A lot of people wonder what’s wrong with this generation. Visit a local school campus and watch students engage more with their cell phones through text and social media than they do with one another – and you’ll have your answer. Youth are relationally starved! What students need more than anything are relationships with caring godly adults to help them navigate the negative influences on their daily decisions.
Recently I saw this truth in action at a local YMCA where I spent about three hours with 32 high school students. These students came from some extremely at-risk communities. This was my first time meeting these students, so I expected their hearts to be heavily guarded. During the time together, we took the students through one of the exercises UYWI uses in its new Thrive program, and I was humbled by the outcome. Within the first 90 minutes together, students and adults were weeping over the trauma that several students shared they had gone through. Here’s what God cemented in my heart as a result: The right tools in the right hands can accomplish in 90 minutes what it often takes 90 days (or years) to achieve.
Let me start with the right hands. There were several UYWI trained leaders in that room. These leaders knew how to gain trust fast, which is the greatest denominator in establishing vulnerability. It is a scary thing to let a complete stranger into our places of hurt. Yet our vulnerability leads to healthiness. Unfortunately, there are thousands of students that lack relationships with caring trustworthy adults that will allow them to be vulnerable. UYWI is committed to changing that!
The right tools are programs like Thrive and 90 Degrees, to name a few of UYWI’s programs. These programs place the right tools in leaders’ hands and train them in how to use them to evangelize and disciple youth. In 2013 our goal is to put godly mentors in the lives of 1300 youth through the Thrive program alone. There are thousands more students that stand to be impacted by leaders in the 90 Degree program. Your prayers and partnership makes this possible.
Thank you for faithfully supporting the mission of UYWI. Because of you, urban youth have the leaders and role models they need to live transformed lives by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Together, we are working toward the day when this generation will no longer be starving for authentic relationships because they are connected eternally to the One who loves them most!
Southeast Regional Director