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When 12-year-old Liz comes to the after-school program at  The D.O.C.K. Community Center in Wyoming, Mich., she flies into the arms of counselor Christy Bosma, 25, for a comforting hug.

Through The D.O.C.K., local churches find they can make a stronger impact on teens from the Kelloggsville, Wyoming, and Kentwood neighborhoods by collaborating. And the city of Wyoming has supported the effort with a grant to renovate the facility.

Christy Bosma, left, hugs Liz, age 12.

Carolyn Koster Yost

The D.O.C.K. offers middle- and high-school students a safe place, with games, food, Bible talks, and compassionate adults. “Some have anger issues and don’t know how to deal with them,” said Bosma, a missionary from Brookside Christian Reformed Church. “Lots of kids have been bullied in school. We don’t allow that here.”

 Immanuel and Faith Community CRCs, Home Acres Reformed and United Methodist and Lutheran churches contribute volunteers to The D.O.C.K., which stands for “Discipling of Christ’s Kids.” The D.O.C.K.’s executive board consists of CRC members and as well as members  of other denominations. Board member and Kelloggsville Public School Superintendent Greg Warsen, of Mars Hill Bible Church, said, “It’s a great thing for our kids. When kids aren’t supervised, they can get into trouble.”

Bosma said building relationships with teens takes patience. “We’re starting to see them shine. When they first come it takes them a while to trust, but when they realize we care, there is a core of kids who talk with us.”

Jesse, 13, said, “The grown-ups are funny and awesome, and I like to hang out with my friends.” Mandie, 13, said, “I’m learning more about God. I feel like I’m special because Jesus died on the cross for me and all my sins.”

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