ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Many people from the community headed to Rockford’s Midtown-area on Thursday to honor a center that has been helping the city for a quarter of a century.

Organizer leaders of “Patriots’ Pub Night” were happy to have a chance to celebrate the hard work and major milestone of helping families in the City of Rockford.

“It’s great to celebrate that we’ve been a presence here in the Midtown neighborhood, reaching out to kids and families throughout the Rockford area,” said Pastor Michael Thomas, executive director of Patriots’ Gateway Community Center.

The center is in its 25th year of helping give kids in the city a place to go to get involved with recreation or after-school programs. Leaders at the center, as wells as members of the community, joined for a chance to celebrate the milestone.

“I’m grateful to be able to connect with the kids, their families and our staff to provide opportunities for recreation and opportunities for kids,” Thomas said. “A gateway for kids who might not otherwise be able to have those resources to be involved in recreation opportunities.”

Some of the kids who attend programs were there Thursday to help give back to something that has given them so much.

“This is fun, and I like helping with stuff, and I like just being here, and so we have more times to go on field trips,” one of the kids said.

“Our passion here is really the kids,” added Amanda Kirchner, board chair of Patriots’ Gateway Community Center. “It’s providing a great place in the neighborhood for the kids, providing a great place in the neighborhood. They do a lot of really great events.”

The center hopes to have a lasting impact on children in the community, and events like Thursday’s allow for those experiences to continue.

“As many kids and their families, opportunities for recreational and learning and growth in their lives,” Thomas said.

“It just helps grow the area of Midtown and make Rockford a better place,” Kirchner added.

More information about programs offered can be found on the Patriot Gateway Community Center website.