I’m one of the lucky people who gets to bear witness, firsthand, to the powerful things God is doing through our Youth Program at People Helping People. I love watching the kids grow physically, intellectually and developmentally in regard to life skills as well. It’s especially rewarding to watch when they use a lesson they have learned here and apply it elsewhere without realizing it.

With 214 kids registered for the Youth Program and an average of 60 kids attending after school, there’s a lot of opportunity for People Helping People to pursue our mission. We want to show the love of Jesus Christ by serving our friends and neighbors, but my main goal with the Youth Program specifically is to change the next generation. It’s to help get our kids out of poverty. We believe we can do this through love, education, consistency and showing them how to use the resources they have.

We’ve already started to see the fruits of our work towards our goal beginning to take shape. In the past several months, our local elementary school has seen and commented on the transformation in the students we share with them. These students’ changed behavior and good habits in the classroom have not gone unnoticed.

One of my favorite youth events in this past season was our Pinewood Derby. In this class, 30+ kids made cars, and it was a life changer for some of them. They felt empowered for the first time in their lives as they used skills they didn’t even know they had. Some of our kids learned to trust for the first time. Some were pushed to be creative for the first time.

In the end, it wasn’t about the cars. It was about the time and effort our five adult volunteers spent with them. It was the fact that someone wanted to love them through this time no matter how they acted.

God is doing big things in our Youth Program, and I’m so grateful to be his instrument along the way.