ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Eyewitness News’ Remarkable Women contest wrapped up last month with the announcement of this year’s winner, Becky Behling.

Our parent company, Nexstar Broadcasting, donated $1,000 in Behling’s name to the non-profit organization of her choice.

She chose Rock House Kids, an organization that has been helping children since 1999.

The mission of Rock House Kids, to feed Rockford’s inner-city children physically, spiritually, and emotionally, resonated with Behling.

Executive Director Dee Lacny says she’s humbled by the support. “Every donation helps,” she said. “This one is especially dear to my heart because it’s somebody in the community who sees what we are doing. And sees the importance of it. To get the kids off the street so they can have a safe place.”

Four nights a week, Rock House Kids opens its doors at its location on 7th street. Kids in first through twelfth grades can eat a hot meal, participate in chapel time, meet with a mentor and enjoy playtime. At the end of the evening, each goes home with a kid-friendly food bag.

Lacny says there’s a growing need in the community for their services.

“Violence is increasing and the kids need to have some place that they can feel safe. Some place that they can just relax. Some place that they don’t have to have their guard up. And also, now that it’s getting warmer out, many of our kids don’t have air conditioning. So we are a cool place for them to be as well,” she said.

Rock House Kids serves about 250 kids a week. Lacny says she is excited to see growth in the number of teens who regularly visit.

“Our teens started at about 13-16 teens, and now we’re up to about 36-38 on average. And for a teen to want to come here, we have to be doing something right,” Lacny said.

Lacny says one the expansion at Rock House Kids is done, they will need a minimum of 85 more volunteers to help with meals and mentoring students.