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2009 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Young Life

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Philanthropy, Voluntarism Promotion, Youth Development - Religious Leadership

Mission: The vision was born in 1938 when Jim Rayburn, a young youth leader in Texas, was challenged by his senior minister to focus on the local high school and pioneer a path to connect with non-churched kids. After exploring several possibilities, Rayburn decided that the best setting for the proclamation of the Gospel was at a Young Life club, held in the home of one of the kids. Club involved lively singing, a skit and a short talk about Jesus Christ. He believed every kid had a right to hear the message of Jesus Christ and decide how to respond to the Gospel. Young Life leaders provide kids with factual information for making good decisions. Leaders work hard to provide teenagers with the basic facts concerning Jesus Christ. The information is presented in a non-threatening manner in terms that kids can understand.Young Life leaders have the highest regards and respect for a young person's right to choose where matters of faith are concerned.

Target demographics: middle school and high school kids and college students.

Geographic areas served: all 50 states of the U.S. and in over 100 countries internationally.

Programs: Young Life's efforts to reach out to every kid, everywhere have resulted in a number of specific ministries. Each of these apply the basics of Young Life to meet kids just as they are through friendship and faith. In alphabetical order our specific ministries are: Capernaum: Young Life's ministry to kids with disabilities, named after the town where Jesus performed many miracles. College: Young Life's outreach to college students both in the U.S. and internationally. International: Young Life's outreach to high school and middle school kids in more than 100 countries around the world. Small Town/Rural: Young Life's ministry to kids in one-high-school towns of fewer than 25,000 people. Urban: Young Life's minsistry to racial and ethnic minorities, focused on kids who live in high-density communities and who are historically, socially and/or economically disadvantaged. WyldLife: Young Life's ministry to middle school kids. YoungLives: Young Life's ministry to teenage moms. Young Life provides healthy, creative fun. From weekly clubs to seasonal camping experiences to daily outings with leaders, Young Life is known around the world as an organization that knows how to have fun. Club meets once a week and has been described as "controlled chaos." Leaders combine songs, humor, and group interaction to create an hour of energetic fun where kids can express that teenage tendency to push the limits-but within the controlled context of a safe environment. Campaigners is the name for Young Life's Bible study program. Kids often meet in small groups with a Young Life leader during the week to discuss their ideas and question about faith and begin exploring the Bible. These groups were named from a term we've kept around since Young Life was called "The Young Life Campaign" in the early '40s. Camping is one of Young Life's specialties. Kids can discover adventure and prove their prowess by climbing through a ropes course in the tops of trees, barreling down a water slide from hundreds of feet up the side of a mountain, riding horseback along scenic trails, water skiing, parasailing, racing go-carts around muddy tracks and enjoying what Young Life leaders promise to be one of the best weeks of their lives.

Community Stories

160 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In high school Young Life provided me with a community of trust and non judgement which was so hard to find other places. I learned about Christ and started a relationship with him in a setting that was not comprised of pressure or fear. I now am a leader myself, and it is the best thing that has happened to me. I would not be the happy, christ filled person I am today without Young Life, the support it has given me, and the rekindled trust in others.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

New to young life, I am loving the experience of being a leader. I have been blessed to get to know the high schoolers at club. It is truly an amazing ministry that reaches a lot of kids every year by their outreach.

12

Volunteer

Rating: 5

younglife isn't a nonprofit targeted toward one group of people. This ministry is one that gives to anyone in every stage of life. It doesn't help people find a better earthly life but helps them find an eternal life in Christ Jesus. A gift that can never be matched.

12

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Young Life since my freshman year of high school. I had older girls come alongside me and take me under their wing, making me their little sister and mentoring me even after they had graduated. They showed me Christ's love in a very real way, and continue to be a big part of my life. I am now graduating from college and have spent the past two years volunteering as a leader at a high school. I now have my own "little sister" and have been so blessed by the relationships Young Life has helped foster and the spiritual growth and development it encourages. I have grown in my faith both by the opportunity to be mentored and by being stretched in mentoring to others. Young Life is an incredible organization carrying out Biblical truths and commands to love Christ and love others.

10

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Young Life is a world class organization that makes a difference in the lives of adolescents. I was a high school kid weary of anything religious, and I found a personal love for God through Young Life.

12

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I went to a YL camp in 2004 there I met Christ. To this day I am a volunteer leader. This summer (2009) I worked as an intern at the same YL camp I met Christ at. I got to see first hand that Young Life is doing everything it can to reach kids. YL spends every penny and even second doing the work required to change the world through kids.

13

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Where else could you possibly experience the love of Christ, wearing a pink mullet wig, an overly flowered neon mumu, huge clown sunglasses, while flaeling old gramma scarves around in the air, and dancing out of control to some old retro music with a beat that know one knows, but everyone loves??? HAS TO BE YOUNG LIFE! And all this wrapped up perfectly in friendships that walk hand in hand with The One who loves us most...Jesus! There is no greater joy! I've been blessed in my life to experience the love of Young Life first hand as a highschool kid who went to club/Malibu(1992) where my heart was forever changed, healed, and called to more than I could ever imagine. And it has been an awesome privelege to earn the right to build new, eternal friendships with many kids, who just like me learn the greatest love story ever told, Young Life style! YUP...THAT'S YOUNG LIFE!

