At the Moline Youth Center, giggles and smiles say it all.
"Once they come, usually they're hooked," said YouthHope Development Director Hannah Carr. "They keep coming back."
For more than 20 years, they've been returning to YouthHope in Moline (3928 12th Ave.) and Rock Island (3928 12th Ave.) . The Christian-based outreach focuses on pressures facing low income and at risk families without cost to them.
"It gives us lessons we can use when we get older," said Ciza Estella, 14, an eighth grader at John Deere Middle School in Moline.
While kids enjoy the games, there are also lessons about life. During challenging times, it's a safe haven for them.
"It helps them get their mind off school," Ciza continued. "If they have trouble at home, they get to talk to someone and feel safe. It would be like another home to them."
Programs concentrate on after-school hours, which become peak times for youth crime and violence. To learn more, http://www.cfyouthhope.org/
A portion of April sales at Necker's Jewelers will benefit YouthHope.
"I actually worked here in high school." said Development Director Hannah Carr, who sees how kids change each day.
"If you have children who need a place to go, or they need people who can be a positive influence in their life, they can come here," Carr said.
This Gift of Giving will help to keep the giggles and smiles at YouthHope.
"We can do recreational programs, tutoring and after school programs, developing leaders of integrity in our community," Carr concluded.
YouthHope will offer an open house at its camp in New Windsor, Illinois. It takes place from 10-11 a.m., on Saturday, April 7. The camp is at 3321 5th Avenue in New Windsor.