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Inspiring the “Me Generation” to Do Something
By Rock Church

Contrary to the thinking that pegs today’s kids and young adults as a self-absorbed “Me Generation,” more than 80 Rock Church youth from junior high to college—even some Generation Y and Xers—came together Saturday, June 19, 2010, to do something for San Diego and for residents who live in the southeast neighborhood near Skyline Park.

“I just think that it’s what I should do to glorify God,” said 11-year old Grant Fiero, who munched on a granola bar while taking a break from hauling branches. “By helping out the community we’re doing it not for money but, just like God, to help people.”

The Do Something World event was the second of four quarterly Do Something World projects designed to provide San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders with 200,000 volunteer hours. The goal is to alleviate problematic areas in the city due to budget cuts.

“I just think that it’s what I should do to glorify God. By helping out the community we’re doing it not for money but, just like God, to help people.”--Grant Fiero, 11

Priorities of the Neighborhood

“We are extremely grateful to the volunteers from the Rock Church,” said Fire Chief Javier Mainar. “The projects they are taking on would not have been possible any other way because of the financial challenges of the department and the city. The conditions under which the men and women of the Fire-Rescue Department live and work will be considerably improved because of their generous efforts.”
Along with the park cleanup, nine San Diego fire stations and the South Mission Bay lifeguard station were also receiving some much-needed TLC. More than 250 volunteers showed up to assist in the total efforts.
Rock Church Pastor Miles McPherson founded the Do Something World campaign to bring people together and take action to directly transform the lives of the people and City of San Diego, and the world. Last year, the Rock Church donated 615,956 hours of community service to the City of San Diego (valued at $9.6 million*) with 166,251 of these hours given directly to Mayor Jerry Sanders for projects specifically identified by him, saving the city $2.6 million.
This year’s goal is 700,000 hours, with 200,000 hours going directly to the Mayor’s projects.
“We’re dedicated to mobilizing hundreds of volunteers to make a difference in San Diego and the world,” said McPherson, a former San Diego Chargers defensive back and author of DO Something! Make Your Life Count.
"Totally Worth It"

At Skyline Park, trash cleanup was light, and the lawns didn’t need much attention. But along the east end, a jungle of hillside brush that borders a residential area presented a formidable challenge to cleanup crews, who hauled away at least two dumpsters full of tree branches and clippings, as well as dead leaves and twigs they raked out.

“We’re so grateful you are helping out."--Marilyn Stern, district manager for City of San Diego Park and Recreation

“We’re so grateful you are helping out and you volunteered for the services we can’t get to because it’s a low budgeting priority,” said Marilyn Stern, district manager for City of San Diego Park and Recreation. “We haven’t done this in four years.”

Although the park is well-maintained, there is only one ground maintenance worker to cover the 17 acres, which includes a ball field and the recreation building.

Neighbor Cassandra Franklin heard all the noise and came out to see what all the commotion was at the park, which is adjacent to her house. When Rock attendee Megan Whitfield told her what they were doing, Franklin gave her a big hug and kiss.

“I’m not getting paid, but that made it totally worth it,” Whitfield said, beaming.
Franklin said she was particularly grateful. She was fearful of the fire hazard that the tangled mass of low-hanging tree branches and dried, overgrown weeds presented.
“It just goes to show that God does little things,” said Franklin. “It seems like a little thing, but when it’s done, it looks so much better. I’m just blessed!”
"Praying for Carpet"

Over at Fire Station 16, on top of Mount Soledad with spectacular views of the ocean, a dozen Rock volunteers painted, weeded, edged, cleaned, and spread mulch.

Captain Robert Najera, who has been with the fire department for 29 years, said he was “proud to see what God has called others to do.”

Seeing the Rock volunteers in action is a “great witness of time and energy to the rest of his crew,” he said. The station was built in 1981 and still needs a lot of work and many upgrades.

Rock attendee Seana Pelton, said one volunteer named Roy stood out. The man was a professional painter with a servant's heart.

“We couldn’t have done all this without him. Even though his wife has terminal cancer and his daughter is testing into SDSU this morning, Roy came out with two of his crew members and painted the outside of the fire station for us,” said Seana.

She said some volunteers have decided to adopt the fire station. "We are going to come back to paint the inside of the fire station, and I will be praying for carpet!”

"Behind the Scenes"
Back in Skyline, Mark Bell, the high school pastor at Rock Church, said, “It’s cool to see a good range, from junior high to college,” he said.

Many volunteers were particularly amazed at the junior high students who worked enthusiastically through the morning.
“It’s awesome to see what God’s put in their hearts to be out there to serve the community,” said Gabe Gaona, a volunteer youth worker at the Rock.
Mike Blancet, city Ground Maintenance Worker II, said the kids were giving a “great effort” that is needed “one hundred percent.”
“When I was a kid we did work like this,” said Blancet. “It shows kids how to work, to use some elbow grease and not be pampered.”
Three friends, Isabella Farrell, 11, Toni Biafore, 10, and her sister 12-year-old Frankie, came together to help. They had been thinking about getting involved, and when Isabella’s mother went online she found out about Saturday’s opportunity.

“This isn’t a glamorous job. It’s 100 percent backwards of what people assume of the young adult world. Events like this show...they’re willing to serve.”--Mingo Palacio, Rock pastor

“I thought it’d be fun; I’ve never done one of these before and thought it’d be nice to help out for the good of other people,” said Toni.

Isabella agreed. “It’s fun work and you get to hang out with people you only see on Sunday.”

Mingo Palacios, a Rock pastor to people aged 18 to 29, said that he was thrilled at the turnout.

“It always surprises me how many people turn out when you offer an opportunity to serve,” said Palacios. “This isn’t a glamorous job. It’s all about being behind the scenes. It’s 100 percent backwards of what people assume of the young adult world. Events like this show … they’re willing to serve.”


Dani Gray contributed to this report. Shawn Maree McCowan and Gray are volunteer writers with Rock the Word: The Rock Church Writers Ministry. For more info, visit