9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Young Life has inspired my children, has spent precious time and energy loving on the youth in our town, and made a positive impact on those who watch the volunteers serve. My husband and I have served on our local YL committee for the past 5 years and have loved every minute of helping the leaders. They are amazing!

10

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Young life has changed my life from the first contact. Since 7 years ago being a student to now a leader. Without it i do not know where i would be.

13 jroberes

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Being apart of YoungLife is the MOST positive and fulfilling opprtunity that I've ever been given. It's ALL about serving others and being apart of something that is much bigger than yourself! YoungLife has evolved me!!

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Young Life has forever impacted my faith. When I enter a middle school cafeteria and watch kids faces light up when you take the time to listen to their story my heart truly comes alive. I have grown immensely watching God transform the hardest of hearts. Young Life encourages me to believe God's love has NO bounds. I have grown in my relationship with God, I have grown as a person. The quality of excellence that is lived out by leaders, presented in club and displayed at YL camps shows the face of Jesus. I am daily reminded I am worth dying for because of the way Young Life incarnationally shows Jesus.

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Young Life is the best christian outreach ever. We are able to go into the schools and befriend children that need an ear to listen or a little love. I'm speaking from a leaders prospective. I was also in Young Life when I was in high school and so was my mother. So Young Life has been a part of our family for a long time.

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first learned about YoungLife around 3 years ago. My wife on the other hand, has a long history with YoungLife. Up until about 1 year ago, I considered YoungLife as the enemy (I was kidding...mostly). YoungLife embodied all the crazy people who went to ridiculously awesome camps and were always out of control. YoungLife was the unknown, unstructured, and chaotic ministry that I had no room for in my life. Today, much has changed. I have been leading YoungLife for just over a year now in Prescott, and it has been one of the best parts of my life. My wife, Jessica,and the rest of my family convinced me to join the "dark side" and begin leading at Prescott High School in Arizona. I have spent the last year getting to know what a YoungLife leader is. In short, a YoungLife leader is a volunteer who is intentional about reaching into the lives of students in local schools. Our intentions include discipleship, friendship, fun, camp, and mostly just meeting students where they are in life. At first, the newness and unconventional elements of YoungLife were hard to get used to. Unfortunately I live inside of a box, from which God is constantly pulling me out from. YoungLife is full of loud "unchurchy" music, dancing, ridiculous games, food, football games, crazy camps, and late nights. These things always have seemed fun, but not what I used to put in the category of ministry. But YoungLife does not stop with the craziness. YoungLife is full of passionate Christ followers, deeper bible studies, genuine prayer, loving community, and focused discipleship. What I am finding through being in YoungLife, are lots of students who are crying on the inside for someone to relate with. Someone to care. Someone to understand. Someone to teach them about who Jesus really is without all the religious garbage. What I have found is a life that I think Jesus has asked us all to live. Now, it has been challenging to put aside my past views of ministry and teaching. Many people in my life would tell me that it would be unwise to surround yourself in worldly situations. What I am learning now is that worldly situations is exactly what Jesus put himself in the middle of. He came because the love of our father couldn't simply be written in law, but had to be shown through life. He lived among us. In the middle of our failures. In the midst of our mistakes. And he has shown us a better way to live. This to me is YoungLife. To reflect the life of the man who put himself in our shoes. Thanks to everyone who has helped bring YoungLife to thousands of young people throughout the world!

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have seen kids find tremendous hope through Young Life. Kids who found no meaning to life became kids full of joy and purpose.

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Younglife for just over 2 years and it has been incredible. It's amazing to see the effects these leaders have on these students lives.

11

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Best wholistic youth group! Helps kids from all backgrounds and develops a depth of character that other groups can't match.

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been with this organization a few years now, and the Lord never ceases to amaze me with how he uses this ministry. I have seen lives literally turned around and also those who already knew Christ, but was able to be sharpened through Young Life. Glory to God in the highest!

11

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Young Life has changed by life. I started when I was very young (my family was involved so when even when I was too young to go to Wyld Life I was involved) and I have continued to this day and hopefully will keep doing Young Life for the rest of my life in some capacity. I Love the way they reach kids; "earning the right to be heard."

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Young Life is light in dark places. It is the excitement in a middle school kids voice who has no hope in anything else. It is Jesus' love lived out every day for kids all over the world. I have seen the impact of Young Life from all sides. I was a middle school student needing Jesus love in the midst of trying times, a high school student learning to share her faith, a leader of middle school students learning to disciple girls, an administrative assistant in our area, and now the wife of a person on staff. We believe in the work of Jesus through Young Life in all that we are. My husband and I spend our weeks building relationships with kids and leaders to better share Christ with our community.

11

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first became familiar with Young Life when, as a business owner, I was asked to sponsor a table at their upcoming fundraising banquet. I was curious about the organization so declined to sponsor, but accepted an invitation to attend the banquet. I was very moved by the testimonies of the kids that spoke about their experiences at camp, having the time of their lives, feeling loved and accepted, but mostly how they discovered that there was a God who created them, loved them and desired a personal relationship with them. After attending the banquet, I did some research on the organization and volunteered to help in the local ministry. A short time later I was asked to volunteer in the regional Young Life office with administrative tasks and I loved it. After selling my business I took on a part time position as the regional administrator and have served in that role as a volunteer and staff person for almost 10 years. I never cease to be humbled at the countless hours that staff and volunteers pour into the lives of kids, loving them, mentoring them, teaching them, and giving them the opportunity to learn about Jesus Christ and His plan for their lives.