Community comes together to promote the value of young people in light of mental health decline
November 14, 2022
Ft. wayne, Ind. — Far too many young people are struggling with their mental health and unable to get the support they need. Since the pandemic began, rates of psychological distress among youth have increased. Many parents and guardians reported their children feeling extreme depression, isolation, and apathy as the pandemic forced them to stay home and lose physical access to school, friends, and extracurricular activities. Even after restrictions lifted, the effects are still being felt across the country.
As a response to this concern, Youth For Christ (YFC, www.yfc.net), a fixture in the youth ministry community in America for the past 78 years, has supported young people by coming alongside them in pivotal moments and committing to living life together with them, all while pointing back to the hope of Christ. One chapter, YFC Northern Indiana, has gone above and beyond in their mission to create meaningful relationships with their “We Believe in You(th)” campaign. This campaign was first created in 2020 with the goal to inspire confidence in the young people in the area. Parents, teachers, guardians, and rest of the community hung up signs and banners all throughout the Fort Wayne area with the message “We Believe in You(th).”
What started as a local campaign in 2020 to uplift youth has now turned into a movement, with YFC chapters in Miami and Baltimore joining to also declare their belief in young people. The third annual “We Believe in You(th)” campaign will take place from November 14-18.
Said Chris Todia, executive director of YFC Northern Indiana, “Two years ago, YFC Northern Indiana launched a one-week, all out campaign for the young people of this region and that campaign turned into a movement! We were blown away by how the community responded and what God did. We had thousands of people engage in this, with over 1,400 people donating over $500,000 to the young people of this area.
“We had everyone from teachers posting videos with the message of ‘We believe in you,’ to parents sitting down with their kids and telling them just why they believe in them, to churches and businesses putting up yard signs spreading this message — it was just incredible to witness. The week was capped off by video messages the youth sent back to us, thanking us for believing in them.”
Todia continued, “These young people give us hope for a brighter future, so our community is going all in showing them how far we will go to ensure they know they have our support. Through this movement, we have seen all of Northern Indiana quickly unifying around this identity. With the expansion to different chapters, we are excited to see this message go beyond just our region. Through this campaign, we have learned even more that our words matter, our encouragement matters, and we have a huge opportunity to positively impact the lives of young people by simply believing in them.”
The “We Believe in You(th)” campaign week will include a fundraising component which will reveal more than $250,000 dollars in matching funds from various businesses and donors, a social media push, a radio collaboration with local radio station Star 88.3, hand written cards and videos shown to young people, and a flood of positive messages directed toward the youth across an array of media channels.
For more information about the “We Believe in You(th)” campaign, click here.
YFC chapters impact thousands of communities across the nation, seeking out and serving youth from all walks of life. Young people are silently struggling through a wide variety of challenging issues—and through the YFC ministry God empowers them and they see the living power of a loving God. YFC trains its leaders in a proven, relational ministry model called 3Story®, which 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 to lead people to Christ.
YFC has been a pillar of missional ministry 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.