March 29, 2021
SAN ANTONIO, Texas — In 2020, Youth For Christ San Antonio (YFC, www.sayfc.com) championed and mentored 1,324 youth – through its five ministries: Campus Life, City Life, Parent Life, YFC Lit and YFC Camp.
“After the COVID shutdown started last year, our team met and prayed over the situation,” stated Gilbert Hernandez, YFC San Antonio chief executive officer. “We knew that our approach had to be that ‘we’re not pulling back,’ – we were going to push and move forward. These kids were in a tough spot – Youth For Christ has always been known for going into tough places and reaching kids.
“At that time, the San Antonio police department had reported that the area experienced a dramatic uptake in domestic violence. We understood how that would be an enormous challenge to teenagers and families. We committed to stay connected virtually – but it wasn’t easy, because at that time, many of the kids didn’t have computer access. When COVID first hit, especially in the underserved communities, the only way we could communicate with the kids was through their phones. We used social media to stay connected and engaged with a lot of these students.”
Many of the teens participating in the YFC San Antonio Parent Life ministry were high school seniors about to graduate. Hernandez and the YFC staff wanted to recognize this major accomplishment in a safe way. “We dropped off care packages for the graduates and arranged photo sessions. Many of these teens were the first in their family to graduate. This was a major celebration for their entire family.”
YFC San Antonio has been innovative in other ways as well, in order to stay in touch with their ministry community at a time when many are isolated. The ministry has partnered with Community Bible Church (CBC) Latino to host “drive up” backpack giveaways and a food drive that provided 2,000 meals for families.
Angela Lugo, YFC San Antonio advancement manager, described another creative approach to home visits. “Our ministry leaders would visit the teens at home and have these arts and crafts visits in their driveways. They would do chalk art. They do paintings, things like that.”
In recent months, YFC San Antonio has had the opportunity to host smaller in-person Campus Life groups at some middle school locations. Lugo described how it was apparent to the ministry leaders how being back in-person, as opposed to the virtual visits, was having a positive effect on the teens. “One 14-year-old girl, who had been attending school virtually, began attending the in-person events. She shared that she’d ‘been sexually abused and was grateful for the opportunity to have a safe place to come to, and to talk with leaders who obviously cared and wanted to help.’ She said that ‘even though her Campus Life leader would always meet with her wearing a mask, she could see in her eyes that she was smiling at her – giving her support and care.’ That’s what we are all about. We are walking with these kids, as Jesus does. Jesus is reaching them through YFC San Antonio and it means everything to all of us.”
Youth For Christ has chapters impacting thousands of communities across the nation that seek out and serve youth from all walks of life. Many teens are silently struggling through a variety of challenging issues—and now they see the living power of a loving God.
Youth For Christ staff and volunteers are encouraged by the YFC 3Story® concept, which is based on the belief that kids will be reached for Christ when met at their point of need—and as workers connect their stories with Jesus’s story. The ministry efforts of Youth For Christ are changing lives, one young person at a time.
Youth For Christ encourages staff and volunteers to be good news while also sharing the stories of the Good News of Jesus. It involves building relationships through the ups and downs of everyday life in order to lead people to Christ. For more information, visit yfc.net.
Youth For Christ has been a pillar of missional ministry since 1944, when the Rev. 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. YFC reaches young people everywhere, working together with the local church and other like-minded partners to raise up lifelong followers of Jesus who lead by their godliness in lifestyle, devotion to the Word of God and prayer, passion for sharing the love of Christ, and commitment to social involvement. Youth For Christ operates in over 100 nations and has more than 160 chapters that impact communities across America.
To learn more about what Youth For Christ is doing in Texas, visit www.yfc.net/texas
To interview a Youth For Christ representative, contact Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, Jeff Tolson, 610.584.1096, ext. 108, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.