The following paragraphs feature a parent’s perspective on Juvenile Justice Ministry. The work to serve youth in such a capacity is a collective effort. We at YFC are thankful for collaborative efforts with Rockford Reachout and ultimately praise God for transformation such as this.
“I would like to express a few things as to how JJM has been beneficial for my family. I will only be able to use one person as our experience has been mainly with him. Jake came into my sons life due to poor decisions my son was making in his life at the time. He was running wild, acting defiant, being destructive towards others including minors and adults, breaking the law, trying his hand in drug use, missing school, as well as many things I could list.
Just under a year ago my son was sentenced to time at the local Juvenile Detention Center. He was scared, out of his element, away from the influential people he was hanging out with. But I’m not convinced he was ready to make a change in life yet. He was anxious to get home but I believe based on certain things that he was more anxious to get back to this inappropriate lifestyle.
He was fortunate to be able to meet Jake (our JJM director) during his stay in the detention center. He would attend meetings on a weekly basis. It began as a group and eventually was able to get to a point where he had time with less people in the group. He took an interest and really began to learn about what Jake had to talk about. It seems to me (since I wasn’t there) that Jake would talk about things in the Bible and bring information for my son (as well as others) to read and learn from. But it didn’t stop with that. My son was able to relate to him so well, since Jake would read things or talk about things and then ask something to the effect of “what does that mean to you”, or “how can you relate to this”? Without my son even recognizing what was happening, I believe in my heart that he was understanding the way of being a Christian without even stating it specifically.
My son was eager to have these visits with Jake and to learn more. I know this because when his Dad and I were allowed to visit, he would spend much of that visit telling us what he has learned without us even asking, and having a smile on his face while doing so.
Fast forwarding to him being released. Since my son was released to come home, we still are in touch with Jake and have had him over for visits, meals, attended church together, spent time learning and talking and so much more. My son is currently living life much differently. He is going to church regularly, working full time, working on his high school diploma, drug free, law abiding, and has a strong interest in joining the military once he is through with high school.
In the past my son would not have had anything to do with religion without being rebellious. It became embarrassing to try to make him attend, so as you can imagine, the effort stopped. Since he has become more tuned in to the reward that goes with being a Christian I believe he has fully accepted him into his heart and we have JJM to thank for this.
The Youth For Christ Camp that is coming in August is something we are all looking very forward to. I would have always dreamed for my son to take part in something like this, without looking at it as a chore. He is eager to go and teach and learn and be a part of the excitement.
I know my son is only one person, but if this program can reach these kids in one way or another, God Bless It. These kids that need guiding can relate to the leaders and quickly develop respect for them. This is a program that will hopefully always be available. I’ve seen first hand the success it has to offer.
Thank you for helping saving my son.”