It’s called “Passion for Youth: Empowering street youth by engaging their passions through ABCD (Assets Based Community Development). It’s working with the positive elements of kids’ lives, finding out what they are passionate about, developing and encouraging them in these passsions, and then work with them one-on-one to help them achieve their goals.
We built relationship with street engaged youth, and from March to December 2009, hosted a weekly art program. Volunteers came to build support and it worked out fine. In addition to the incidental and unmeasureable, but important components of: belonging to a group, looking forward to getting together, building relationships, finding encouragement, fostering self-worth and self-esteem (to name a few), some measureable outcomes were experienced.
Nine kids participated in the program. Weekly attendance: average 88%. Four of our youth gained housing. Three kids found employment. One finished high school graduation requirements. Two came to a personal knowledge of Jesus.
Amazing! One young lady said, “This is the only place that I go to where I am not thinking of doing drugs all the time.”
Currently we have fourteen young people involved in the program. They look forward to coming every week. This month we have volunteers who are working with the youth one-on-one to set, define and work towards the achievement of personal goals.
The key to all of this: having someone believe in you, even when you don’t believe in yourself. Someone to say, ‘Keep on going. You can make it. You can do it.”
This might be just enough to change lives.
Respond: Share a time when someone took the time to give you a personal word of encouragement. How did that work out for you? How did you feel when someone believed in you?