When they learned a big community center was coming to their neighborhood, Harmony and Samantha Clark were a bit nervous. “We were worried it was going to take away our sledding hill!” Harmony said. But as the oldest of seven Clark children, they soon learned not only was their favorite sledding spot safe, but the new Kroc Center would provide their family with amenities like a pool, fitness center, and much more.
“We got a membership pretty much right away,” said Samantha. And while the hectic pace of life sometimes kept them from visiting, the Kroc Center was always a part of their family life. That became especially true once Harmony, then Samantha, started working with kids in the Kroc’s Child Watch area nearly five years ago.
“It’s been the perfect job to have while I’m in college,” Harmony said. She’s wrapping up her nursing degree this spring, while Samantha majors in special education. Samantha added, “Working at the Kroc Center teaches you how to be hospitable and interact with all sorts of different people.” On any given day, you’re likely to see at least one of the Clarks around the Kroc, whether it is dad Alf working out in the early morning, Harmony and Samantha (and now brother Benjamin too) in Child Watch, or Donovan playing basketball. Mom Carrie might bring twins Autumn and Serenity, or the youngest Jordan, to swim or climb the rock wall with friends.
The Clarks say the Kroc Center not only brings their family closer, but the community as well. “The Kroc Center really reflects the area around us,” said Samantha, “where people from neighborhoods that are mostly black, or white, or Latino, can all come together.” Harmony added, “I love that the Kroc is built on sharing our Christian faith, but it’s not just talking about Jesus, it’s meeting our community’s physical and social needs as well. We’re trying to live out our faith.”