In July of 2007 I started a youth group at my church for the kids in my community. Every Thursday night about 20 of us meet in our church gym.
I originally started this youth group because we were one of the only churches that didn't have one, but as time passed I realized that it wasn't about that. This was the place where kids in our community could come and feel safe and be safe. There is no pressure to "be cool" or "impress people". It is a place for us to come and make a bond with people that we never thought we would.
At first it just started as a bunch of kids meeting in our gym, listening to a message, and playing a game or two. But as it grew we realized that we should start doing something to give back to our community. So in the fall of 2007 our youth group participated in The 30 Hour Famine. We fasted for 30 hours and received sponsers for it. All of the proceeds went to the starving children in Africa.
In Feb. 2008, our youth group participated in a district missions trip, where we went to a local rehabilatation center and helped paint houses, lay tile, and do some landscaping.
It doesn't stop here! No way. As a youth group we try as a group and as a whole to help impact our community. We challenge eachother to help with little projects. Babysit for someone for no charge. Mow an old persons lawn for free. Little jobs that will benefit someone besides yourself. We also try and plan one big activity like helping at a homeless shelter, clothing drives, every couple of months.
This project is very important to me because this fall I will be studying to be a youth pastor. I really like being involved with teenagers, because I understand that life is tough sometimes and I understand that sometimes you may need a break. That is why I love our youth group because its a place where, no mater who you are, you can come and just hang out. Not only is it a place to come and learn about God and his love but it is a place where you can come and love and be loved.
It may be small right now. And sometimes it may seem like were not making a difference. But when one student decides to come to youth rather than go to a party. Or one student chooses to come and help us clean chairs or pull weeds out front our church. Than that is one student whose life has been changed. And with that one change our community will benefit from it.