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VOL. 126 | NO. 45 | Monday, March 07, 2011

Jeremy Park

Young Life Supports Strong Community

JEREMY PARK

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Last week we discussed a formal leadership program, Hutchison Leads, which is empowering young women and serving as a holistic model. This week let us explore Young Life (www.younglife.org), an organization that is expanding into our inner city through Memphis Urban Young Life and literally stepping foot onto local high schools to win the trust and offer support to youth who need it most.

Young Life is truly about relationships and the power of presence in a kid’s life. It starts with adults who reach out to youth, on their turf and in their culture, to build bridges of authentic friendship. Young Life leaders spend countless hours with these kids – where they are, as they are – listening and learning what is important to them.

Over time, a friendship evolves and youth are strengthened with love and shown that their lives have great worth and purpose. Young Life is also tightening our community fabric by bringing together youth from various high schools, public and private, and fostering compassion and mutual understanding.

The work Memphis Urban Young Life is doing in our community is hard and necessary. Jonathan Torres, area director for Memphis Young Life, actually opened up his house to serve more youth at a nearby high school. His wife, likewise, befriended a group of females and has started teaching parenting and other classes the young women need.

The reality is that these kids, who may at first appear hard to love, actually need it most – and Young Life is making a dramatic difference in their lives.

So, here are some fun ways you can partner with Young Life:

Food – Every week they have a “party with a purpose.” They are always in need of food/snacks/drinks to provide kids. Anything from pizza to steak can be served. They just want to make sure kids never go home hungry.

Mock Job Interviews – They are looking for business professionals to help students through mock interviews and help with resumes.

Corporate Tours – They would love to provide students a chance to tour a business or facility and learn how it operates. By exposing students to various businesses and industries, they can see ahead of high school graduation.

Zion Cemetery Work Day – On March 26, Young Life kids from across the city will come together to rejuvenate Zion Cemetery. There is an opportunity to match dollars that students raise. Learn more at www.zioncemeteryproject.org

Carrying Kids to Camp – On April 16, Young Life will walk from one end of the city to the other to show the kids’ determination to get to summer camp. Support a kid walking their way to camp or join the effort.

I encourage you get involved or learn more by contacting Jonathan Torres at 726-0054 or torres.younglife@gmail.com.

Jeremy Park, director of communications at Lipscomb & Pitts Insurance and director of the Lipscomb & Pitts Breakfast Club, can be reached at jeremyp@lpinsurance.com.

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