Rock the Community

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COLUMBIA - An organization called Rock the Community is coming to Columbia on Saturday, May 20 to educate residents about law enforcement and community resources.

The event will go from 3 to 8 pm at Stephens Lake Park.

Residents will have the opportunity to play games and do fun activities with their community resources, as well as the Columbia Police Department. The event is a way to learn about what these organizations are doing for Columbia neighborhoods.

Rock the Community Director Rita Renee said the event is a great way to understand what support systems are out there for residents.

"You may not know where the resource providers are," Renee said. "When you come to Rock the Community, you get to meet all the resource providers, and you’ll get to meet the police officers that are patrolling your neighborhood in a more family friendly setting."

Rock the Community is partnering with Heart of Missouri United Way. All community members who attend the event can speak with United Way's agency partners, such as Central Missouri Community Action and the Family Impact Center, to learn more about the services they provide. There will also be Columbia police officers walking around to talk to residents.

The event will have live music and performances, including showcases from Back Talk, a local community project in Columbia focused on empowering youths.

United Way's Continuous Improvement Director Rachel Finch said students in the Back Talk program will perform and present different types of art forms.

"It’s a project that engages youth to help support them building their advocacy messages and help them organize and share with the community what their perspectives are," Finch said. "We’re really working together with Rock the Community to amplify their voice on what issues and creative solutions they feel are important to them."

Rock the Community began in St. Louis ten years ago, but has expanded their services all over Missouri and other states like Illinois. 

"Wherever there’s a need to bridge those gaps between the law enforcement agencies and the community, that’s where we’ll be," Renee said.

United Way also partnered with the city of Columbia and COMO Connect to schedule free buses all day between Douglas Park and Stephens Lake Park.

Residents who want to support Rock the Comunity can learn more about the organization, as well as donate online, at their website, www.rocthecommunity.com

The event is weather permitting. Renee said if weather is bad they will reschedule the event to next Saturday.

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