Youth For Christ Mentorship Program: Small Group Events Aid with Depression and Anxiety

The Gift of Hope: Creative Activities Connect Teens During COVID-19

December 7, 2020

CARO, Mich.—Youth For Christ (YFC, www.yfc.net) is not only impacting an entire generation—from juvenile offenders to teens living in under-resourced families—it’s doing so in local areas all across our country. And it is continuing its work during the challenging times of COVID-19, using novel methods such as outdoor gatherings, virtual meetups, and much more.

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Jennifer Tebedo, campus life director for YFC Bluewater Thumb, works with middle school and high school aged teens in her area. In 2020, Tebedo has faced many obstacles in her YFC ministry, due to COVID-19 restrictions. “Visiting the kids at their schools, hosting youth group or special events, or even attending school sporting events are activities that have come to a complete stop,” said Tebedo. “COVID-19 has definitely changed the way we connect with the teens.”

With the guidance of Jesus Christ, Tebedo’s dedication to her YFC ministry wouldn’t be halted. “The YFC team brainstorms on a daily basis to discover new ways to creatively connect with the teens in our ministry.”

Tebedo has found a way to safely gather the teens in her ministry by hosting small group events, preferably outdoors. This fall she hosted a pumpkin carving event that included 12 in-person teen attendees, and one who participated via FaceTime.

“I spent a lot of time observing the kids while they carved their pumpkins,” said Tebedo. “They created many diverse designs: flowers, scary scenes and funny faces. I used those diverse themes as a way to engage the teens in conversation about their feelings during this unprecedented time.

“Every hand shot up in the air, to respond to my question. They all wanted to talk about their feelings of depression and anxiety as they prepared for the many transitions they’d be experiencing in the coming weeks at school. They wanted to share their struggles. Being able to participate in a small group event after weeks of isolation gave them all hope.”

Over 160 YFC chapters across the nation 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’s 3Story 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 3Story.org.

Nationally, Youth For Christ is telling inspiring stories through#YFCBeTheStory, an initiative to help spread the word across the nation about how YFC chapters are making a difference in their communities.

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.

Visit the Youth For Christ media page here. Learn more about Youth For Christ at its website, www.yfc.netFacebook and Instagram pages, Twitter feed @yfcusa or on Vimeo.

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To interview a Youth For Christ representative, contact Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, Jeff Tolson, 610.584.1096, ext. 108, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.