The TCU Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) had the opportunity to mentor children in the Fort Worth community at Pop’s Garage on Wednesday evening.
“The role for TCU FCA is getting our student-athletes off campus so they can use their platform and their influence to make a positive impact in the lives of other kids,” TCU FCA director Chauncey Franks said.
The students spent the evening playing games and acting as mentors for the children.
TCU alum Gus Bates said that he started the privately owned recreation center geared for the youth in the Como area of Tarrant County, just two miles from campus. Bates credits two influences for starting the recreation center: his father, Gus “Coach Pops” Bates and Jesus Christ.
“We called it Pop’s Garage to pay homage to my dad,” Bates said.
Bates also said Pop’s Garage was created to provide a positive mentorship atmosphere for the children of Tarrant County. He said it is meant to serve the youth in the community with meals, ministry, quality role models and, possibly, a tutoring program.
The center has a collection of state-of-the-art gym equipment, a basketball gym, a batting cage, flat screen televisions, video games, a hockey table and various other sporting events and activities.
FCA focuses on serving local communities by equipping, empowering and encouraging people to make a difference for Christ, according to the FCA website.
“The mission of FCA is to present to coaches and athletes, and all whom they influence, the challenge and adventure of receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, serving Him in their relationships and in the fellowship of the church,” according the FCA website.
Franks says that while it primarily involves student-athletes, the organization is open to all TCU students.
Many of the students enjoyed the opportunity to engage with the children as mentors.
Senior English major and two-time All-American sprinter Veronica Jones said that being a college student serves as an example to encourage kids to strive toward going to college.
“I just think, with them being here, [it] brings positivity,” Jones said. “That they are more than their surroundings are.”
“I want to be a role model for them so they can have encouragement to do greater things, whether it’s academic or athletics,” Patterson said.
Franks said his goal is to bring FCA to Pop’s Garage at least twice a month.