After a sharp increase in youth violence in our community in 2008, local Christian leaders in and around South Seattle gathered to pray and discern steps of action. This group felt a definite sense of urgency as too many of our young people were dying. Soon after, the organization who had been providing chaplaincy services in the youth detention center, decided to withdraw their direct services and approached our group of leaders to see if there could be some type of hand off.
In 2009, King County Youth Chaplaincy (KCYC) began our mission to reach youth who have been incarcerated with the love of Christ. Ministry leaders gathered to support KCYC's vision with a governing board. KCYC also became a "strategic initiative" of Urban Impact (a community development organization with the similar focus on youth development and breaking cycles of poverty in the Seattle area). With much community support, teams of believers went into the youth detention center with a simple message of forgiveness and hope.
King County Youth Chaplaincy is a strategic initiative of Urban Impact. Click Here to learn more about Urban Impact.
Since 2009, KCYC has been ministering in the King County Juvenile Detention Center through chapel services, one-on-one chaplaincy with youth in the center and supporting the young people through their journey in the justice process. We have grown from a single half-time staff position split between three people to now having nearly two full-time staff.
As our work in juvy has continued, we have learned that the scope of need for chaplaincy reaches far beyond juvy. So we have extended our mission to the long-term state youth facilities, group homes and treatment centers where some of our youth are sent. We are also continuing to grow into the post-release portion of the mission by extending our network of ministries, church partners and social service partners to continue to support our youth in their walk of faith and journey toward lasting success.
PRESENCE, JESUS, LOVE & TRANSFORMATION
Many of our young people experience inconsistency of the people in their lives. Our first goal is simply to be present - to be there and be consistent in their lives.
The Way, The Truth, The Life. Jesus is all of these things. He is the Answer to all the questions our young people struggle with every day. We recognize that they can find their way, their truth and their life in Jesus.
True love, God kind of love, is not something many of our youth have known or experienced. We strive to show them God's extravagant love.
We firmly believe God can provide the lasting change that we all need. Many of our youth need a fresh start on a new path. Through the power of the Jesus, delivered with Love and empowered by God's Presence and ours, we see many of our young people transform!
I M P A C T
Marcus rediscovered his faith in juvy. He has left his gang-affiliated ways and mindset and has committed his life to the ways of Jesus. While he still faces many temptations to go back to his old ways, he is persevering in his faith and we are blessed to be a part of his life.
Denise started a mentoring relationship with one of our female chaplains. She also started a relationship with Jesus in juvy, and has grown in her faith outside of detention. She has a steady job and is excited about her future. She has stated, “You all help turn my life around.”
James met Chaplain Jon in the detention center at the age of 13, and continued to be in touch with Jon when he was sent to other facilities. God renewed his faith before being released and he is continuing to mature and grow. As we walk with James (now almost 18) in his life journey, we are confident that God will continue to grow him into the man God is calling him to be.