Stockton Shelter Opens New Splash Pad, Bringing Joy To Resident Families

Yellow Line

STOCKTON, CA — The community of Stockton came together in celebration as a new splash pad was inaugurated at the downtown Gospel Center Rescue Mission, offering a beacon of joy for the families residing there. The ribbon-cutting ceremony, held on Thursday at 2 p.m., marked a significant addition to the shelter that houses many, including three-year-old Neveah Avalos and her mother Angela.

Angela Avalos, who vividly recalls the fun of splash pads from her own childhood, expressed her enthusiasm for the new facility. "I know they're going to have fun right here," she remarked, acknowledging the positive impact such amenities have on children like her daughter. Angela's journey to the shelter began on September 7, a date she describes as unforgettable, when she sought refuge and entered the shelter’s New Life Program.

The Gospel Center Rescue Mission, recognized as one of the largest women’s shelters in North America, aims to foster substantial, long-lasting changes in the lives of its residents. David Midura, the mission’s CEO, emphasized the project's intent to enrich lives beyond basic needs. "You have to kind of put yourself in somebody else's shoes to see what would I want if I was that child. What would I want if I was that mom or that dad?" he stated.

The initiative, fueled by the generosity of an anonymous donor and two years of planning and construction—delayed partly by the pandemic—finally came to fruition, bringing the "Kings Kids Water Park" to life. Residents like Bill Irons and his seven-year-old son, Alex, shared their excitement. "We woke up this morning and that's the first thing he said: 'Dad, today's the day,'" Irons shared. He described the joy of watching his son engage with the new play area, emphasizing the importance of such spaces for children to simply enjoy being kids.

For young residents like Neveah and Alex, the splash pad stands as a place of respite and play, where the hardships of their situations can momentarily be washed away. The community's support for this project reflects a powerful commitment to improving the quality of life for those in need, ensuring that even the youngest can find happiness and normalcy in their challenging environments.

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