The WELL is UYWI’s free and practical online resource that provides urban youth leaders with 24/7 access to webinars, printed materials and downloadable trainings that maximize their personal growth and ministry. The WELL leverages the power of technology to offer cutting edge, reproducible training that engages leaders beyond the reach of our Conferences, Urban Youth on Point and Certification programs.
Jason Evans is a Youth Pastor at Judson Baptist Church in San Bernardino, CA. He joined the WELL in September 2011. Jason shares how Alicia Gibson, a youth in his ministry was directly impacted as a result of the training he received from UYWI.
According to the 2011 Census Bureau, San Bernardino is the second-poorest city in the country. The youth that I serve deal with poverty, gangs and high drop-out rates and it sometimes feels like a warzone. The WELL Webinar on “40 Developmental Assets- helping kids to identify and develop their assets” gave me the tools to reach out to our youth.
Nurturing Alicia’s Photography Gift
Alicia Gibson was raised in poverty and both her parents were alcoholics. This made life extremely difficult for her. When she began attending our ministry, she gave her life to Christ, her grades began to improve and the destructive behavior stopped.
I noticed that Alicia loved photography, but could not afford to buy a quality camera. The WELL had given me the tools I needed to identify the gifts that my youth had and had given me ideas on ways to encourage them to pursue them. It was during Summer and Alicia had found a paid internship that would help her save up money for a new camera. I encouraged her to attend our Christian Summer Camp and if she did, our team would work on getting her a camera and so she agreed. We sent out emails to people we knew in photography and we were able to get her a new professional camera.
Alicia came from a poor home but was a hard-worker. She used the camera to start up her own photography business with the help of her family. Most of the students at Alicia’s high school were raised in poverty and could not afford to pay for a photographer for their graduation pictures. Out of her generosity, Alicia offered to take their senior pictures free of charge. Later on Alicia got a job working at a photography studio whose photographer had just received an award as one of the best photographers in the U.S.
As a result of the training that I received through the WELL, I was equipped to reach out and disciple Alicia and to not only keep her from a destructive lifestyle but also help pave a way for the accomplishments that she has achieved today.
Jason Evans, Youth Pastor
Judson Baptist Church, San Bernardino, CA