Developing Youth That Make a Difference

Valerie’s example of mentoring shows how you too can be involved.

By Rich Atkinson   |  12 November 2012
Developing Youth That Make a Difference photo
photo courtesy Valerie Greenwood

Valerie Greenwood [left] with Cwjntaws (CW) Thao on her first day of college.

Here’s Life Inner City [HLIC], the compassionate urban ministry of Cru offers church-based after school programs called HLIC YouthDev, formerly known only as S.A.Y. (Save America’s Youth) Yes! Centers for Youth Development®.

The program has grown the past few years to include far more than just S.A.Y. Yes!™ In most cases, it cares for the holistic needs of the youth such as physical, emotional, social and intellectual needs by providing a meal, games, a time for helping with homework and Bible study. They also invest in mentoring youth and helping them have a personal relationship with Jesus and grow in Him.

Valerie Greenwood is an example of one of those volunteers. Valerie mentored Cwjntaws (CW) Thao at the 16/33 center in Minneapolis for 3 years. She also has mentored CW’s sisters.

CW describes her experience with the Christ-centered after-school discipleship-based program, “Before S.A.Y. Yes, trusting people was always hard, but through God’s goodness by using S.A.Y. YES, I was able to develop relationships through trust," she says.

She has also grown in being more forgiving, and was baptized in March.

HLIC has 138 active S.A.Y. Yes! Centers and Mentoring Ministry Partners, and Donna Perkins Whitman, HLIC’s National Director of Youth Development, estimates that more than 4,800 children are involved at all of the centers with around 70% of the children being in elementary school.

CW, who now is a freshman at Bethany College of Missions in Bloomington, Minn. says, “I feel a calling to be a missionary, to spread the good news to those who have and have not heard of him.”