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Nine-year-old Akima sat in the car with her two little sisters, her mind filled with all the things she had learned that day at the S.A.Y. Yes! Center for Youth Development® after-school program. They were being driven home by Bethany Sullivan, who works in Chicago with Here’s Life Inner City, Cru’s outreach partnership with the inner-city church.
Akima turned to Bethany – who volunteered to drive the kids home – and asked where God lived. Before Bethany could answer, Akima’s 6-year-old sister shouted that He lived in the sky and repeatedly yelled out the window for Him to come down. Then her other sister quietly told Bethany that she wanted God to come into her heart and prayed right there in the car.
For many of Akima’s inner-city classmates, the hours at home while parents work are dangerously long during the school year. Akima, on the other hand, had found fun and educational activities at a safe place after school, and made new friends like Bethany.
The summer might have been a different story, except that a local church ran a day camp right out of the same building. Church members there taught Akima the difference between religious knowledge and a real relationship with Christ.
One day, Akima told another friend at the camp, "I believe in Jesus, but I don't know how to begin a relationship with Him." Akima’s friend encouraged her to talk about it with a camp counselor and Akima made the decision to follow Jesus that day. She and her sister are now trusting God to work in the hearts of their mother and their five younger siblings.
Akima’s is one of so many stories of God reaching people through a friend with a willing ear. Every day, Here’s Life Inner City is serving and mobilizing people in the church to live out God’s heart for the poor through programs like the S.A.Y. Yes! Center.
God can use you – from preparing a snack to playing a game or helping with homework – to keep at-risk children off the streets and also to welcome them into the Kingdom of God’s beloved Son. Learn ways you can be involved in S.A.Y. Yes! Centers.
College students learn firsthand about poverty during a simulated experience in New York City.
There was a need in Minneapolis's Phillips community: a need for a safe place that children could go after school.
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