Youth for Christ – Transforming Lives
Grantee Spotlight: Youth for Christ – Transforming Lives
The mission of the St. Joe Foundation is to support Allen County programs that care for physical and spiritual needs, encouraging hope and purpose for the future. Grantee, Youth For Christ’s City Life Program recently shared the following story that demonstrates the transformative power of holistic care. (Names have been changed.)
Chantell was one of six seniors this year in City Life’s Indigenous Leadership program. This summer she was at IU-Bloomington, participating in small groups in preparation for her freshman year there. At IU, Chantell plans to study Business with a minor in Fashion Design. She then plans to return to her community to open a boutique, bringing employment to her neighborhood. Chantell embodies the spirit of Indigenous Leadership. But her journey to get to this point was not an easy one.
As a South Side freshman, Chantell attended City Life, bringing her characteristic energy and big personality. The following year she traveled with City Life to Florida for Spring Break. It was there, within the safe atmosphere created by City Life staﬀ, where Chantell learned she could be vulnerable and take oﬀ the mask she had worn to hide her pain. Behind Chantell’s mask was the pain of a daughter who felt rejected by her absent father, and who felt she had to be strong for her little sister and mom. Also, behind the mask was a young lady suﬀering from cyberbullying, targeted by a group of students threatening to spread rumors about her around school.
When Chantell revealed the pain that had caused so much shame, she also experienced an unexpected blessing, recognizing she had a City Life Family who would show up and support her. She realized she didn’t have to get through it alone. After Chantell’s trip to Florida, she engaged in City Life at a deeper level, joining various small groups including the student leadership program, Indigenous Leadership. Over time, Chantell learned to forgive her dad and how the inability to forgive him had impacted her physical, spiritual and mental wellbeing.
When Chantell was able to forgive and take oﬀ the mask to address the issues in her life, she stopped looking back at what happened to her and began to look ahead, dreaming of what her life can become. This past school year Chantell graduated from high school and had a job and a car (which is rare for a kid in urban Fort Wayne); she will start classes at IU next month. More importantly, however, she knows who she is. Thank you, St Joseph Community Health Foundation, for your support of City Life and of students like Chantell who are our best hope for transforming our urban community.