by Angela Gaines
To eighth grader Stephanie Amaya, 14, The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Community Center is her second home, a safe place to experience learning through activities.
“The activities keep you off the street,” she said.
Amaya lives in an at-risk neighborhood where crime and juvenile delinquency are abundant.
“If I didn’t come to the Kroc Center, then I would be on the streets doing bad things and getting into trouble. Now, Jesus and The Salvation Army guide me to stay on a straight path and overcome behaving badly and peer pressure.”
Amaya has been a member of the Kroc Center since it opened and is an active participant in the corps cadets leadership training program, the youth fellowship program BLAST, corps dance ministry and The Salvation Army scouting programs. She also attends Sunday school and worship, Bible study and special events at the Kroc Center.
Amaya also helps her grandmother, who is raising eight children, by setting a positive example for her six younger siblings.
“Jesus has taught me how to separate right from wrong,” said Amaya. “I like to represent him by being good.”
According to Captain Rubina Navarro, Kroc Center associate corps officer, Amaya is mature and spiritual.
“She serves as a role model for her family, friends and other corps cadets,” said Navarro.
Each week Amaya encourages her friends to share the love of Jesus with others by inviting them to the Kroc Center activities.