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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

7

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Young Life for 11 years in various roles. As a teenager I was impacted through Young Life and have had the privilege of watching it impact many adolescents. It tends to have a 'ripple effect' not only teenagers but families as well.

7

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Young Life leaders built a relationship with me while I was in high school, loving me in a Christlike way and encouraging me to pursue my dreams and reach my goals as a Christian and as a citizen. I became a volunteer leader, and am now on staff.

7

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I became a Christian through Young Life in 1994. I have been closely walking with Christ since. I spent 6 summers volunteering at a camp and have been on staff for the last 8 years. Young Life has become a part of my life and I am very proud to be apart of reaching kids for eternity.

7

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I met Jesus through the care of a young life volunteer, as a high school student in Greenbelt, MD in 1978. I have been walking with Christ ever since and have continued to be a part of this simple but effective vehicle for bringing Christ to kids!

7

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Young Life was what kept me on the right track in high school! I was surrounded by wealth, alcohol, sex, etc with a constant temptation to walk in that direction but Young Life was a constant positive influence that showed me the positive way of life. My leaders spent time with me and got to know my family and me. They showed me how to walk with Christ daily. Since, high school, I have been a Young Life leader myself and love sharing this passion for Christ with other teens and college students as well. YL also changed my families life .. through me. Thanks Young Life!

11

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Young Life has an incredible way of making BIG and lasting impact, but doing it through long term relationships and a personal nature that lasts! Kids lives are changed forever! In addition to this, I am impressed by Young Life's global perspective. The reality of our world today is globalization on every level... and as God moves in the lives of teenagers all over the world, Young Life is there! I have seen it with my own eyes and was with Young Life volunteers and staff from 15 countries in Latin America last week! WOW! The impact, the excellence, the vision, the mission are incredible. They are reaching every kind of kid... popular, nerd, able bodied, disabled, pregnant, orphaned... every color, every language! As a donor, I am always impressed with the professionalism, integrity, and timeliness of their fiscal and minsitry reports. Young Life.... we were made for this!!

4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

From spending time with kids at ballgames and in the lunchroom, to offering a weekly Club that makes them laugh and challenges them to get real about themselves and about Jesus, to offering them top quality camps for the "best week of their lives", Young Life impacts kids unlike any organization I know! I've seen the most skeptical kid begin a relationship with Jesus, and I've been able to walk with families through hard and devastating times. My experience with Young Life allows me to love kids and their families like Jesus loves them-regardless of their response- and almost always see them respond to Him positively!

4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Young Life has drastically changed my life, and the life of my family. It has also changed the lives of so many kids in North Dallas, where I live. Not only has it effected individual lives but the entire community as well.

6

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a Young Life Staff person that didn't have the chance as a teenager to be a Young Life kid, and in fact did not even get involved until I was in my 40's, I have just got to say that I LOVE what Young Life can offer to teenagers - as it shows them that Christ is Life - the REAL kind of life that He intended for all of us! As we on staff raise the money we need to advance this ministry into the lives of more teenagers, it would be great for Young Life to have a more significant awareness amongst those in a position to offer help!