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Starlight, Now Bright! Doing Something for San Diego
By Anita Palmer

After years of neglect, not only did 3,876 seats at the historic Starlight Musical Theatre get renewed last week. So also did an older gentleman named Don. He came by to ask what the hundreds of Do Something World volunteers were doing, and ended up committing his life to Jesus Christ.

"I was in the right place at the right time," said Naomi Becker, a regular Rock Church attender who talked with Don.

On Tuesday night, May 4, 2010, Naomi was one of the 1,166 Rock volunteers at the Starlight Bowl in Balboa Park who showed up during the week of May 3-8. The Rock had started refurbishing the 64-year-old San Diego landmark during the April Do Something World Clean-Up event April 10, 2010. Now it was finishing the job.

Such community service events take hours of planning, piles of supplies, and hundreds of volunteers. Amidst all that, it's easy to forget the ultimate motivation: communicating God's love to a broken world.

Naomi didn't forget.

Overwhelmed by Joy

Just before the venue was to close that evening, Naomi, a bridal consultant, began sharing about Jesus with Don and his companion, a woman named Victoria. Don, who appeared to be in his late 70s, commented that he wasn't "a good Catholic" and seemed to want to know more. Victoria, who walked with a cane, announced she was a Jehovah's Witness. But she admitted she was questioning that sect's teaching that only 144,000 people can be saved.

Naomi emphasized that the Son of God died on the Cross to give them eternal life. When she asked Don if he believed in Jesus Christ and if he believed that He washes away all his sin, he said yes.

"I just felt overwhelmed by joy," said Naomi, who asked to pray for the couple. They all hugged goodbye.

Saving the Starlight $101,185.04

Naomi's encounter occurred against a week-long backdrop of service that involved "stars" like volunteer Rock project managers Jenn Chen, Michael McCafferty and Dave Matthews. Also part of the "show" were Chargers defensive end Jacques Cesaire and wide receiver Gary Banks, who volunteered Saturday, May 8. Cesaire also provided Subway sandwiches for more than 150 volunteers.

These statistics may help communicate the event's magnitude. For example, this project added 5,299 DO Something World hours in one week, according to Debbie Smith, Rock Church Volunteer Development Manager.

Here are some other numbers. Rock volunteers:

  • Filled 1,166 positions (some people took on more than one role)
  • Saved the Starlight Theatre $101,185.04
  • Painted and installed 3,876 seats
  • Loaded and hauled away more than 45,000 pounds of junk
  • Painted dressing rooms, restrooms, hallways and the audience entrance
  • Cleaned inside the theater, stage area, backstage, and cleared off the back deck
  • Consumed 3,600 bottles of water
  • Used 4,000 pounds of ice
  • Chewed up 2,900 pieces of Red Vines licorice!

There still are some outstanding needs at the bowl, which is one of the nation's largest outdoor theatre. It still needs

  • 3,275 sq of carpet (for the dressing rooms, halls and stairways)
  • 3,650 square feet of vinyl flooring (for the restrooms and dance room)

The grateful folks of the San Diego Civic Light Opera Association--one of the oldest continuously producing musical theatre companies in the United States--provided the water, snacks and lunch to all volunteers.

Then they blessed each volunteer with two tickets to any of the three plays this summer! A double blessing!