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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

11

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Young Life has impacted our whole family. I became involved in high school, grew in my relationship w/Jesus b/c of the adults who reached out to me. Went on work crew, summer staff, volunteer leader and now committee. All of our 6 kids were involved w/WL and YL. They all did work crew and 2 worked on summer staff. My husband came to know that Lord when his leader invited him to club and then to summer camp.

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a Christian and a PK my whole life. Yet I have never seen a "non-church"organization bring so many kids to Christ, and have them stay there! YL teaches kids who Jesus is without being contrived. It leads kids to Jesus and then into deeper relationship with Him without a specific denomination's agenda. My adopted teen daughter got saved at WL camp, and all my kids are heavily involved in YL/WL!

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Young Life is the greatest youth program with which I have ever been involved. By sharing in the lives of kids (contact work specifically), young life very successfully demonstrates to kids that they are loved just as they are. Regardless of whether they choose to accept Jesus as their savior, kids know that they have a safe place to go have fun with friends and have mentors in there life that will be there regardless of how they act or who they are. This is incredibly important at a young age. What a difference it makes in the lives of the kids and adults that young life has been involved with. They growth in maturity, the relationships and fellowship, and most importantly the news of Jesus Christ shared IN LOVE through RELATIONSHIPS is remarkable and carried out in a manner unlike any other organization I have ever been witness to.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My entire family has been involved with YoungLife for the past 12 years as either a student, volunteer or on staff. It has made a huge difference in each of our lives individually and as a family. YoungLife presents the Gospel in a loving non-judgmental way and builds genuine relationships that are often lifelong.

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As our family pulled into Trail West, Young Life family camp, the anticipation was great. The anticipation was exceeded by the caring staff, facilities and activities we experienced that week. It was a true vacation for Mom and the kids ask to go back yearly. Not only did we have fun as a family, but our family came closer in our faith as we enjoyed club nightly. Locally we watch as caring leaders reach out to kids and change our community one life at a time. It gives new meaning to "Go and make disciples of all men." Young Life changes lives. Thanks.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love everything about Young Life. It is a life-giving ministry. Not just to kids, but also to those who are involved like myself. I have been involved in starting a Young Life and Young Lives area. It has taught me to be more like Jesus and what it means to love without a limit and extend and receive grace. I have found that all people truly want out of life is to be known and loved, and thats what YL leaders do- know and love kids.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered for Young Life in college at Texas A&M for 3 years and it truly gave me an experience I could of never dreamed of. The community, accountability, and love that was found amongst my team and the staff their is unmatched. While reaching kids in the Brazos Valley was our top focus their was so much more going on. This organization gave my wife and I a excellent place to grow in our walks, relationships with people, and leadership while at A&M. They really know how to take care of their volunteer leaders and give them a superior environment to grow in. I'm now on staff for Young Life in Oklahoma and the leadership of this organization continues to care for my family and I with great regard. This is a exceptional organization to be a part of and to continue to grow in.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been on Young Life Committee for 15 years and have seen our area clubs growing and reaching kids for Christ. The personal relationships that our leaders cultivate with kids really speak a true interest in their lives. Something that is so lacking in our fast paced, busy society. Getting down to the basics of true relationships mirror what Christ wants to have with us. Young Life is making a difference in kids lives today because they introduce a hurting world of kids to a loving caring saving Christ.

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Young Life is the reason I am where I am today. I was a teenager who was heading on a downward spiral with no hope and they did not see me as a failure, a waste of time or judge me at all. My Young Life leader just took me as I was and walked along side me through the tough things going on in my life. I began to follow Christ and the way I lived my life drastically changed and I had hope! But that is not the end of the story, my Young Life leader still cares for me and still is there for me, it is a lifelong organization. I can still call her for anything. I am now a volunteer leader and have seen so many lives changed by Christ through this organization.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I got involved with Young Life fourteen years ago. I was a teen parent and had no where to turn. Young Life came to my high school and I went to a Young Life camp and it changed my life. I accepted Christ and began to live a better life for myself and my daughter. God healed my wounds so that I could forgive those who had hurt or abused me and move forward. I've recently become a Young Lives Leader and I really enjoy working with the teen parents. It's so important to give back and to volunteer in your community. By the grace of God I was able to take five teen parents to came and four of them accepted Christ. It's like a huge burden has been lifted from their shoulders and I am beginning to see them develop into wonderful young women and mothers.

