We must help our children through this most difficult time……….they are facing things we never had to face as children.
West Sound Youth For Christ: Bringing Hope to Kids Feeling Hopeless During the Pandemic
SEATTLE — In a community partnership with North Point Church, West Sound Youth For Christ (YFC, www.yfc.net) will be opening a teen center in the heart of Poulsbo, Washington this March. Located right across the street from both North Kitsap High School and Middle Schools, the new teen center will serve teens in the area and provide them with a safe location to visit after school.
Phil Daubenspeck, West Sound Youth For Christ’s executive director, is grateful for this partnership with North Point Church, and with the partnerships that West Sound YFC is building with other churches and organizations in the area. “This new location will give teens a place to see friends in a safe environment. Many of these kids aren’t back in classrooms yet due to the pandemic – this is a chance for them to connect with each other, to experience the YFC program. It’s a chance to bring them hope at a time when they feel hopeless.”
Adam Smith, West Sound YFC’s development director, echoed the need to bring hope to teens in the local community. “If a teen’s life was hard before COVID, it has become increasingly harder during the pandemic. We’re seeing a lot of kids really struggling emotionally with the isolation … they are hurting badly right now, so much so that some kids are turning to drugs to try to numb the pain that’s in their lives.”
West Sound YFC seeks community transformation through holistic and relational outreach to kids and families of all backgrounds and beliefs. Each month, throughout Kitsap and North Mason Counties, the ministry engages with kids in schools, juvenile institutions, coffee shops, and local hangouts. Whether at the skate park, the detention center or coaching a teen mom through the struggles of parenting, YFC staff and volunteers show the love of Christ in tangible ways.
Smith, who holds an art degree, has recently been volunteering with a YFC teen art group. “As we are teaching the kids about cartooning or other fun art techniques, the teens are becoming familiar with me and my fellow volunteers. They’re getting to know an adult leader through a positive experience. There are moments when a teen will have a faith-based question, and now we’re in proximity to really mentor, and guide them through areas where they’re struggling. It’s a positive experience for all involved.”
While their faith motivates them to action, the West Sound YFC programs are open to young people of all backgrounds and beliefs. Through its programs, the ministry seeks to provide an environment for positive youth development thereby enabling these students to reach their full potential in life. There are three programs under the umbrella of West Sound YFC: Campus Life, Juvenile Justice, and Parent Life.
Having such a positive organization like West Sound YFC in the area is a blessing for the teens – and the adults. Many adult members of the local community have already offered to get involved in the various programs – but there is still so much needed. “Those in the area can offer prayers, volunteer with food/snack donations, volunteer with their time, or even providing financial support if they can,” stated Daubenspeck. “We are always looking for community partners!”
Smith added to Daubenspeck’s sentiments, “We are dealing with a somewhat heated political climate these days. Many neighbors in the community are at odds with each other when it comes to politics. But if the adults in the community can put their political differences aside, and come together to volunteer with us, they would see that they all agree on bringing hope to these teens. They’ll be making a difference in the lives of these kids.”
YFC has chapters impacting thousands of communities across the nation that seek out and serve youth from all walks of life. Many teens are silently struggling through a variety of challenging issues—and now they see the living power of a loving God.
Youth For Christ staff and volunteers are encouraged by the YFC 3Story concept, which is based on the belief that kids will be reached for Christ when met at their point of need—and as workers connect their stories with Jesus’s story. The ministry efforts of Youth For Christ are changing lives, one young person at a time.
Youth For Christ encourages staff and volunteers to be good news while also sharing the stories of the Good News of Jesus. It involves building relationships through the ups and downs of everyday life in order to lead people to Christ. For more information, visit yfc.net.
Nationally, Youth For Christ is telling inspiring stories through #YFCBeTheStory, an initiative to help spread the word across the nation about how YFC chapters are making a difference in their communities.
Youth For Christ has been a pillar of missional ministry since 1944, when the Rev. Billy Graham served as YFC’s first full-time staff member. Since then, Youth For Christ has continued to be both a rural and urban ministry on mission, and it is always about the message of Jesus. YFC reaches young people everywhere, working together with the local church and other like-minded partners to raise up lifelong followers of Jesus who lead by their godliness in lifestyle, devotion to the Word of God and prayer, passion for sharing the love of Christ, and commitment to social involvement. Youth For Christ operates in over 100 nations and has more than 160 chapters that impact communities across America.