Series: Grant reports for Freeborn County Community Foundation

Published 9:27 am Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Greg Gudal of South Central Minnesota Youth for Christ accepts a donation from Jill Peterson, chairwoman of the Freeborn County Community Foundation. - Provided

Greg Gudal of South Central Minnesota Youth for Christ accepts a donation from Jill Peterson, chairwoman of the Freeborn County Community Foundation. – Provided

Organization: Youth for Christ

Project: Supporting area youth

Report: Youth for Christ — The Rock is a faith-based 501(c)3 organization. The group’s mission as an organization is: “Youth for Christ 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.”

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According to a press release, there is incredible work being done with young people on many fronts. Hundreds of youth are involved with the organization each week. The foundation’s support has been helpful in reaching youth, seeing lives changed and leaders developed.

This past fiscal year, Youth for Christ in the Albert Lea area:

• Sent over 160 kids to camp and on trips.

• Over $20,000 was raised for scholarships that the youth earned.

• Youth went to events out of town

• Over 900 meals were served last summer to children

• 1,800 meals were served last school year.

• Over 2,600 loaves of bread were given out to youth.

• Over 10,000 sandwiches plus snacks were served this last year.

• There were 340 small groups hosted.

• 205 club meetings were hosted.

• Provided toothpaste/toothbrushes and other personal hygiene supplies to youth.

• Worked with area schools to assist in improving grades and behavioral issues of our youth.

• Provided homework help.

• Gave out Bibles to children who need them.

• Organized numerous one-on-one meetings with youth.

• 3,600 donuts and over 3,000 muffins were served at breakfast clubs.

• Thousands of contacts were made by staff to youth.

• Organized children for a work project to clean ditches in the area.

• Worked with over 25 youth in court services.

• Over 1,000 different youths come and go in the program each year.

• A reading program has been established for third to fifth-grade students.

• Two cooking programs have been started

• Leadership training takes place weekly during the school year.

• Over 30 volunteers and paid staff working with youth have logged 3,000 volunteer hours.

The group makes different activities available for youth to develop social skills and to be physically active, such as dodgeball, indoor skateboarding and utilizing a climbing wall. Youth have canoed, kayaked, climbed the climbing wall and jumped off the tower for a zip line ride at Prairie River Camp, which takes courage. They played paintball, miniature golf and many other activities. Youth have been challenged in their faith by amazing speakers, heard staff share their life stories and been listened to and cared for.

At The Rock, staff put into practice the Youth for Christ City Life model that is concerned with how youth are doing with the relationships in their lives, the spiritual and moral part of their life, how they are doing in school, if they feel safe and are they healthy, if they learning good work ethics and are they giving back to society through serving in some way.

The group also practice a progressive development process with the youth at The Rock, giving them extra responsibilities as staff see they are ready for them — depending on their maturity in their faith as well as their level of growth and maturity as a person. According to a press release, raising up young people as lifelong followers of Jesus Christ is at the center of all they do as an organization.