Minneapolis: when a community needs help

Photos courtesy Cru Inner City

There was a need in Minneapolis's Phillips community: a need for a safe place that children could go after school.

Cru staff members Ryan and Ashley Sather and a group from Bethlehem Baptist Church recognized this need. In time, their concern led to the genesis of a S.A.Y. Yes!® program in one of Bethlehem's buildings...the 16/33 Center in Minneapolis.

16/33 is all about building healthy, lasting relationships. Toph Majors, the S.A.Y. Yes! Center's director for the past 6 years, says his vision for the city is unity between the church and the community. "We try to wed our ministry in the church with youth in the city," he says. "It's our conviction not to have division between the kids of the church and community. We want church families to 'adopt' kids from our neighborhoods, so it's not just S.A.Y. Yes! mentors building into them, but whole families rising up to embrace these inner-city kids."

But investing in relationships is sometimes hard to do. Toph recalls a particularly "tough case" in Isaiah. Isaiah had autistic tendencies and struggled to relate to his mentor, Dean. Dean couldn't get Isaiah to open up with him...that is, until he invested time outside of S.A.Y. Yes! to discover Isaiah's passion – comic books! When Dean showed interest in Isaiah's interest, Isaiah began to seem like a different kid. He connected more warmly with his mentors, and for the first time, interacted with the other students. All because his mentor had personally invested time in him!

For many kids, S.A.Y. Yes! is a stepping stone that connects them to other godly people and ministries. Another young student, Paul, was altogether transformed by S.A.Y. Yes! and the segue it provided into the church community ... his new home-away-from-home. "Just last week, he heard that a friend and I were having coffee in north Minneapolis," Toph recalls. "He found a ride all the way out to join us because he said he wanted time with godly men wherever he could find it."

Over 200 kids have been touched by the 16/33 Center since it opened...200 kids who have had an opportunity to see God's transforming love at work. Please join us in praying for the many S.A.Y. Yes! Centers here in the Twin Cities and the hundreds around the country, that God will continue using them to change lives.

Find out more about S.A.Y. Yes! centers.