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved in YL since 1987 as a HS kid and it has changed my life. I have served in many capacities and have seen God to great work in the lives of kids every year. Great ministry in reaching the lost

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a parent with 3 children who have been positively impacted through Young Life. On the most basic level, they've made great, lifelong friendships. On a deeper level, they've become people who want to serve others. On the best level, they have strengthened their faith, and live with a hopeful, positive outlook on life. Young Life has provided service opportunities involving travel to developing countries, where teens can serve other communities in dire need of uplifting encouragement. It changes their perspective and changes their lives!

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a leader now with Young Lives(the Teen Mom part of Young Life) for two years. It is a great 'fit' for me. My children are grown and gone so I have enjoyed going to Club with my new 'kids' and going to Camp with them too! They are finding friends in the same situation. They are getting 'loved on' by leaders(as best as we can). And the best thing of all, they are finding out about Jesus. They are responding to His love for them. Lives are being changed which will change then next generation also-their little children. I thank God for Young Life and it dedication to reaching kids for Christ. Gretchen Sanger Vancouver, Wa

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Young Life simply loves teenagers with no strings attached. I've seen a lot of organizations around the world and Young LIfe is truly the only one I've ever experienced who really just love kids for who they are all while sharing some of the most challenging years of their lives together.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Came to know Younglife because some volunteer leaders spent time with me when I was in high school. I was immediately drawn to their love for life, for me, and for God. I became a volunteer leader in college and then joined staff 6 years later. The organization demonstrates a consistency in it the way it pursues kids, seeking to help them discover the fullest life possible.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer with Clark County YoungLives (teen Mom YoungLife Program) for 5 years and I look forwarded to the next 25 years! I am a wife, mother of three small children & I work part time for the Gov. and I still find time for this ministry, I'm actually Team Leading this year. My life can be a whirl wind at moments but the love of Jesus and the excellence that pours out of this wonderful ministry is something I can't imagine NOT being a part of. We took 27 teen moms and their babies on an AIR PLANE to camp last year at Wood leaf in CA and EVERYONE of the girls stated it was the best week of their LIFE! WITH YOUNGLIFE ITS ALWAYS ABOUT LOVE AND EXCELLENCE!

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved as a leader for YoungLife for the last 5 and I am currently serving as a leader. YoungLife has such a huge impact on high school kids, but also on those involved such as leaders, donors, committee, and Staff. I've grown more as a YoungLife leader than I have in my whole life. It has helped shaped my views as a Christian and continues to do so everyday. One specific instance was last year when one of my YoungLife girls passed away suddenly. It was so hard on all of us... kids and leaders. As a leader, I was called to be a listner. The kids dealing with death just needed an ear to listen. Needed someone to lean on. Not only were we there for the kids, but their parents expressed so much gratitude toward us. YoungLife is my calling and it will ALWAYS have a special place in my heart!

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I met Christ through Young Life as a Sophomore in HS. I led Young Life for 4 years in college. It has been a crucial part of understanding a relationship with Jesus and growing in my faith.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first went to Young Life when I was a sophomore in high school. I went because I heard some stories from my older brother about who went there and what they did... since it involved some of the cool kids in school, I thought it was something I should be a part of. That, and my girlfriend went... Win-Win, I thought. I never could have guessed that 19 years later I would be leading the same club in the same town, trying to reach kids just like me. I can directly attribute my personal growth to my involvement with Young Life - the more involved I got, the more I grew. Now, as a volunteer, I am able to pass on what I have received. Young Life deserves whatever award that is out there for excellence in service and impact. Thank you, Young Life, for continuing to pursue kids, for keeping your standards high and for standing in the gap for those on the outskirts of society.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This marks my sixth year as a Young Life volunteer in Galena, Alaska. I'm impressed with YL's passion for youth, professionalism and organization. The first time I went with our teens to a YL camp, I was floored! I'd NEVER seen a camp so pristine, comfortable, and organized. Our teens couldn't believe a camp so beautiful and fun was made just for them - they are used to run down campuses. YL camp's programming is the best camp programming I've witnessed, and everything done at camp shows campers they are loved - everything is top notch! Our kids report camp as being the best week of their lives. In addition, YL club is a great way for teens to get together in our Alaska native village. We had our first YL club of the year last week and every teen of the 36 in attendence was laughing and smiling, feeling free. It was a joy to see! Our teens come with lots of hard times in their pasts (abuse, addictions, suicides in family)- YL gives us a way to build relationships with teens so they feel loved, can open up about their pasts, heal, and hear about the greatest Love of all.