ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Northwest Community Center marks 75 years of helping kids and adults. Center administrators used an open house to re-introduce the center. They are also focused on growth and moving forward.
Volunteers provide a safe environment and teach young people values that apply to all aspects of life.
“The biggest thing for me is that they become great community members, great citizens in the community,” said Terrance Beloch, football coach at Northwest Community Center.
Administrators have seen the impact the center has had firsthand.
“I’ve seen individuals when they were here as kids and now I see them as adults excelling in their life, doing what they set out to do,” said Northwest Community Center Executive Director Nichol Fricks.
The center’s football program has won five championships in the last 15 years, but those wins are just icing on the cake to Coach Beloch. His focus is on teaching values like sportsmanship, respect, and discipline.
“Now that football is over, are you still taking those same tools and using them in school, using them in the house, using them walking the street, doing whatever,” said Beloch. “Just be better as a citizen. Be better as a community. Be better as a young adult, a young man, a young kid. We talk about being one percent better every day at everything.”
While celebrating this milestone, those on the board also recognize the work that is still to come.
“There’s still a lot of families that we have not reached,” said Fricks. “And until we are able to expand and grow, we won’t be able to.”
Equipment and fundraising are crucial to make sure the center runs how it should. The football team is currently in need of helmets, but that won’t stop them.
“I’ll never let it be ‘but we don’t have helmets,'” said Beloch. “It’ll never come to that.”
Most importantly, the kids know they have people who care about them.
“Give them that encouragement,” said Beloch. “Let them know that whatever they’re doing, if you didn’t get it or weren’t good at it today, you got a better chance of getting better at it tomorrow.”
More information on volunteering and donating to the Northwest Community Center is available here.