is to be intentional about providing positive adult role models and relationships for the teens. The ROCK recognizes the importance of ensuring there are as few barriers to participation as possible whether social or financial. Hang-out time is planned along with structured activities to allow students choose their level of engagement based on their own style and comfort levels. Teens can choose to just be there with friends or with the adult activity assistants and volunteers. The majority of our programs are at no cost to the youth. Where there is a fee, there is always an opportunity for assistance if cost is a barrier.
The ROCK is an independent organization and though it experiences positive outcomes from a substantial number of community partnerships, it is not affiliated with any one organization.
The ROCK is open to everyone and is used by a wide range of the public.
The ROCK is unique, it is real, and it is the future for outreach and interaction with teens.