By Mary Ellen Kirby
The door of Kathy Gibson’s office opens. A little girl smiles shyly and wants to say ‘goodbye.’ Gibson knows this means that the little girl wants her afternoon hug.
She hugs her gently, like the strong limbs of an angel who watches over them, cares for them, and protects them.
She is their ROCK.
For many of Zionsville’s little ones, they are feeling the warmth of Zionsville in the dead of winter, through the Zionsville United Methodist Church ROCK Program, with the help of Director Kathy Gibson.
Established initially as a Mother’s Day out Program, ROCK practices what it preaches by leading “Really Outrageous Christian Kids” and giving them the foundation to hopefully lay the groundwork for a new generation.
Gibson has been the Director of the ROCK program for the last 3 years. Warm, open and wildly in love with all the kids, this is not a “job” for her, this is her life when not with her own close-knit family. She smiles constantly when discussing the program and the children. She embraces them all and she is absolutely an angel to the program and everyone who is touched by it.
Now, ROCK is a before and after school care program for children from kindergarten to sixth grade. The children are greeted at the door when they are dropped off and picked-up. Families go to work in peace knowing their child is learning, praying, playing, doing homework and being cared for in a way that is warm, respectful, and kind.
Gibson believes that degrees later in life are important, but what parent wouldn’t be proud to get a note sent home stating that little Jack showed respect to little Julie today? Or that Mary was fair on the playground? Or that Amy went out of her way to comfort her friend Lucy who was sad? These are all qualities that Gibson tries to instill in her kids.
To ensure those are the things taught at ROCK, children learn 6 character traits that are emphasized daily in chapel, in lessons, and in all aspects every of activity. They learn about respect, responsibility, trustworthiness, fairness, caring and citizenship.
The ROCK kids are also taught to give back to those less fortunate, such as the homeless. This winter, they made bracelets for homeless residents of downtown Indianapolis. They supported Relay for Life, and prepared bagged lunches for the Fletcher Place food bank and Roberts Park United Methodist Church. They are learning that not everyone is a privileged as they are, not all kids are as lucky, and in the time they spend making rainbow loom bracelets they are becoming the kind of people Gibson said we will all want to see as our next generation.
Do you know someone who has touched your life, as if they were an Angel Among Us? Let us know! Current in Zionsville is starting a new series of stories to recognize the people who make a difference in our everyday lives. To submit the name of someone you think we should feature, email email@example.com and label the subject as Angel.