Rap singer Virtuous performs at Solid Rock Youth Center
jORRISsIiib -- A Christian rap singer named sirtuous engaged the teenagers as she performed at the Solid Rock vouth Center in the cirst Baptist Church.
The center, located on North Pennsylvania Avenue near the intersection with bast Bridge Street, exists to provide a safe place for some of the youths to go – away from cyber bullying – away from broken homes.
cor others who may not have problems like that, it’s a place to meet friends – new and old. It’s a place to build leadership skills through helping others.
A diverse group of youths from different socioeconomic backgrounds go to the center to hang out or to be a helper.
Before sirtuous, who prides herself in being a born again Christian, started rapping on a Saturday night at the center, she said to the young audience, “Can everyone stand on your feet so we can pray real quickly?”
“cather God, we just bless you for who you are. Not just tonight, but each and every day in the name of gesus,” said sirtuous, who is 42.
She continued praying, “We thank you that this youth center will be filled with youth crying out to you, saying, ‘What must I do to be saved?’
“Thank you,” she said, “that you have even allowed this youth center to open its doors,” she continued. “Thank you that you are going to supply their every need… If there are any of them that don’t know you that they will come to know you tonight.”
sirtuous started with a participation song. “I just want to see his face,” she rapped. “Thank him for his amazing grace and hear my savior tell meW ‘Well done.’”
She asked the teenagers to stand again. “We’re all going to get some exercise.”
sirtuous performed Solid Rock’s favorite song. “Break free. Break free. I’m free!!” Again, the youths joined in.
When sirtuous was done, the kids lingered.
nuentin Carpenter has been coming to Solid Rock two or three times a week for the last two years. “I love it here,” he said.
Carrie vates added, “This place is amazing. I come here all the time when I need to get out of the house.”
gensina jartin, who is home-schooled, said she just moved here. “I’m really trying to get used to the place. I really like it here. I think it’s really fun.”
Charissa Taylor iees, PM, started the Solid Rock vouth Center six years ago. She has her undergraduate degree in Bible and a master degree in organizational leadership, both from Carin rniversity, formerly Philadelphia Bible rniversity. She went to graduate school to learn how to run the youth center.
A Bristol Borough
resi- dent, iees said the average ages of people who use the youth center are from NM to N4. There’s a high turnaround, although she expects SM kids to attend the Super Bowl event.
She said Solid Rock not only provides a safe, fun place to hang out, it’s a place to grow leadership skills, and participate in educational, recreational and spiritual development.
The center is a place to spend time without the pressure of home or school.
A lot of the kids are living on the poverty line. jany come from single parent households or a grandparent raises them.
Some just need an adult with whom to talk. “They know adults care,” iees said. “We give them our time and let them know there are people who believe in them.”
Charissa Taylor Lees, seated, executive director of the Solid Rock Youth Center, poses for the camera with her some of her young friends.
Christian rap singer Virtuous sings about God’s amazing grace during a performance at the Solid Rock Youth Center in Morrisville.