Sixteen youngsters rocked around the clock for a good cause last week.

They were participating in Landenberg United Methodist Church's annual Rock-A-Thon, which started at 9 p.m. Jan. 13 and ended at 9 a.m. Jan. 14.

The youth, ages 11 to 14, raised hundreds of dollars by rocking in rocking chairs the whole night. No sleeping is allowed at the event, and once every hour the teens and tweens are allowed a five-minute break to use the bathroom, relocate their rocking chair, or get something warm to eat.

This year the funds were donated to the Underwood family of West Grove, who lost their house to a fire on Dec. 15.

"What this does is bond them," said Landenberg United Methodist Church's Senior Pastor Sharon K. Paul of the participants after Sunday service Jan. 15. "[They] said 'We want to raise enough money to make a difference.'"

This year, the day the youth decided that the Rock-A-Thon would benefit the Underwood family was a Sunday, and the children went to work at the church asking for sponsors and financial pledges.

Some sponsors donate a specific amount of money for the whole event, and some pledge a certain amount of money per hour the youth rocks in his or her rocking chair.

But according to Paul, the event wasn't just about raising funds.

"It was spiritual," she said.

After each five-minute break, the youth would come back to their rocking chairs and pray for the Underwood family.

"Every hour, every kid offered a prayer," Paul said.

The Rock-A-Thon has been going on for 10 years, according to Lisa and Dan Kalinowski, adult youth leaders who helped oversee the event.

Snuggled in blankets, the youth rocked in their rocking chairs filling the room with laughter. They had with them book bags filled with books, drinks and food, I-pods, games and much more.

Melanie Kolb said she had signed on 15 sponsors prior to the night of the event. She was glad to help the Underwoods.

"They do so much for everybody else, they put everybody before themselves," Kolb said. "They're so great."

The consequence of a sleepless night didn't seem to phase the happy rockers.

"I'm definitely going to do it," said Aaron Anderson when asked if he could stay up the full 12 hours, rocking.

Youth Director Evan Cantiello, said he studies youth ministry at Eastern University, where Christina Underwood attends college. He was been working in the field at the church since October.

"The kids took to it right away because they're a very important family to this church," Cantiello said, adding the event gave the youth an opportunity to experience fellowship.

"The kids can come together and have fun, with a purpose," Cantiello said, "and show other people God's love."

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