Youth For Christ raised $33 K for scholarships

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 10, 2017

South Central Minnesota Youth For Christ raised more than $33,000 for youth scholarships last fiscal year.

Fundraising numbers were discussed Thursday during the Youth For Christ fundraising banquet.

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The organization reportedly had 160 children attend camps and trips, served more than 12,000 sandwiches or snacks and had 125 small groups, as well as 150 club meetings last school year.

During the event, Youth For Christ members discussed how the organization changed their lives.

Sixteen-year-old Lorenzo Moreno said at one point he stopped going to The Rock and was addicted to drugs and alcohol. His mother passed away in December.

Moreno said he began attending church, was baptized and felt like a new person. He hopes to one day be a police officer and help change perceptions about the role police play in society.

The hour-long event included lunch and a video showing the story of a man whose life was changed as a youth by an adult mentor.

Marsha Gold discussed the effects The Rock has had in the lives of her and her family. Her children and grandchildren have attended the facility.

“We are grateful to have Youth For Christ in our lives,” she said.

Youth For Christ attendee Sabrina Gold said when she started attending The Rock, she did not have faith, but she has since found it.

“God is the father I’ve always had but never knew,” she said.

Last fiscal year, South Central Minnesota Youth For Christ organized more than 100 children for work projects, such as cleaning ditches and working at Prairie River Camp, and worked with 36 youth who were doing community service with Court Services. More than 60 volunteers reportedly put in 8,000 hours to the organization, and 1,200 children attended a Youth For Christ program last year.

During the event, Chloe Hanson performed “Give Me Jesus,” and Jonathan Walberg was master of ceremonies.

Program participant Kailey Boettcher said she enjoys learning about God, and she wants to be a teacher or a photographer when she grows up. To Boettcher, God can help people who are bullied at school.

South Central Minnesota Youth For Christ Executive Director Greg Gudal discussed the organization’s mission of reaching struggling children.

“We pursue lost youth,” he said. “We are a search party.”

Gudal and fellow member Steve Honsey requested attendees donate money so the organization can continue its mission.

Youth For Christ participant Ana Larson said attending Youth For Christ events at The Rock made her realize she has a purpose in life.

“I now have hope and a future,” she said.

Larson wants to be a science teacher or a lawyer when she grows up.

Fellow participant 15-year-old Renier Quesada described difficult times he encountered when he was younger, including using marijuana and selling Adderall.

Quesada now attends church most Sundays and said despite a rough past, he should be able to have a good future because Jesus died for his sins.

Seventh-grade Youth For Christ participant Lara Westrum said faith has always been a major part of her life. She has attended Breakfast Club events at Southwest Middle School.

DeeAnn Berglund, middle school director at South Central Minnesota Youth For Christ and a leader of the Breakfast Club, said she enjoyed the event.

“Just so touched by God and how he’s collaborated such an amazing event,” she said. “There’s hundreds of people here. There’s more to hear — there is more need in our community to hear what God is doing through his ministry.”

About Sam Wilmes

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

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