Huntsville teens serve the community as part of the Rocket City Life group

Pay It Forward
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - You will have the power to pick who gets the $319 Pay it Forward money. WHNT NEWS 19 is recognizing rising leaders in the Tennessee Valley each Monday at 6:30pm during the month of May. At the end of the month, you will have a chance to vote on the winning recipient. We're taking action to lift up the younger generation. Tonight's candidate is the Rocket City Life group.

Nine-year-old Priscilia comes to the Huntsville Inner City Learning Center after school. One day is her favorite though. She wrote about it in her journal.

"My favorite day of the week is Wednesday because Willowbrook always comes to the learning center to do Bible and games," says Priscilia.

The Rocket City Life group from Willowbrook Baptist Church comes regularly to spend time with the kids there, perform skits, and teach them about the Bible. In front of a captive audience, the lesson on this day is about good and evil and is illustrated by Darth Vader and Iron Man in a skit. The young man behind the red and gold mask is Grissom High School student David Norton.

"It's really a joy to serve these kids," says Norton. "A lot of the kids have a lot less than me and the least I could do is give up some time for them. It's also what God wants us to do. He's called us to serve."

Norton along with about a dozen other high school students have spent the past few months doing community service projects all over Huntsville. They've prayed with families at Huntsville Hospital, sorted and served food at Manna House and helped with the after school program at Lincoln Village. Huntsville High School sophomore Ally Klecka says it's about showing and sharing love.

"This has just become such a big part of a lot of our lives," describes Klecka. "Coming here and getting to see the children over and over again, you build connections and once you build those, you don't want to just let them fade away."

T-shirts state their mission clearly - "Reach. Equip. Send" And their actions match. Willowbrook's High School Pastor Justin Bedingfield oversees the group and says the teens really rose to the occasion.

"Their relationship with God compels them and when they see that opportunity, they jump on it," explains Bedingfield. "They've shown up with a lot of enthusiasm at all the events we've done and served whole-heartedly."

The members of the Rocket City Life group were required to commit to at least five community service projects this past school year.