‘While parents and students across the nation are preparing to head back to school, many students struggle with the challenges and anxieties school brings. Research shows that students who have meaningful relationships at school — both with their peers as well as trusted adults — are better able to learn.
Peer relationships play a vital role in teen development, but relationships with caring adults — including parents or caregivers, mentors, or coaches — are the building blocks for all other relationships.
This is why building meaningful relationships — particularly in the school setting — is crucial for YFC Sacramento, the local chapter of Youth For Christ (YFC, www.yfc.net), a leader in building missional ministry communities across America.
“Working with the next generation is the most important ministry we could possibly do,” said YFC Sacramento Executive Director Ed Kaczmarek. “What could be more important than impacting the next generation with the Gospel? However, it is always a battle against the negative environments teens are living in these days.
“Every kid has a God-shaped void, whether they come from a stable, loving home or are forced to live in less-than-ideal situations. No matter what type of challenges a student faces — stress, anxiety, depression, etc. — Youth For Christ has something that is always needed and will never go out of style… meaningful relationships.”
YFC Sacramento has a unique ministry designed to reach students in schools. “Point Break” is an evidence-based school assembly program that provides an opportunity for YFC staff and volunteers to start forming relationships with the students while school is in session.
“We try to make these assemblies more intimate, so we only have 10-20 students at a time,” said Kaczmarek. “We typically tackle three topics — bullying, connecting, and authenticity. These assemblies are a great opportunity for us to start building relationships while creating a natural segway to our Campus Life programs.”
The results of this program speak for themselves. “At one of our Point Break sessions, we had a rowdy student who just wouldn’t quiet down,” stated a YFC Point Break leader. “He was very disruptive, and you could tell that he enjoyed being the class clown.
“The leaders finally suggested that we send him out because he was so distracting to the rest of the students. I hated that it got to that point, but finally agreed that something had to be done.
“After he was sent out, I went to join him out in the hall and just shared my story with him. I told him that I behaved the same way when I was his age because I was dealing with a lot of brokenness at home, and he really related to what I was saying. I told him that I really wanted him to participate, but only if he took it seriously, and he agreed.
“When we went back in, the other students tried to get him worked up again, but he just ignored them and engaged with the material. He remained in our program and even went to our recent YFC Camp, where he gave his life to Christ! It was so powerful to see how this small touchpoint made an eternal impact on his life.”
Youth For Christ has been a leader in missional youth outreach since 1944, when Dr. Billy Graham served as YFC’s first full-time staff member. Since then, Youth For Christ has continued to be both a rural and urban ministry on mission, and it is always about the message of Jesus. Youth For Christ operates in over 100 nations and has over 130 chapters that impact communities across America. Visit the Youth For Christ media page here. Learn more about Youth For Christ at its website, www.yfc.net, Facebook and Instagram pages, Twitter feed @yfcusa or on Vimeo.