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How you can help these kids at summer camp after theft: 'You can do it!'

How you can help these kids at summer camp after theft: 'You can do it!'
Posted at 6:18 PM, Jul 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-21 18:18:15-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- A Central Virginia non-profit on a mission to mentor Richmond's youth is in need of the community's help.

The Rock Project was created in 2019 by Darryl Johnston, a Richmond native who hoped to engage and encourage young people of all ages.

"I've been working with kids my whole life," Johnston said.

After over eight years as a football coach, Johnston, also known as 'Coach Rock', took on a different kind of team this summer by launching The Rock Project summer camp.

"We are teaching kids entrepreneurship, everyday life skills and just every day just giving back to the community," he said.

With over 30 kids in attendance this year, they all agreed their experience with The Rock Project had been nothing short of amazing,

“I love this summer camp," said one student.

Coach Rock said his goal for this summer program and any program he does is for every participant to leave knowing they can do anything they put their mind to.

"I tell them all the time, don't ever let somebody tell you that you can't be great. No matter what. I want you to know I can be great in life," Johnston said.

Almost every day, the kids go on a field trip, whether it be to the pool, bowling or a cooking lesson. The group agrees that one of their favorite things to do is make music.

A video of a song the camp created and recorded has almost 10,000 views on Instagram and will be available on all platforms to listen to.

Johnston said as someone who was raised in Richmond, he hopes to continue to provide a fun and safe space for young people.

"They always say the violence is in the community with the younger generation. It's because they have nowhere to go. Like there's no gym," he said.

Johnston said he would love to do an after-school program and allow more students next summer, but the lease for their current building ends in two weeks and he isn't sure where they will go next.

"I've been trying to get the money to get a building. So when school starts, I can do an after-school program," he said.

Last weekend, the catalytic converter was stolen out of the one 15 passenger van they have and had to be replaced with Coach Rock's personal money.

With the building lease ending in two weeks and the need for another van, the nonprofit started a GoFundMe hoping to continue their mission with the youth of this community.