Sometimes we get in over our head. Our youth experience life-changing and traumatic situations that we are not prepared to deal with. The way in which we engage those situations is crucial to how our youth understand God as a loving father. It opens their eyes to the hope of the Kingdom of God. UYWI exists to support and prepare youth workers to engage the drama and trauma their youth experience by helping them LEARN the skills they need through our resources and training events.
Vanessa Serrano has been the Director of Student Ministries at 7th Street Church (now called REVIVE Church) in Long Beach, California, for 3 years but has been a part of the UYWI Network for 7 years. She attended her first National Conference in 2011 and graduated from the 90 Degrees Certification Program in 2013. The learning tools provided have caused Vanessa to grow in her capacity in order to impact, lead and support hundreds of youth and their families. Specifically, she helped her youth, Alicia Escobar, navigate through a very difficult family separation when her father was taken by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Through the leadership of Vanessa, the support of the church, Alicia and her family have experienced how the body of Christ comes together to care for and love them in the midst of a challenging time.
Here is the amazing part. Shortly after this story was captured, God moved in a miraculous way and brought Alicia’s father home, wiped his record clear and released him from detention. I have worked with our immigration system for over a decade and I have never seen anything like it. Alicia experienced what the Kingdom of God is like through Vanessa, the church and God’s miraculous movement. It is that type of experience with God that creates radical followers of Christ. You are here to help youth workers be the type of leaders their youth can witness the movement of God in.
Chief Strategy Officer