Making a comeback after a rocky start

By Nancy Gutierrez

Several years have passed since the Lindsay First Baptist Church bought the building across from Lindsay True Value Hardware.

The church hoped to create a safe place where teens from Lindsay could go after school and on weekends. For whatever reason -- lack of funds, lack of involvement -- the building, which the church named the Daily Grind and The Rock closed. In June they reopened with the help of more volunteers and Becky King, the new manager of The Rock.

"I'd call it a resurrection of The Rock," Bill Manning said. "Nothing happened until Becky came on board."

Manning is the administrator of The Rock and is part of a new ministry board set up to make decisions and help organize events that go on at The Rock. The board met to set up a policy sheet regarding rental of the building and rules for church events that occur. Since its reopening, The Rock has been holding Monday night Bible study for high school students, Wednesday homework clubs for elementary and junior high aged students, Thursday night guitar lessons and Friday fun nights where kids can play pool, foosball, ping pong and video games. But that is just the beginning. Manning said The Rock will soon be hosting Christian band concerts on weekends.

Homework club:

Each Wednesday students are let out of school at noon. For those students who aren't in an afterschool program, The Rock offers a place for children to go and do homework. King supervises the program. Students must show King the homework that needs to get done before they start, then show her again once they have finished their assignment. Once the students are done they receive free popcorn and Pepsi.

"It helps parents so they don't have to deal with making sure their child does their homework after they get home from work," King said.

There are other volunteers from the Baptist Church who help King with the program. A second phase of the program began on Oct. 10. This phase will incorporate reading sessions into the homework club.

"Some of the kids would come in here and say they want to read for 15 minutes," Manning said. "We are going to have a designated reading time."

Because The Rock is run by the Baptist Church the stories the students will be reading will be from the Bible. Manning said the children will read stories that coincide with holidays like Christmas and Easter. The reading segment will be lead by Lindsay High School junior Jared Coles.

Guitar Lessons:

Jan Owens has been giving free guitar lessons to teens and younger children for at The Rock. Information on how to sign up for lessons is available at The Rock.

Weekend Concerts:

On Saturday Nov. 13 a youth group from Downy California performed skits and songs that they learned for a missionary trip to Greece. There were two other bands that played at The Rock Saturday. Teens and adults present during this concert also heard from Avenue 80 a christian band out of Porterville and Prone a band from Bakersfield.

Manning said future possibilities for the weekend concert include a battle of the bands and a presentation by Victory Outreach. On Friday nights games will stop at 8 and for an hour those present will listen to more bands and hear testimonies from other teens.

Manning said there are still more plans for The Rock. Tuesday craft nights and Wednesday night junior high youth meetings are two possibilities to fill up the week nights.

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