Look a young person in the eye. Really look. It’s important that you look. Do you see a leader thriving because of someone’s mentoring or a leader hungry for nurturing?
God may be calling you to invest in that young person. He may want you to be the person that young person calls – whether you’re their parent, friend or the manager at McDonald’s that teaches her how to fry French Fries.
God may want you to be the person who provides a desperately needed opportunity at a critical juncture in a young person’s life. God may need your financial resources to help a young person go to school or afford a place to stay. God also may require your seasoned business experience to help a young person become an entrepreneur.
Directing young people toward success doesn’t manifest in a vacuum, and it doesn’t happen overnight. God gives each young person gifts, but He places them in families, friendships, schools, churches and communities where those gifts can blossom in an atmosphere cultivated by His love.
The alternative to ignoring that young person can mean that God seeks someone else willing to pour into his or her life on the Lord’s behalf. More perilous options may also woo the young person from seeking a productive, satisfying life in Jesus Christ.
Some youth abandon their aspirations for college and a career. They settle for something less than the promise they showed in grade school and high school. Some pursue violence or struggle to cope with the violence surrounding them. Some eventually find themselves entangled within the justice system.
Tragically, some are taking their lives, a concern that has many criticizing the 13-episode drama on Netflix called “13 Reasons Why,” a depiction of a teen’s suicide and the 13 audiotapes she leaves about the multiple events that led her to death. And it’s not just teens. On Thursday, CBSNews.com reported that an 8-year-old died by suicide in January. Two days before, the boy had been bullied by fellow students.
Paying attention to the young people around you matters. Mentoring them matters. Loving them matters, and being there for them as God fashions them into the leaders He purposed them to be matters for eternity.
We've witnessed what happens when young people receive loving support. Through partnerships with schools, our Power Lunch program through Dallas Leadership Foundation's Youth inititiave provides weekly group, peer and individual mentoring to students. Through Power Lunch, DLF has seen a 97 percent graduation rate among participants compared to DISD's graduation rate of 50 percent. Every summer, we see young lives changed after being mentored for six weeks. Within the last three summers alone, our Power Camp has served nearly 400 at-risk youth with over 50 committing to Christ.
To learn more about our work with youth through our free summer program Power Camp, or to invest in the life of a young person, visit dlftx.org.
Published on May 11, 2017 @ 5:07 PM CDT