EATON — Youth for Christ of the Miami Valley held a luncheon at Eaton High School for several community leaders in Preble County on Wednesday, Aug. 5.
“The goal of the luncheon was to inform the community and partner with people through prayer, volunteering, resources and financial support,” said Maria Brubaker, the Youth for Christ director for Preble County.
The overall vision for YFC in the area is to engage more students in the community by continuing to expand clubs into each school district, said Brubaker. She added that this can be done by gaining more adult volunteer teams and collaboratively working together with the community.
The ministry has been in Preble County for six years and has Campus Life clubs in West Alexandria, Eaton and Lewisburg.
The event kicked off with a testimony from Levi Witt, a 2013 Eaton graduate who was heavily influenced by YFC.
Witt began by telling the audience about his struggles with depression and addiction from an early age. As he struggled with these issues, a YFC volunteer sat down at his lunch table and invited him to Campus Life, a youth group event thrown by them. That small interaction led to a major influence for Witt.
“There were adults there who actually cared about me and wanted to get to know me,” he said. “Through Campus Life and YFC, I have come to know God in a way that I never did. I’m now happier than I’ve ever been.”
Witt is now a volunteer with YFC.
County Commissioner Denise Robertson and Eaton First Church of God youth pastor Jeremy Halstead, both volunteers with Campus Life, also spoke at the luncheon.
“Campus Life is important because (students) feel welcomed, and they feel like they fit in,” said Robertson. “Campus life volunteers are to care about them and listen to them and help them fill that void (in their life) with the right thing.”
Robertson said the group draws in students from all walks of life – from lifelong churchgoers to those who have never stepped foot inside one.
“Campus Life may be the only place some students find a caring adult,” she added.
Halstead said that YFC helps span the outreach that area churches just aren’t able to get to as well.
“My church and my youth ministry aren’t reaching everybody. But neither is your church,” he said. “There are roughly 50 churches in Preble County and even with a combined effort, we still aren’t reaching out to all of our students. But Youth For Christ is. They are getting to kids that I can’t. They are reaching kids that we’re not reaching. They are taking the gospel of Jesus Christ into the school systems.”
Jeff Travis, the pastor of Word of Faith’s Eaton branch, also invited a student testimony from soon-to-be eighth grader Alex Maynard. Travis spoke with Maynard on stage about the positive impact YFC has had on Eaton Middle School.
“I’ve seen a lot more positive attitudes. People in the hallways are being nicer. The golden rule has really come in. It’s positively affected our school a lot,” said Maynard. “I think (YFC) needs to keep expanding to other schools, I think more adults should come and hang with us. I think if we had more adults and more kids coming, it would positively affect our school even more. If a lot more people came, I think that would look pretty cool.”
Brubaker said the community response after the luncheon was very positive and they are hoping to expand and add two new clubs this school year.
Readers who are interested in supporting YFC in any way can contact Brubaker by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information can be found by visiting the website at yfcmiamivalley.org.
Jeremy Erskine may be reached at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @jerskine_RH.