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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

29 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

6

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 1

Was a volunteer and then moved on to staff. I served for many years. YoungLife is a great organization but with some extreme holes for leadership. Also, coming from a donor perspective , many questions about honesty and stewardship came into play. Unfortunately, the negatives out weighed the positives when it came to this ministry. There are many shady men with in the ministry and YL does nothing to protect your children. Example: posting pictures of minors on facebook and for younglives, posting pictures of minors and their babies. They do nothing to protect their identities .

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

God used several men & women in Young Life to transform my life. I am so thankful for their obedience to God's call on their lives.

12

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been with YL since 1975 and I am honored to be involved with this organization. I have seen how the Lord has worked in the lives of kids all over the world and also in my life as well.

11

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Young Life since 2000. Young Life truly changed my life when I was a sophomore in high school and heard for the first time about a personal relationship I could have with Jesus! From there My leader loved me well and lived life with me. I did Work Crew at Frontier Ranch in 2002 where I met my best friends! Two of those girls and I all decided to go to College together at The University of Tennessee, where we all were volunteer Young Life leaders through out college! No I work full time for Young Life and truly love telling kids about Jesus and how he has changed my life and how he can change theirs! Both my brothers and my parents also became Christians through Young Life....our family is forever changed because of the impact Young Life had on each of us!

11

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Young Life is a great organization to work for b/c they are committed to training, supporting, and encouraging their staff. You never feel like a lone wolf. There is an extensive support network for administration, teaching, mentoring, training, etc.

11

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been involved for 11 years now. Club kid to full time staff. It has taught me so much about life with Christ, community and my faith. I can never cheer enough for this organization!

7

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

My father passed away in 1983 when I was 26. At that time I was a very selfish, self centered person. The Lord brought Young Life to fill the void in my life. Little did I know that He would change the whole direction of my life. Though a Christian at the time, I had a lot to learn and Young Life was at the very core of what the Lord was doing in my life. Twenty six years later, I will say that I am amazed at how the Lord has changed my heart and attitude. I do care for others now and my life is all about serving others. Something I learned by rubbing shoulders with many amazing people involved in the ministry of Young Life. I have seen the ministry of Young Life make a difference in hundreds of thousands of kids lives the last 26 years, but I will never, ever forget how the Lord has blessed me through this amazing ministry.

5

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I was a church kid and didn't understand YL until I became a volunteer leader in college. Once I caught this mission's vision for reaching out to broken, hurting kids, I was hooked. YL models its ministry after the ministry of Jesus -- going into the world of kids, developing relationships with them, and sharing the love of Christ through sharing their lives. I'm on my fourth year on staff with YL now, and there is nothing in the world I'd rather be doing than loving junior high and high school kids and teaching our rockstar volunteers to do the same.

4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I met Christ as a sophomore in high school in 1975 . . . I've never been the same and volunteered or worked with Young Life ever since. I am grateful for those who have gone before and hopeful for those who will follow.

5

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Young Life is an incredible organization that gave me hope, and now as a leader, I get the opportunity to give other kids that same hope.

5

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Young Life has had a huge impact on my life. When I was in high school, my Young Life leaders had the greatest impact on my life outside of my parents. I volunteered with Young Life through college and it continued to impact me greatly.

4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Young Life is a great ministry that shares Christ with kids. I have had many great experiences with Young Life as a student a volunteer and now a staff person.

4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Not only did Young Life change my life in High School, it has provided a foundation for a growing relationship with Christ for me as an adult. YL offers many ways for adults to become directly involved. It gets people out of the pews and into the world of actively serving Christ and others.

4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

At age 14 I was invited to a Young Life camp by my cousins who were both doing ministry at the time. It truly changed my life. I couldn't think of a better Christian organization if I tried. Young Life does for kids what the local YMCA can never do, it shows kids the light!

4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

In the town where I live Young Life started 5 years ago. I have seen both macro and micro transformation. Camdenton is a small town and needed a strong out reach program because most youth groups were small in the area when I moved here. One of the most encouraging things has been to see some kids go to college and become leaders. One of the transformations I have seen was the community between alternative kids and mainstream kids. The skater/hardcore music group, alternative kids, have always thought the mainstream kids hated them. There were definite stereotypes mainstream kids hold against alternative kids. Now the kids say Young Life feels like a community. They greet each other in the hallways right now and feel morelike a family. Finally, I have seen individual transformation as kids learn what it means to follow Christ. A lot of our leading is by example and discussion not just teaching. Therefore, we do Bible readings with kids and help give them the tools to become practical theologians not just tell them what the Bible says. It has changed the way I follow Christ and my views of people. I have seen the same in many people I am around as well.

6

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

If it weren't for this organization my life would be tremendously different and I thank God for the radical change that's happened in my life because of Young Life. I was a High School kid who seemed to have it all together on the outside but I was broken and desperate on the inside. My leader, who was committed to the mission of Young Life, stepped in and loved me when my own family was falling apart and failing to do so. I assuredly would have went all the wrong directions had I not found Christ through Young life. My leader was not only committed to introducing me to the love of God, but also spending years walking me through the experience. As I've turned around and decided to work with Young Life I've been used by God to change the world, at least for a handful of kids. I believe that God has used this ministry to change lives for decades now

7

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Young Life has changed my life not only with my walk with Christ but with my career path and now get to experience teenagers in Bozeman realize what a huge impact Young Life has on them.

7

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a high schooler in N.C. my view of God and of myself was forever changed by a Young Life leader coming to my school everyday. He pursued a relationship with me for the pure sake of pursuing a relationship with me. Not to get me to come to a meeting. Not to get me to give money or time. Just because He loved me. Naturally I wanted to be cared for like that and it wasn't long before I wanted to know everything that he knew and wanted to be like him. I have been involved with Young Life since then as a leader. It has been 9 years since I met him and my life changed. The work of Young Life has had an unbelievably long lasting effect on me.

12

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I could not dream up a better organization to be a part of. The leadership of the staff and the hearts of the leaders are beyond superb. It is amazing to see how much this organization is able to do.

11

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I wouldn't be who I am today without Young Life! It has rocked my socks off. I know God better and can love others better because of it. I was entrenched in alcohol and drugs and living only for myself until Young Life shared the Truth of who God is! They are very effective and loving and caring.