More than 1K youth attended a Youth for Christ program in ’16

Published 10:22 am Wednesday, February 15, 2017

A local faith-based ministry helped at-risk children in a variety of ways in 2016.

South Central Minnesota Youth For Christ works with area schools to improve grades and behavior issues of students, provides help with homework, helps clothe children and has numerous one-on-one appointments with youth at The Rock.

The Rock is a drop-in center where students can come after school and have a place to be until the center closes.

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“There is a lot of kids who are not in the church today, and so we want to share with them our relationship with Christ, and hopefully they want to get involved with the church one day,” said South Central Executive Director Greg Gudal.

“The gospel is as much caught as it is taught.”

At a meeting at The Rock on Tuesday, stories were shared of people whose lives had been touched by the Youth for Christ facility, and how it serves as a refuge for children who come from disadvantaged backgrounds.

In 2016:

• More than $20,000 was provided for scholarships that youth earned.

• Nearly 150 children went to camp and on trips, and 38 youth went to out-of-town events.

• More than 2,000 meals were served last summer to children.

• 4,000 meals were served during the 2015-16 school year and 4,200 sandwiches and snacks were served.

• 3,600 donuts and 5,000 muffins were served at breakfast clubs.

• 1,200 youth attended a program.

• 12 children participated in an art program, and 26 young people participated in the grade school reading program

• 20 youth participated in two cooking clubs.

A lot of youth work at The Rock is done in context of the Youth for Life City Life program, Gudal said, which focuses on six areas of children’s lives, including relationship health, spiritual health and moral choices, academic well-being, meeting basic needs, safety, learning how to work and handle money and giving back to society.

Programs before and after school are called Campus Life clubs.

“Campus Life ministry combines healthy relationships with creative programs to help young people make good choices, establish a solid foundation for life and positively impact their schools,” Gudal said.

The program organizes children for work projects, such as cleaning ditches, and worked with 29 youth in 2016 for community service with Court Services.

More than 50 volunteers contributed 7,000 hours.

Rides to school were given to children who missed the bus, and toothpaste and brushes were provided.

“Our mission is to reach young people everywhere, working together with the local church and other likeminded partners to raise 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,” Gudal said.

“We love kids and want to help them in any way we can.”

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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