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!
CONTINUING THE JOURNEY OF DISCIPLESHIP
A 3-Piece Approach
We recognize that it is often a lot easier to accept Christ, pray, read the bible and make positive choices to change within the controlled environment of youth detention facilities. The real test comes when the young people we work with leave those facilities and return to the environments, influences and struggles that they had failed to handle well before.
Enter the Mentor! Research and experience have shown a strong correlation between youth making positive changes in their lives and the presence of a consistent and supportive non-family member adult.
The presence of a strong mentor relationship also helps young people have better attendance and performance in school and have a better track record of taking advantage of the programs and services that are available to them.
Mentors can also help young people navigate the tough questions of faith as they grow in their relationship with God and help guide these youth as they learn how to make difference choices and pursue success.
Many of us have probably heard the phrase, "show me your five closest friends and I'll show you who you will be in five years." One of the greatest challenges for young people to deal with when they get released is breaking ties with the relationships that negatively influenced them in the past. That can be friends, family, gangs, etc.
The key is replacement. Like all of us, and perhaps even more so, young people need a network of relationships that support, encourage and challenge them. This is where we see faith families as vital to our Post-Release work.
Our goal is to develop a network of church and ministry partners who are both willing and able to accept these young people into their faith families and replace the negative relationships with ones that are positive and continue to affirm and develop their faith in God.
There are literally tens, if not hundreds, of organizations out there that work with youth in a variety of different contexts. From counseling to tutoring to athletics, the list goes on and on. As we have developed relationships with the youth in the justice system and some of these organizations, what we've found is there is often a disconnect of knowledge and access.
Often, young people are unaware of the all the programs and services they have access to. This can leave them feeling overwhelmed and helpless when they are released because they don't see a way to actually get their life back on track. And on the other side, many of these organizations have programs and funding, but aren't able to connect with enough young people to fully take advantage of what they are offering.
Our goal is to continue to develop these relationships so we can be the connection point between young people in need of support and services and the organizations who are ready to provide it.