The History and Future of La Roca
By Scott Tuloch
La Roca was established in 1988 and it's primary focus was to provide schooling for children in the local neighborhood who would otherwise not have been able to get an education. When Foothills first became involved as a supporter of their ministry, it was labeled as an orphanage. A more fitting term would have been a foster home. Children were brought to La Roca whose parents were no longer able to care for them. The children would receive food, education, shelter and spiritual guidance while their parents attempted to make ends meet. At any given point, La Roca would be supporting 50 children at a time, from infants to teens. I was a member of another church that was supporting La Roca and had the pleasure of meeting Charlie Roach and the rest of the Foothills mission group while building bunk beds.
With time, La Roca was able to house entire families and help the parents with job training that would make them able to confidently leave La Roca and provide for their family. The school was taking caring of many families with great success until the economy bottomed out. Many of the supporting churches of the La Roca mission were no longer able to donate to the cause and La Roca is not able to support families like it used to.
During this time, a dormitory was converted into a 5 room school, to which a bathroom was later added. Then, a few years ago a second wing with 3 classrooms was added. Over time, the old wing of the school has become badly deteriorated, largely due to water damage. The current project is to demolish the old wing of the school this summer and build a new bathroom before school starts again in August. Three new classrooms will then be built as a later project. The educational programs offered by La Roca have been very successful and, in fact, some of the children currently enrolled are the children of students who attended the La Roca school in its early years. The Foothills UMC congregation has supported these programs for many years by providing funding for lunches for the children, books and school supplies, and funding and labor for school facility projects including bathrooms, repairs and retaining walls.
As a member of the Foothills congregation I've had the opportunity to help the children of La Roca and the surrounding neighborhood in many ways over the years. I always look forward to the new developments with this ministry and the upcoming renovation of the school building is a fantastic opportunity to continue that Foothills' tradition. If you have the time and feel the call, please join the mission to La Roca on our work teams that go every third Saturday of the month.