At The Rock our youth program believes that all youth have amazing potential and that the values and skills learned are vital building blocks for life. We continue to give 6th-12th graders a quality, free of charge, safe place to belong, build confidence, and learn. Our blanket of senior citizen and community programming embraces and helps support our successful youth programming.
Incorporated in 2008 The Rock has interacted with teens well over 100,000 times with safe and structured afterschool programs and activities as well as with senior citizens and the community with a wide variety of health, wellness, learning and social programs.
Our center of operation is in Kingsley, Michigan, and our Northern Michigan service area includes Grand Traverse, Wexford, Leelanau, Benzie, and Kalkaska Counties.
Our Mission Statement
Lift lives, Open hearts, Value and Empower community through LOVE
The Rock of Kingsley is celebrating ten years serving youth, seniors, and the communities of five counties: Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Leelanau, and Wexford. Our founders are Diane and Dan Walton of Kingsley who saved an abandoned 7200 square foot EMS building from destruction in order to provide the youth of the Kingsley community a safe place to be and grow. Their passion and commitment led the community to support building efforts and the rest is history.
Today, the formally abandoned EMS building is a robust community and youth center, filled with classes, programming, and community activities. In addition to regular after school programming for 6th through 12th grades, we are home to senior citizen programming, community programming, disaster sheltering, and a host of special events held throughout the year. In 2019, The Rock had more than 33,000 encounters with youth. This includes programs such as Eat & Be Happy (free food day), High School Tutoring, Power Hour (Homework Time), dances, computer and game room occupancy, and YOU MATTER (Daily Support and Encouragement), just to name a few. The Rock Locker, which provides free clothing for teens (managed by teen volunteers for teen users), averages three teen users each day. Every year the Rock continues to support more teens than the year prior. Just from 2018 to 2019 The Rock experienced a 54% increase in youth membership and related community program participation.
Additionally, in 2019 we encountered more than 3,000 senior citizens through programs such as Bingo, community lunches, fitness and exercise programing, and other community events.
Not only has The Rock become a community beacon for activity and programming, but when crisis hit the community, we responded with education, compassion, and action. In 2018 when the Kingsley community came to sudden national attention after suffering the loss of three teens to suicide, The Rock immediately responded by providing Mental Health 1st Aid Training Certification and “Hold On To Your Kids” forum for parents, teachers, and the community. Listening circles were created and the community began its healing process. Today the Rock hosts Grief Support, K-Town Youth Care Programming, counseling services and mentoring. One of our greatest strengthens has been our ability to respond to community crisis in innovative ways. We also are designated as an emergency crisis shelter, storing cots and other emergency supplies for the community when in need.
We are staffed by a full-time executive director and program/communications director along with more than 30 volunteers who annually give about 8400 hours of service to the organization, and managed by five Board of Directors. Our services and programs continue to expand annually, both in offerings and total number of people served.